The iPad is forcing the industry to regroup

balmer hp slate by nDevilTV

Looking Silly, Indeed
[Via Daring Fireball]

Paul Thurrott, back on January 6, reporting from CES:

In the meantime, I wanted to briefly discuss some of the stuff Lenovo is doing. I spent about an hour and a half meeting with them this morning and while I am charitably described as a ThinkPad fanboy, the truth is, they just make the best notebooks on earth. And now they’re getting even better. It’s dizzying. I posted a bit about this yesterday, but there is so much going on here. In fact, their near-final version of a tiny notebook with a breakaway tablet screen absolutely kills anything Apple could possibly announce later this month. It’s not even close. […]

IdeaPad U1 hybrid notebook. Shipping in the second half of 2010, this is the device that will make Apple’s supposed tablet look silly. It’s basically a clamshell netbook-class computer running Windows 7. But you can pop-off the screen and use just that as a tablet.

Three days ago, Lenovo announced that they’re killing the product and starting over from scratch with Android.

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To get an idea of what a gamechanger the iPad is you only have to look at the multitude of announced hardware that is being revamped or outright killed. HP’s Slate, which MS made such a big deal about – gone; maybe to be back with a whole new operating system. The MS Courier – gone. Fusion Garage’s JooJoo – less than a hundred sold. Lots of announcements for sale in September or later.

If you read news about tablets, everyone is announcing new approaches, because their old ones simply didi not compete with the iPad. Their battery life sucks. They weight more or they cost more. No one has yet provided a competing device that hits all the sweet spots the iPad does, and also includes an superior touch screen experience.

Android may be the only choice for many companies, as MS seems to be years away from a useful mobile, touchscreen interface. And HP bought the only other OS that has any chance of competing with the iPhone OS.

Competition is good but these guys have to really hurry because time does march on.

For now, having to revamp may have a huge effect on one important event – the Holiday season. It seems unlikely that many of the serious competitors can get a device redesigned to effectively compete with the iPad, and get the marketing engine going, in time for the Holiday rush.

This can push back any real competition for market share on iPads quite a bit. And by next year, I expect we will be almost onto the 3rd version of the iPad, while others are still on their first. Apple is not siting still with the iPad.

So, not only does the competition have to match or exceed what the iPad has now, but they also have to be creative enough to set themselves on a path to compete with where the iPad will be a year from now.