News Analysis

MWC: iPad rivals could open up tablets to mass market

Computer suppliers are poised to release a range of handheld tablets to compete with the iPad at the Mobile World Congress show.

Manufacturers including Nokia and Samsung are gearing up to release handheld devices at MWC, in a move that could create a mass market for tablet devices, according to analyst firm Juniper Research.

The iPhone expanded the market for smartphones from a niche business area, into a mass market for consumers, bringing competition into the phone market, said analyst Windsor Holden.

The iPad looks set to do the same for consumer tablet devices, but he warned that few were likely to appeal to business users.

"The iPad is a very good branded device. It's good for watching TV. It is a nice games device. It functions as an e-reader. It is ticking a lot of potentially attractive consumer boxes. I am not sure that this is true of the enterprise space," he said.

"From a business perspective you have to ask yourself what the point is of a tablet. It does not have the full function of a laptop. It's going to be larger and bulkier than a smartphone. Really, what is the unique selling point for the enterprise ?"

For businesses, tablets may might end up as a halfway house between laptop and a smartphone, and satisfying neither need, said Holden.

Tablet devices will use a variety of operating systems, including Nokia's Amigo, Android and Windows.


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