ARM: iPad launch will cause virtual tablet tsunami

An ARM spokesperson has predicted that the launch of Apple’s iPad will prompt the release of over 50 rival tablet PC devices in 2010.

“The first tablet devices will launch in the second quarter by [mobile network] carriers,” Roy Chen, ARM’s worldwide mobile computing ODM manager, told ComputerWorld during a press meeting in Taipei. 

“You’ll see a lot more in the third quarter.”

According to Chen, the tablet devices will be sold all over the world, with a particular emphasis on the rapidly expanding Chinese market.

Meanwhile, ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr told TG Daily that while Apple’s iPad is not the first media tablet, it did help to define the nascent device category.

“The main focus of media tablets is entertainment. A tablet will not replace a laptop, netbook or mobile phone, but will remain an additional premium or luxury product for wealthy industrialized markets for at least several years,” he said.

Orr also explained that players on the tablet field fall into two distinct categories: traditional computer vendors such as Lenovo, HP, and Asus; and a number of new, smaller vendors including ICD and Notion Ink.

“The vendors in the latter category are often quite small and little known, and they see this market as an entry-point. Apple is one part of the mix, and will probably be a fairly sizable player.

He added that the “biggest challenge” faced by the media tablet category is reaching the market and generating awareness amongst potential buyers.

“New entrants to this market are at a disadvantage since they lack the retail relationships and network operator agreements already built by the more mature vendors. Surprisingly, Apple may have done them a favor by raising the public profile of the whole media tablet category.”