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Battle of Tablets: Who will win the Race?

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By Himanshu Guru: With an aim at bringing a revolution in the digital market, Apple Inc. pioneered the tablets and dominated its sale for some time. In the second phase, efforts were made by Hewlett-Packard Co. and Research In Motion Limited to challenge Apple’s dominance, but the competition drastically failed. But, now with Google‘s Nexus 7 and Microsoft’s upcoming Surface tablets, Apple is facing the real heat.

Tablets evolved as an innovative product, later served as a commodity and now cater to a highly segmented market. While Amazon’s Kindle family of tablets seems to be chosen by the users basically as  reading and shopping devices, Microsoft’s Surface tablet are best opted for Internet surfing and Office applications.

There are many in the run. Unlike tablets by Amazon or Google, Microsoft Corp.’s Surface media tablet with Windows RT operating system costs to manufacture a lot less than it is sold for in retail. In terms of its size, feature set and pricing, the gadget seems to have designed to compete with the full-sized iPad.

Undeniably, with its Windows 8/RT operating systems, Office Suite and built-in keyboard, the Microsoft Surface has abandoned the gap between laptop and tablet, which is definitely an appealing feature for the users, who seek the full functionality of a laptop.

The main competitors in the race are – Surface for Windows RT, the 8 Pro, Google Nexus 7 and the 3rd generation apple A5X iPad. And please don’t ask about ‘Aakash’ tablet’s position in this list.

Coming to the comparison, the most significant difference between Google Nexus 7 and the other tablets is its 7 inch screen which captures its own niche. The software of the Google Nexus 7, which runs Android 4.1 is most similar to the iPad which runs iOS 5 because they both more or less run smartphone OSes. Again, The Windows 8/RT operating system is noticeably different from iOS 5. However, Windows 8/RT lacks the vast app market that Apple and Google have, making it less appealing to a casual tablet user.

So strategy plays a main role to decide about the gadget. For now it seems that Amazon, Microsoft and Google should be able to take away market share in the tablet industry from Apple. And as they have learned lessons from their forerunners such as RIM and Hewlett-Packard Co., they are cautious about the flaws that these companies had done. Thus, Apple has to give battles on many different fronts.

Hence, though it is hard to say with confidence about who will win the race, but one thing can be said that Apple will definitely have a hard time to become the winner at the end, despite the fact that it has pioneered the gadget.

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