UMPC

Over 50 ARM-based tablets due to hit the market this year

Arm_50_tablets_in_2010 

With all the frequent coverage of tablet MIDs across the web and new devices appearing nearly every day, it's been hard to keep track of exactly how many we can expect to see on the market later this year. One person who is in a unique position of having a good idea of what's coming is Roy Chen, ARM's worldwide mobile computing ODM manager. With the majority of tablets using ARM-based processors, the company has an inside view of many upcoming products that use their chips. Following the launch of Apple's iPad early next month, the ARM executive has predicted that over 50 ARM-based tablets will hit the market this year, with the first of these devices being available in the second quarter from mobile network carriers, followed by a larger wave of new tablets in the third quarter.

Mr. Chen also commented that most of these new tablets would originate from China, but added that companies worldwide were looking to get on the tablet bandwagon, including the top 10 telecommunications network operators (no specific companies were named). The tablet invasion has even forced ARM to rent a larger space at the Computex electronics trade show in Taiwan, where we can also expect to see tablets in force much like at CeBIT.

The key questions that I have on my mind are what operating systems will all these tablets be using out of the usual suspects (Android, Windows CE, Android etc.), is the demand really there for all these tablets, and is this mad rush of product development a passing "fad" that will decline by next year, or a true new product category of how more and more people will get online in the future? We would love to hear your thoughts on this.

[Computer World via Liliputing]
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Jeremy To

Jeremy is a former editor at Pocketables.

Avatar of Jeremy To

9 thoughts on “Over 50 ARM-based tablets due to hit the market this year

  • trying to follow the momentum created by the ipad, all these 8/10″ ARM tablets are useless except maybe for occasional use in the living room, sorry but can’t think of a scenario where a tablet would fit more than a netbook.
    waiting hopefully for the next UMPC upheaval created by apple.

    Reply
  • Avatar of johnkzin

    Well, I for one am waiting for one of these new ARM based tablets. The Notion Ink Adam. I want it due to my experiences with both laptops and netbooks (keyboard gets in the way when I’m actually using it on the go; netbook keyboards are too small to directly use for anything real, so I end up using an external keyboard when I’m in a meeting, anyway; and laptops are just plain too big). The Adam hits just about every aspect of my ideal mid-range device … and a few others on the list looked promising.

    I don’t think it’s going to be a fad. I think it’s going to be the next legitimate evolution of the mid-range device. Netbooks, dedicated e-readers, and dedicated mid-range media players (portable DVD players) are all going to have to compete with something that is both more general purpose (than an e-reader or DVD player) and a better format (than a netbook).

    The question for me isn’t “will the niche survive” but “which players in the niche will survive”. Apple, almost certainly, will survive. Hopefully the Adam will as well. But what about the Archos 7 android tablet? HP’s tablet? ICD? and who will come up with something that hits a few sweet spots that everyone else overlooked (right now, the Adam is the only PixelQi I’m aware of … that’s one sweet spot, but what about others?).

    It will be an interesting year … I look forward to seeing what the mid-range market looks like 12-24 months from now.

    Reply
  • Avatar of johnkzin

    “where a tablet would fit more than a netbook”

    When you’re not near a table/desk/etc.

    You’re not going to be typing on the keyboard, so the keyboard just becomes an awkward dead weight. And if it’s not a touchscreen, then you’ll be fumbling with the trackpad/etc. a well.

    Tablet wins.

    When you ARE near a desk/table/etc., the vast majority of netbook keyboards are too small, or have compromised layouts, etc. that keep them from being just as usable as a laptop or desktop keyboard. For me, even with a netbook, I use an external folding USB keyboard instead of the built-in keyboard. So, really, the ONLY purpose the netbook keyboard serves me is: a sort of kickstand to hold the screen up. I’d rather just have an actual kickstand.

    Again, tablet wins.

    Reply
  • tablets concept are a no go for me simply because it’s ARM based and i’ve had my share of frustrations linked to these OS’s limitations and small and “WEB 2.0” driven application libraries.

    i mean really with this kind of cpu power what one can automatically think of is to roll back in time half a decade ago and see what was hot to perform a some sort of “PC experience revisited” odyssey, but unfortunately we are on the wrong ladder because we would need x86 to do that.

    imo also what would beat a tablet in nearly every aspect is a light 12″ convertible.

    Reply
  • why would i have to grab a device in my left hand if it’s not a pocketable device.
    normally that’s what we do with a smartphone or a PDA when we are on the move, i can’t imagine myself holding that big of a device while walking, even the conductor of an orchestra would need both his hands :)
    even in the living room while relaxing how would i watch a video by squeezing the device between two pillows ?

    Reply
  • weak forearms, stiff necks assuming the sitting position, sliperry hands, no sleeping while watching a movie.
    sad but, in the engineering of Tablets the functionality aspect has been droped and switched for fanciness, again.

    Reply
  • I’m with you, regarding the Adam. It’s on my shopping list, along with the HP Slate.

    Reply
  • I feel that there is enormous utility in the tablet form factor.
    The computer I’ve been using the last five years is the old school version of the tablet, a tablet convertible laptop with a Wacom screen. The keyboard has only been used a few times, there are plenty of on-screen text entry options, so the screen stays folded over the keys. Most time is spent consuming content, not creating it.
    Eliminating the keyboard allows the constant small adjustments of screen distance and angle, natural to reading on paper, that keeps the eyes from tiring. Weight isn’t much of an issue, since the tablet is not held freehand; it is supported by the lap, legs, or stomach. A hand only serves to adjust the angle, not bear the weight.
    The natural place for a tablet is as a couch computer. Without a keyboard, the computer is freed from the need of a desk. Without the desk the screen can be positioned at a much more natural position in the visual field. The most natural and restful portion of the visual field for people to use is the portion used to scan the footing while walking–from about twenty degrees below horizontal to fifty degrees below horizontal. Given the opportunity, people automatically position a tablet in their visual sweet spot.

    Reply

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