January 10, 2011, 1:31 PM — More than 80 tablet computers were shown at the four-day International Consumer Electronics Show, and one expert predicted some wouldn't last beyond the event.
So which tablets have the greatest chance of surviving through 2011?
Computerworld asked several analysts to weigh in on which devices to watch. Most would only list six machines, including tablets already announced by Cisco Systems, the Cius and Research in Motion's BlackBerry Playbook . But at CES, it was learned that Verizon will carry the Cius on its LTE network and Sprint-Nextel will carry the Playbook on its WiMax network.
Here are some of the factors that will come into play in the flooded tablet market:
Price: Price will obviously make a major difference to buyers, although nearly all the products announced at CES didn't come with a price tag. Most tablets today range in price from $400 to $650, with the AppleiPad starting at $629. Some vendors said to be competitive, they would need to come in below current prices.
Screen size: Consumers and workers seem most attracted to tablets with 10-inch screens, which is shown in the popularity of the 9.7-inch iPad, noted Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner. But the 7-inch Galaxy Tab has done fairly well in the market since its November introduction in the U.S., so it's not clear that 10 inches is the only ideal size.
Platform: Android was hot at CES and its latest version, Android 3.0, also known as Honeycomb, will run on new machines including Motorola's Xoom), LG's G Slate and an as yet unnamed device from Toshiba -- all with 10 inch screens, or nearly that size, to support the higher resolution displays that Honeycomb was intended to support. Honeycomb tablets are judged by many experts to be the ones most likely to take on the next-generation iPad for screen image clarity and size.