Asia's iPad imitators hope to bite into Apple's lead

When Apple announced the arrival of the iPad, it said it would create and define a brand-new sector in the market for computer devices, somewhere between the smartphone and the notebook laptop.

Two months and over two million iPad sales later a string of Asian manufacturers have shown they agree - by unveiling their own tablets which they hope will take a bite out of Apple's lead.

Over a dozen new iPad-style gadgets have now entered the fray, and more are sure to follow.

At the Computex computer trade fair in Taipei this week, beautiful models posed with shiny black slabs of clever glass - most of which looked pretty much the same as Apple's iPad.

First out of the box was the catchily named ASUS Eee Pad 101TC. It's similar in size to the iPad, runs on Windows and will sell for 399 US dollars - around 100 US dollars less than the US price of a basic iPad.

The MSI WindPad 100, which at 499 US dollars costs the same as the iPad, also runs on Windows and boasts a webcam - which is conspicuously absent in the first iPad models. LG's new UX10 device also has a webcam.

Many newcomers will also use Adobe's Flash video technology, another perceived flaw in the iPad. Apple refused to allow Flash on its new gadget.

Taiwan-based chipmaker VIA believes the way forward in the tablet market is to go smaller and cheaper.

Its VIA Slate prototype has a seven-inch screen, runs on an old version of Google's Android operating system and will retail for between 100 and 200 US dollars. Several other tablet devices will also run on Android.

Right at the bottom of the market is the iPed - which seems to be a direct copy of the iPad, even down to the packaging. It is on sale only over the Taiwan Strait in China, selling in a Shenzhen computer mall for 105 dollars.

Nancy Liu of Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute told AFP that companies launching their tablets at Computex wanted to prove "they have the capability to catch the trend set by Apple."

"I don't think the followers are capable of dethroning Apple's leadership at least in the short term," Liu said.

But it's not the gadget, it's what you can do with it that counts. And this is where Apple is also streets ahead of the pack. As Jenny Lai, a Taipei-based technology analyst for brokerage firm CLSA, says: content is king.

"Content remains a critical part of the success story for iPad," she said. "Currently, there are seven major app stores including new entrants Lenovo and Asustek.

"What's more important for Apple and existing vendors is building up a more user-friendly interface and more choices for online-store users."

Apple has more than 100,000 downloadable applications compared to the 500 it offered for the iPhone when it first opened online less than two years ago. Google has more than 30,000 apps available for Android.

Lenovo's application download store for Lephone and other products has around 250 applications. Asustek say it is cooperating with Intel and Microsoft to launch an app store in 2010 on a Windows platform.

And it's not just computer makers watching each other's reaction to this "new" market - the struggling old school publishing industries are also looking on in hope.

The tablet computer plus its slightly less glamorous cousin, the e-reader, have been hailed as the saviour of the book and newspaper industries.

Sony, which has an e-reader but does not have a tablet computer on the market - yet - predicts big changes for the publishing industry on the back of the launch of all these devices.

Steve Haber, president of Sony's digital reading business division, believes the printed book will soon be overtaken by its electronic sister, the same pattern seen with music and photography.

"Within five years there will be more digital content sold than physical content," he told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"I have multiple meetings with publishers and tell them paradigm shifts happen. You can say fortunately or unfortunately you haven't had a paradigm shift in, what, hundreds of years.

"We in the consumer electronics area have a paradigm shift every year or two."

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballLatest score and Twitter updates
Arts and Entertainment
David Hasselhof in Peter Pan
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

    £17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Support Analyst / Helpdesk Support Analyst

    £16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is the UK's leading ...

    SThree: TRAINEE RECRUITMENT CONSULTANT - IT - LONDON

    £20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £50k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 bus...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

    Day In a Page

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'