NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, organizers estimated that more than 100 new tablet devices hit the showroom floor, all vying for a piece of the market dominated by Apple's ( AAPL) iPad. With Gartner forecasting the number of tablets sold worldwide this year to increase 181% over last year, consumers also have a lot more to choose from. Poised to potentially take a bite out of Apple's share are Google ( GOOG) Android-powered tablets from Motorola Mobility ( MMI), Samsung and Acer. Dozens more will hit store shelves, too.
But while competition and consumer choice is good for any market, analysts say that it's far more likely that we'll see more tablet failures than successes this year. "Tablets are in the spotlight now, like netbooks once were," said ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr, who compares the tablet market to the netbook sector of a few years ago, when consumers rushed to buy the inexpensive computers that inundated the market. Many customers, he said, were largely disappointed with the products' low quality. "The
tablet market will perform well this year as a whole, but not every product will perform well." The gadget makers that want to see their wares survive will need to differentiate on more than just price, said Dmitriy Molchanov, an analyst with Yankee Group. Vizio, for example, has positioned its VIA Tablet not as a traditional tablet, but as a connected home device, he said. The tablet's interface is the same as on Vizio's new TVs to give a unified experience across both devices, and it can function as a remote control. Platform is another important factor for tablets, Molchanov said, as most consumers want flexible software that they can personalize. He cited what HTC has done to set its Android smartphones apart from the pack. The company has developed a special user interface called HTC Sense -- a customized skin and widgets like social network aggregation feeds, special mapping features and camera applications. While the company hasn't officially announced plans for a tablet, it's rumored to be readying its tablet, the HTC Scribe, for launch this quarter. So which tablets should you avoid? We surveyed first-hand reviews from some of tech's most popular blogs for the details on what makes the following devices likely to be duds.
MSI's WindPad 100W and 100A
Dell Inspiron Duo
Elonex/Next 7-inch Media Tablet