Apple's iPad hasn't had a serious competitor in the last year and a half - but Amazon could be a real contender, says Seb Janacek.
The huge lead the iPad has over competitors has led some to suggest there isn't so much a tablet market as an iPad market.
In the 17 months since the iPad launched, competing devices have barely managed to scratch the surface of Apple's dominance. A number of competitors exist, mainly running Android, but there's little sustained interest or sales.
In a new report, Needham analyst and Apple watcher Charlie Wolf predicts that the iPad will still dominate the consumer tablet market a decade after its debut. Wolf predicts that while the iPad's share of the market will decline as competing products start registering some success, it will still be at 60 per cent in 2020.
He added that new tablet challengers were more likely to steal sales from other companies rather than Apple itself, stating that new tablets "have been greeted with a yawn and lacklustre sales".
The research by Needham's Wolf makes depressing reading for its competitors. The iPad is so well established in the tablet space with so many positive messages and advantages that it's hard to see it being toppled, just as the iPod dominated the MP3 market for the best part of a decade.
Is there any hope for Apple's competitors? A recent column on silicon.com suggested five ways a competing device might actually get about doing some competing.
silicon.com's editor Steve Ranger suggested competitors offer a tablet with greater openness and usability, one that is business-friendly, timely and finally offers the ecosystem needed to replicate some of the iPad's success.
Many companies, including Acer, HP, HTC, RIM and Samsung have tried, and so far failed, to make a telling impact. All are hardware manufacturers and most, with the exception of RIM and HP, use Android.
So maybe it's time for a new approach?
Later this year, Amazon is expected to launch its own tablet computer based on Android - but with a significant change of focus.
The ecommerce giant already sells its own hardware in the form of the splendid Kindle ebook reader. It's expected that an Amazon tablet will complement rather than kill the Kindle. It's a compelling proposition, and here are my reasons why it could be a winner.
1. Amazon has taken its time
Apple has rapidly been followed to market by a large number of iPad competitors, none of which has managed to...