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After the Apple iPad, a busy 2010

Apple isn't the only company rolling out a tablet this year. Google is reportedly readying a sleek new netbook to compete with the iPad.

By Matthew Shaer / January 27, 2010



The furor is over. So is the guesswork, the fake photos, the Gawker scavenger hunt. Today, in an event monitored by just about every news outlet in the universe, Apple unveiled its iPad, a tablet device which many analysts say could revolutionize the personal computing industry. But even as Apple hogs the spotlight, several competitors are busy readying devices which they hope will knock the iPad off its perch.

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Chief among them is Google, the tech titan which spent much of 2009 jostling with Apple. Google has already released the Nexus One and other Android phones, intended as iPhone-killers. According to TechCrunch, Google has been busy working with hardware manufacturers on a Google-branded netbook. The computer would presumably run Chrome, an operating system slated for wide release later this year.

Obviously, the Nexus One didn't make the iPhone vanish, and it's not likely that a Google netbook would completely overshadow the Apple iPad. Still, if Google can produce a relatively cheap, fast, and accessible netbook, there's no reason to think that consumers wouldn't come running. And if Google waits until the Apple iPad buzz has subsided, the company has a good chance of stirring up some serious publicity of its own.

Meanwhile, the Taiwanese company Acer plans to unveil a tablet and a full applications store of its own in 2010. The Acer applications platform will offer “hundreds [of apps], otherwise you can’t call it an apps store,” Jim Wong, president of Acer's IT Products division, told Bloomberg News. As for the hardware, Wong says an Acer tablet would probably include peripherals, such as a keyboard.

"I don't think we would like to get rid of the keyboard," Wong said. "People still type faster than they write."

Then there's Amazon, reigning champion of the books world. In recent weeks, Amazon has been tripping over itself in an attempt to outflank Apple, which it fears could steal some of the Kindle's thunder. In an announcement last week, Amazon said it would open up the Kindle to third-party developers – presumably an attempt to make the Kindle less of an e-reader and more of a general-utility device. Could it work?

Maybe. There are concerns about the quality of Amazon's hardware, which doesn't exactly measure up to the Apple iPad. But Amazon is a feisty competitor, and as evidenced by its stunning success in recent years, it should never be counted out of the race.

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Hey, we're only speculating. You tell us. What would you like to see in 2010? Would you go with Google over Apple? Drop us a line in the comments section or find us on Twitter.

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