(Talksauce is a weekly editorial that represents the opinions of Tapsauce editor-in-chief Jacob Hall, not Rocksauce Studios. If he says something stupid, blame him and him alone.)
When 2012 began, there was no debate: the iPad was the best tablet on the market by a wide margin, more than justifying its price. Then again, it’s only real competition was a handful of mediocre Android tablets, the hit-and-miss Kindle Fire and the underused Nook Color. What will happen when the iPad finds itself face to face with some real competition?
By the time Christmas rolls around, we will be watching the first true battle of what I’m choosing to call the Tablet Wars. Apple won’t be on top forever, so the big question now is “Who will topple them?” On top of that, will it happen this year? Next year? A decade?
With the holidays upon us, we get the chance to watch four major companies battle it out to be the device under the most Christmas trees and what goes down will go a long way toward hinting who will take down Apple in the future…or if Apple is safe for the foreseeable future. Here are the contenders:
The iPad Mini. Sure, it hasn’t been officially announced yet, but everyone knows that it’s coming (and it should be revealed next week). What can we expect from it? Well, probably just a little iPad, a smaller version of what we’ve seen before that will try to siphon people away from other 7″ tablets like the Kindle Fire. If there is any real innovation in this device, I’ll be hugely surprised, but you know what they say about fixing things that aren’t broken…
And then there’s the iPad Mini’s main target: the Kindle Fire. Last year’s model received mixed reviews, but everyone knows that tech improves the second time around. At $199, the basic model is one of the cheapest tablets on the market and it has the massive resources of Amazon.com behind it, ready to fill every device with apps and content. Kindle Fire’s aren’t as sexy as iPads, but the price is certainly right.
After that, we have Google’s Nexus 7 tablet, which also starts at $199. In the ocean of forgettable Android tablets, the Nexus has received glowing reviews and is standout in a field without many standouts…but is that enough? Are people ready to embrace Android tablets after being burnt so many times before?
And then we have the season’s exciting dark horse: the Microsoft Surface. At $499, it’s begging to be compared to Apple’s line-up, which guarantees exposure but will bury it if it fails to grab an audience. Microsoft has done some interesting and cool things with their smartphones, but this is their first serious foray into the hardware market. Can they make a worthwhile device? And, more importantly, can they make a worthwhile device for a price that would get you an iPad?
I asked a few people around the Rocksauce Studios office about what tablet they’re eyeing this holiday season. Here’s what I heard back.
Q Manning: “I’ll be rooting for the iPad Mini, because I enjoy iOS and the Apple EcoSystem. A runner-up, however would be Microsoft. I think the things they’ve done with WindowsPhone are genuinely clever, and they have a distinctly different approach than either Apple or Google when it comes to mobile.”
Brian Capelli: “Well, I already have my Nexus 7 and I prefer it to the iPad. I want to stay away from the ad-supported Kindle Fire HD since there is no way to disable the ads without rooting and custom rom. I expect that the iPad Mini will be more expensive than it has to be. It could also be due to the fact that I am Android-biased.”
David Blakeslee: “I dont root for any of them, I will make a decision on which one is the best based on the performance and then purchase that one.”
Travis Slate: “Theres also a rumor of a 10.1″ nexus tablet. That the one i am interested in. Surface looks interesting but the prices are obscene.”
Guthrie Bunn: “I like Amazon and would prob choose the Fire, Apple gets worshipped but the mini will probably be cool. Microsoft’s not a hardware company, but let’s see. They need more apps, and to do that they need to pay Rocksauce to build apps for them.”