Game over, iPad: Why Nintendo holds the key to fragging Apple's tablet

Time for Apple's competitors to storm the App Store...

...a device that could go toe to toe with the iPad in looks, usability and muscle but fell down because it didn't have the apps that people wanted.

And when the BlackBerry Playbook was unveiled, couldn't RIM have invested more in developing a dazzling launch line-up to divert attention from its lack of third-party apps compared with the iPad?

Apple's competitors should be buoyed by the success they've already had making first-party apps on smartphones. Google and RIM's own apps - such as the Google Apps suite on Android and RIM's Messenger and Facebook apps for BlackBerry - are among the most popular on their respective platforms.

When Apple's hardware and UI does everything the user needs then surely apps are one of the few avenues left for Google, RIM, Samsung and others to attack. So why are they mostly leaving a crucial chance to gain a competitive advantage in the hands of a third party?

Google - following its acquisition of Motorola Mobility - and RIM are both hardware manufacturers and software makers, putting them in a perfect position to design apps that play to the strength of new tablets they produce.

Nintendo showed just how effectively a company can exploit its position as both a hardware and software maker when launching the Wii - building a motion-tracking control system for the console and a package of family-friendly sports games to exploit it.

With absolute control over the system specs and the software, Nintendo was able to create a gaming experience that was immediately accessible to all. It's doubtful whether a third party would have been able to match that level of synergy.

If Apple's competitors want one day to call Game Over on the iPad's dominance of the tablet market, they should take a look at how Nintendo plays to win.

While you're here, check out our latest photo stories: