- What will it do that the current smartphones and laptops don't do?
- Where will it be used?
- Who will afford it?
On the eve of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, tabletmania is hitting a fever pitch. We may see dozens of tablets launchedthis week alone, many from the biggest brands in computing such as Lenovo, HTC and Asus. The presumed Apple ( AAPL) version in particular allegedly is going to become the new iPhone, changing our lives forever like a Messiah. The lines will go around the blocks. It feels like real estate pre-construction mania all over again. (See all our CES 2010 coverage.) Before we swallow the new tablet religion lock, stock and barrel,however, let's ask some basic questions:
I have no doubt that tablets will sell at least a few million units.However, it will not be the next iPhone or Blackberry. It doesn't fitin a pocket. It's not going to be more capable than the laptop youalready have. It requires another $500-plus outlay. And if it's a bookreader, it had better offer better books than Amazon's Kindle does. This is a tall challenge. It may be more appropriate to mute the tabletsales expectations. That said, if you're Apple, the stores are already paid for and thereis plenty of wall space on which you are encouraged to throw somespaghetti, or a tablet. Go for it; niches all add up.