Samsung USA's introduction of its Android-based Galaxy Tab tablets at an event in New York City Thursday put both Apple on notice that the iPad has a new competitor and laptop makers in general on notice that a new alternative will soon be in town.
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The Galaxy Tab devices, which are smaller than iPads, will get a huge boost in that the four major U.S. wireless service providers -- AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon -- will all sell the devices. Galaxy Tabs are due out by Christmas time, and pricing has yet to be announced.
Nevertheless, the announcement is just the latest that should have laptop makers without a good tablet line-up quaking and potential laptop buyers hesitating. This despite the fact that some Android apps could look ugly on the tablets given that the 2.2 version of the Android OS (also known as Froyo) isn't optimized to run on tablets, according to a Computerworld story.
Earlier this week, Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn told the Wall Street Journal that iPads are cannibalizing the laptop market."People are willing to disproportionately spend for these devices because they are becoming so important to their lives," Dunn said in the interview, and said that internal research by Best Buy shows that iPad sales have cut into some laptop PC sales by as much as 50%.
Android-based tablets like the Samsung Gaxaxy Tab and Dell Streak should do a fair amount of cannibalizing as well given analyst projections for devices running the operating system. Gartner recently said Android will overtake Research in Motion's BlackBerry and Apple iOS as the second best-selling smartphone OS worldwide by year-end, trailing only Nokia's Symbian.
Forrester Research issued a report this summer in which it said tablets will outsell netbooks within two years. "Tablet growth will come at the expense of netbooks, which have a similar grab-and-go media consumption and Web browsing use case as tablets but don't synchronize data across services like the iPad does," said Forrester Research Analyst Sarah Rotman Epps in a statement. "Consumers didn't ask for tablets. In fact, Forrester's data shows that the top features consumers say they want in a PC are a complete mismatch with the features of the iPad. But Apple is successfully teaching consumers to want this new device."
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