2011: The Year of the Tablet - Since the creation of the iPad, tablets have seen a huge increase in popularity. This popularity boost could mean good things for the home automation industry, where tablets could replace more traditional control panels. This could help lead to lowered prices in home automation.
2011 could very well be known as the year of the tablet. After the huge commercial success of the iPad, a lot of other manufacturers are trying to produce similar tablets and get in on the success.
In May of 2010, Samsung jumped on the bandwagon and announced its answer to the iPad: the Samsung Galaxy Tab. This tablet is small but powerful. Measuring around 7 inches tall and 4 inches wide, it has a 1 GHz processor, two cameras, 3G support and up to 32 GB of storage space.
Not to be outdone, Blackberry has also announced a tablet: the BlackBerry Playbook. This tablet is equipped with a 1 GHz dual-core processor and a full GB of RAM. It can connect wirelessly to BlackBerry smartphones, allowing for easy and convenient information sharing. It is also 4G compatible, meaning faster connections and a truly free web-surfing experience.
Motorola came next, unveiling its XOOM tablet in Janurary of 2011. Like the PlayBook, XOOM is equipped with a dual-core processor and dual cameras. Its 10.1 inch screen supports HD video, and it even has HDMI output so you can connect your tablet to a TV for larger playback. It has both 3G and 4G support.
However, the people who started the tablet revolution may have a response to all of these newcomers. Apple has unveiled the iPad 2 recently. Before this event Apple has been keeping official information quiet and rumors abound concerning the possible specs of its new and improved tablet. Since the release of the iPad 2, many suppliers have identified the weaknesses in their tablet computers in comparison with the device and have been working on products not to clone it. As noted in the article “Top 5 Tablet PCs Other than iPad”, few are available right now, and those that are available will rapidly be swamped by the new models when they are released.
For example the Blackberry Playbook (RIM) is going to make Apple exceedingly jealous when it is released sometime next year. It is a 7" tablet with a 1024 x 600 resolution screen, 1 GB RAM, 1GHz ARM Cortex AP dual core CPU and a capacitive screen. Storage is 32GB, although other models will vary. The Playbook offers Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but lacks the 3G of the Samsung Galaxy. However, it has a camera front and back with 3 and 5 Megapixels respectively. It runs QNX rather than the usual Android, and this is some mean machine that will be well worth waiting for.
While this sudden surge in tablet popularity is exciting to a lot of people, it could be especially interesting to people in the home automation business. In the past, home automation control panels have been expensive because they are highly specialized and are produced in relatively small numbers.
The surge in tablet popularity and power could change all that. These new tablets are powerful enough to replace traditional home automation control panels, allowing for control of one's thermostat, lights, security system and more, all from one single touch pad. This change from highly specialized and rare control panels to commonly produced tablets could help to make home automation simpler, easier and cheaper.
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