Apple: a new innovation
When Apple announced their iPad for the first time in April 2010, no one was expecting such huge success even the most optimistic ones in Apple itself. The tablet idea was not new but most attempts before the iPad had a very limited success. All attempts before the iPad were depending on a full-fledged desktop OS. Apple again revolutionized the tablet concept by adopting their mobiles touch-friendly iOS instead of their desktop Mac OS. Based on the iPhone success; Apple managed to sell more than 3 million iPad in just 80 days.
Google: following with a style
Some OEMs like Samsung and Dell tried to copy the iPad concept by using the Google Android to power their tablets but they failed to leave any impact. Google reacted with such attempts by announcing a tablet-friendly version of Android, but OEMs had to wait until February 2011 for the official launch. Some great tablets were produced by Samsung, Motorola, HTC and LG based on the Android tablet OS (HoneyComb). Finally the Android-based tablets made a remarkable success and managed to snatch a 30% market share from Apple in Q2 2011.
Microsoft: better late than never
Android tablets success proved that people need a more powerful OS for their tablets not just a phone OS on a larger screen. And here comes Microsoft late as usual in the mobile world. After Microsoft announced their new WP7 OS, most people expected to see a WP7-powered tablets. But Microsoft surprised everyone by another fresh idea, they introduced their Windows 8 OS. As Steve Ballmer said, Windows 8 is the riskiest product in Microsoft in 2011. Microsoft altered the architecture of their desktop OS to run in virtually every processor architecture on the world now. Microsoft demoed a running version of Windows 8 in June 2011 on ARM, Tegra2, AMD, Intel, OMAP and other chipsets. Microsoft took their fresh METRO-UI concepts from WP7 and revamped the Windows UI to add touch-friendliness to the powerful OS. They promised a full support for all old Windows applications on the new OS. The first Windows 8 powered devices are expected on February 2012.
Apple realized that their tablet approach is in serious danger. They reacted very quickly by following the Microsoft steps this time. They revamped their Mac OS UI with the iOS experience. Apple recently launched the Mac Lion update as a first step to a tablet-friendly Mac OS. It’s just a matter of time to hear a Mac-powered tablet from Apple.
The three companies Apple, Google and Microsoft are expected to merge their tablets and phones OS into a single powerful OS to enhance the user experience in all devices and decrease the developments costs as well. Google is already working on such version on android (Ice-Cream). Microsoft hinted such step might be done in their next major version of Windows Phone (WP8). Nothing from Apple though in this area.
It’s fair to mention two other tablet OSs that might leave some impact in the market with proper pricing and marketing; HP WebOS and BlackBerry tablet OS (PlayBook) are two promising OS and have what it takes to leave an impact but both have the same issue of a sole-provider (HP and RIM respectively).
Finally, 2012 is expected to have a new revolution in the mobile devices usage. Who will be the winner in the next battle Apple | Google | Microsoft | HP | RIM or another fresh idea ??