Oct 3, 2010

The Tablet OS War, where are you?

There are supposedly a miriad of tablets coming to us real soon. With most offering very similar hardware specs, the real questions end up being about price and ports. Android, the OS being used on all but one tablet, is becoming a household word, although I'm not so sure that's a good thing. There are already reports of tablets missing services due to unreasonable demands from Google. They are also being sued because of this scenario as well.

The only competition to Google's grasp on the tablet market (and phone market, for that matter) is iOS, Apples well-known OS for the iPhone, iPod and iTab. The problem is that Apple products are generally purchased by Apple consumers...meaning that Apple has a following that buys from them, while the rest look to its competition for a solution, namely Google.

That being said, what are the options for those of us that want none of them? There truthfully don't seem to be any. Not in any practical sense of the word at least. There is hope, however. Unfortunately, this hope is quite a bit behind at the moment.

That hope is, of course, Meego, the hybrid child of Nokia's Maemo and Intel's Moblin which is being polished up, and will soon be released in some new products. The negative so far is that it isn't here (obviously), and that it's app market isn't nearly as large as Google's and Apple's. On the other hand, it will come, and ports of the existing Maemo Garage projects will undoubtedly be found in Meego's repositories within a short time after a proper Meego launch.

For those of you who like the idea of an option to Android, Meego offers an open system. I don't mean the supposed type of openness of Android, but proper openness. It is a true Linux based OS, and not quasi Linux as with Android. There are no Google type restrictions to its use. It gives the user proper access to the system, if the user is so inclined to use it.

It will be interesting to see what happens once Meego is out in the open. Will it be able to escape the niche market that Maemo occupies today, and compete with Android at a level which may give it some respect and dominance? Will it be able to compete with apps? Or will it dwindle away into an OS used in specialty systems: in-vehicle, appliances? (these are also areas Meego is intended for)

I, for one, can't wait to find out. I can tell you one thing though. If Meego takes too much longer, there is an Android tablet in my near future.

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