Historically, holiday season shoppers looking to pick up a tablet PC have had it pretty easy. Until last year there was really only one choice and one choice alone – that being the iPad. This was summarily joined by the Amazon Kindle Fire, which opened up choice a little, but the buck essentially stopped with big or small, pricey or cheap – that was the be all and end all of the market.
This year however things are looking decidedly different and those having not yet made up their minds could be forgiven for being a little on the panicked side of things. Not only has Apple decided to confound the market with a new iPad, and even newer iPad 4 and the iPad Mini, but rival tablets are lining up thick and fast to blow the whole subject wide open like never before.
From the Amazon Kindle Fire HD to the Google Nexus 8 to the Microsoft Surface RT to the Google Nexus 10 to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 and dozens of others besides, it really isn’t quite as easy as saying “One tablet PC please!” anymore.
What makes the situation all the more interesting is the way in which consumers don’t just have a choice of tablets – they have a choice of incredibly capable and high value for money tablets. For example, the Google Nexus 7 has reinvented the wheel in terms of what $199 can stretch to these days, while the Surface RT Tablet represents the first exciting venture into hardware Microsoft has ever made.
The Google Nexus 10 boasts a screen that runs circles around Apple’s Retina panels, while the iPad Mini serves as the device we were told would never exist.
What all of the above amounts to is both good and bad news – there’s no easy way to make the choice but on the other hand there really are no wrong decisions.
For the Cupertino collective on the other hand, this may prove to be the first Christmas in several where the iPad really isn’t the be all and end all show-stopper we’ve come to expect it to be.