The year 2011 will belong to tablet computers.
Looking behind, would you have guessed smartphones loaded with features including social media applications (Facebook, Twitter and the like) at under Rs. 5,000 this year? Let me guess now: in under 18 months, you could be buying an iPad-like tablet computer – and my price guess is Rs. 10,000.
I have been writing about the iPad clones coming, though Apple's gizmo hit the markets only four months ago. Last week, there was news that Research In Motion, the company that makes the BlackBerry device, will introduce a tablet computer in November to compete with the iPad — called the Blackpad.
The Blackpad is expected to have about the same dimensions as the iPad and cost about as much as the $499-plus Apple tablet. That is a little over Rs. 23,000.
News is also out that South Korea's Samsung Electronics plans to introduce tablet computers in the current quarter based on Google's Android operating system.
Nokia, LG Electronics and Hewlett-Packard Co are moving into tablets, and Microsoft also said last week it would introduce new tablets based on its Windows platform.
Looking back at smartphones, would you have thought of brands like Lemon, Karbonn or Micromax giving trouble to a brand like Nokia?
I expect similar brands (probably the same ones) to launch tablet computers –because even places like rural India have loads of customers who would want to watch YouTube videos. Remember, 3G and broadband wireless access services should be here next year.
This Diwali, prepare to be blitzed by advertisements for tablet computers by global brands. By the next Indian Premier League cricket season, cheaper local or Chinese brands would have landed.