With the iPad, Apple is the dominant tablet manufacturer and with the Kindle Fire, Amazon has become the company to watch in the tablet space.
But don't write bookseller Barnes & Noble (B&N) off. Its NOOK business, which started with E Ink e-readers, now has two tablets in its stable, the NOOK Color and the NOOK Tablet.
Amazon's Kindle Fire was one of the hottest consumer electronics products this holiday shopping season. It was so hot, in fact, that according to investment bank Morgan Keegan, Amazon's new tablet may have displaced as many as 2m iPad sales.
And the Kindle Fire has company. Barnes & Noble's NOOK Color and NOOK Tablet devices are selling well, prompting speculation that the bookseller may spin off its NOOK unit after missing its sales targets.
Not too long ago, one could track the e-reader and tablet markets separately and have a legitimate reason to do so.
It was clear that the Kindle, for instance, was not the iPad, and the iPad was not the
But as technology evolves and hardware prices continue to fall, the differences
between e-readers and tablets is shrinking and it appears that both
markets are, for all intents and purposes, converging rapidly.
makes for an interesting battle between Apple and, well, everyone else.
Apple may have disappointed Wall Street with its fourth quarter
earnings, but make no mistake about it: most companies would kill for a
quarter like it.
The company issued a strong guidance for the first
quarter of fiscal year 2012, and Apple's CEO Tim Cook is confident.
Case in point: when it comes to the nascent tablet market, Cook isn't at
all worried about possible competition from new devices like Amazon's
Investing millions to launch an iPad-only publication may prove to be one of the best ways of making a small fortune from a large fortune, but for traditional publishers that have been hawking their wares on the iPad, Kindle and NOOK, tablets are starting to have an impact.
That's according to two executives from Condé Nast and Hearst who took part in a panel at the American Magazine Conference.
Both indicated that their companies are close to achieving $10m in revenue from tablets.
Amazon's Kindle e-reader may be one of the most popular e-readers, but the company's long-term position in the market is far from certain.
On one flank, the Kindle competes with the most popular tablet device, the iPad, and on the other, competitors like Barnes & Noble have built more sophisticated devices like the NOOK Color.
So Amazon is rumored to be responding later this week with a new version of the Kindle that's more like the iPad and NOOK Color.
Dubbed the Kindle Fire, it will reportedly feature a 7" backlit display, books (of course), plenty of magazine subscriptions, and apps to boot.
Barnes & Noble has high hopes for its new e-book reader, the NOOK Color. Described by some as half e-reader, half-tablet, the $250 device, which runs on Google's Android operating system, has been sold an estimated 3m times since its debut last November.
Now, B&N is eager to develop a strong developer ecosystem. The retailer has launched a NOOK SDK 1.0 and a shiny new NOOK Developer website which invites developers to "change the future of reading" with B&N.