It happened with the iPhone (with varied success) and it looks like it will likely happen again with the iPad. Electronics manufacturers are rushing to bring out their own touch-screen tablet computers, with the latest being the WePad from German company Neofonie. Here, we round-up five of the most likely 'iPad killers'
Microsoft's iPad killer is as good as confirmed, although the company is yet to make any official announcement about the device. Leaked photos and documents purporting to show the Courier have got gadget fans salivating; it's a dual-screen device with two 7in touch-screens designed for writing, flicking and drawing on, with fingers or a stylus. It has a rear-mounted camera, is capable of charging and syncing content wirelessly, and is designed for playing games, watching movies and productivity tasks.
Google is already crossing swords with Apple on the mobile operating front – its Android operating system and Nexus One handset compete directly with the iPhone – so it comes as little surprise that the company is also seeking to build a tablet computer based on the Android platform. Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive, said his company had been working with several hardware manufacturers, and hoped to make its Android Marketplace available on other slate-like devices. Google is thought likely to partner with HTC – the company behind the Nexus One – for any tablet computing initiative.
Steve Ballmer, chief executive of Microsoft, took the wraps off the Slate during his keynote presentation at CES earlier this year. The HP device is due to go on sale later this year. It runs Windows 7, supports the Kindle e-book reader app, it's multi-touch, and can even play games. Rumours suggest prices will start at around $549 – around $50 more than Apple's entry-level iPad.
Plastic Logic Que
Part tablet computer, part e-book reader, the Que got plenty of attention when it was unveiled at CES in January. Plastic Logic, the British-based company behind the device, say it is aimed at businessmen rather than consumers, allowing them to view and edit documents, download newspapers, manage their schedule and read e-books on an entirely shatterproof gadget. This sleek, lightweight device could prove popular with mobile workers and early adopters, but whether it's good enough to derail the iPad juggernaut remains to be seen.
Archos 9 PC Tablet
Archos is well-known for its range of personal media players, but the Archos 9 takes things a step further, becoming something more akin to a tablet PC. It runs Windows 7, supports full-HD video playback, has a webcam for Skype calls and video conferencing and, unlike some other tablets we could mention (we're looking at you, Apple), it's compatible with Flash technology. Usability, however, leaves a lot to be desired when compared to the iPad.