Rivals determined to prevent Apple Inc from dominating the tablet market the way it did with digital music players unleashed a tidal wave of touchscreen devices at the Consumer Electronics Show.
This year may well produce a viable competitor to Apple's iPad. But CES only served to underscore the challenge they face.
Of the slew of tablets on view at CES, devices from Motorola and Research in Motion were standouts. But none rose to iPad-killer status, analysts said. Some, lazier vendors seemed to use the show as a whiteboard to sketch out half-baked ideas.
Rich Beyer, chief executive of Freescale Semiconductor, which makes chips for tablets, said in an interview ahead of CES that Apple's rivals are still testing the market.
"I think a lot of people are hoping that this market is not going to be like Apple and the MP3 market."
Rivals are already playing catch-up, after Apple moved assertively to define the tablet market, sacrificing its precious margin profile to price the iPad at $500.
Image courtesy: AP / www.apple.com