Challengers to the Apple
Will other tablet makers ever figure out how to make a dent in Apple's stalwart forces? They just might, if the gadget builders are wiling to learn something from their early losses.
No, really, please take it
Take the Hewlett-Packard
Research In Motion
We never learn anything from history
Other tablet makers have started to see this obvious lesson by now: You don't really have to have the best gadget on the market, as long as the thing is cheap enough. I mean, why do we buy tablets at all? They're always less capable than a full-fledged notebook or even netbook computer. The portability advantage over netbooks is pretty small, and it disappears completely next to your favorite smartphone model. But if it's a handy combination of power, portability, and price, we'll buy it. And I'd argue that price is the most important of these three Ps.
The 7-inch HTC Flyer tablet got a price cut from $499 to $299, or $240 if you want the Sprint Nextel
The iPad remains the only tablet that gets a price premium thanks to design, features, or brand reputation. No matter how much it stings an already bruised corporate ego, rivals need to accept this simple fact and start a scorched-earth campaign if they want any part of the tablet market at all.
Even then, Apple will keep the lion's share of tablet profits for years to come. Beyond that, it's not easy picking winners in the tablet wars. But you could bypass the Maginot line under construction by looking deeper into the devices themselves. Check out these terrific tablet-focused ideas in the semiconductor industry, for example. You don't really have to pick a winner to come out ahead.