Tech journalist calls into question CES 'year of the tablet'

Where are the Android tablets?

PC Magazine has examined the claims of 2011 being the "year of the tablet" and asked why the promised deluge of tablet PCs has failed to arrive.

In an article titled "Are Android Tablets Vapor? Or Just Not Here?", author Michael J. Millar points out that while CES was crammed with tablets, "what strikes me most, in retrospect, is just how unfinished nearly all of the tablets were."

Miller said that following CES he was enthused by the possibilities of tablet computing but more skeptical about the market. Most enthusiastic about the Android Honeycomb-powered Motorola Xoom, Miller was disappointed that there was "nothing you could actually touch," saying that this was an indication that the products weren’t fully developed.

Miller summed up the show as a dumping ground for generic Android tablets and expressed disappointment that each device was offering the stock Android experience and that "just about everything I saw looked almost identical."

"There must have been hundreds of such tablets sitting there — all waiting for someone to slap their logo on it — either for the Asian market or for developed markets at a really cheap price," he said.

On Windows 7 slates, Miller said that the issues that stopped them from being a success in the past had still not gone away such as battery life. 

While Apple didn’t take part in CES, Miller noted that the show was rammed with peripherals for the dominant tablet, Apple’s ‘ubiquitous’ iPad. "I saw far more cases, speakers, docks, and apps than I could count."

Miller said that with vendors attempting to position themselves offering a credible alternative to the iPad in 2011, announcements of tablet products "have to been seen as placeholders".

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