iPad, TouchPad, Xoom and Playbook: Choices galore and nothing but time

Summary:When it comes to this new competitive landscape in tablet computing, the one question you should ask yourself is: Do you really need to buy a tablet computer today?OK, maybe YOU do.

When it comes to this new competitive landscape in tablet computing, the one question you should ask yourself is: Do you really need to buy a tablet computer today?

OK, maybe YOU do. But for the rest of us, there is no rush to get out there and pick up a tablet computer. Oh sure, maybe your laptop is on its last legs and you're considering buying a tablet as a notebook replacement. Maybe your company has freed up its PC budget and wants to know if a tablet is a viable option. Maybe you're planning a extended vacation and would like to pick up a device that will allow you to play games, watch movies, read books and check your email.

But does anyone really NEED a tablet today?

HP TouchPad

HP TouchPad

I ask the question in response to Larry Dignan's post that carried the headline: "HP's TouchPad: No price, no deal and no interest. I know where Larry is coming from - I, too, have been eyeing the tablet space and have been waiting to see what others would offer.  At this point, I now know what RIM has in the works for the Playbook. I know what Motorola is stirring up with Android 3 in the Xoom. And now I know what HP is doing with Palm's WebOS to differentiate the TouchPad from the others.

Larry and I have both been banging that "Price is everything" drum for some time now - and I don't expect that to stop anytime soon. But it hit me this morning when I read his post that I now have almost everything I need - other than the price tag - to start figuring out which tablet will make sense for me. Just because HP didn't put a price tag on its tablet yesterday doesn't mean that I'm not interested.

So what if I don't have all of the information I need until summer - even late summer. Around that time, I could be shopping for something for the kids before the start of the school year. And by then, I'll know exactly what's available. Even the iPad2 will be out by then.

Here's the way I see it: There are choices galore coming down the pipeline and for those who want to make educated purchases and buy the product that best suits their specific needs, it's only smart to wait a few more months and see what everyone is offering.

In a sense, I'm forcing the tablet makers to compete for my money - compete on features, form factor, engineering and, of course, price.

When I think about it that way, the real winner in this tablet race is me.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, iPad, Mobility, Tablets

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