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Are iPad Rivals Really That Bad?

In addition to all its competitors' failings, Apple has an unusual factor in its favour: price. For once a piece of Apple hardware is no more expensive than its rivals in most configurations and the base model is significantly cheaper. Yes the Packard Bell Liberty Tab (from £449) and Acer Iconia Tab A500 ($450) are recent notable exceptions in recent days, but iOS apps are still cheaper and until the likes of Samsung, LG and Motorola are heavily undercutting hardware RRPs and Microsoft, Google and RIM tackle their developers premium app pricing Steve Jobs will sleep soundly at night.

But fear not, it isn't all doom and gloom. For Android the proliferation of Android powered devices, from set-top boxes and TVs to car entertainment systems and – naturally – phones will continue to drive consumer interest. For all Apple's current control Gartner also shows iPad market share dropping from 84 per cent to 47.1 per cent by the end of 2015 and Android almost doubling over the same time period to near enough 40 per cent. Google's business model means a market share victory should be inevitable long term and Microsoft can get a significant piece of the pie if it makes good use of its partnership with hardware masters Nokia. They need to, competition is vital.

That said, if we are being tough, right now iPad rivals really are "that bad". Their designs and hardware are good - certainly a match for the iPad 2 - but a combination of high price points, promising but wholly new platforms, few dedicated apps and the iPad brand itself will hinder them for at least 12-24 months.

Much like the arrival of the original iPhone in 2007, companies have once again been caught napping. The damage isn't permanent, yet once again it is embarrassing. Their recovery will be slow, expensive and painful, but recover they will.

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