Originally Posted by Tallest Skil
When was the first real competitor to the iPod released?
When was the first real competitor to the iPhone released?
The first real competitor to the iPod was the Zune OS and Marketplace (not any particular model of Zune in particular), and it has thus far failed miserably. There have not been any viable competitors since. Microsoft, Sony, Philips, Sandisk, Creative, Archos and i.River all produce decent devices, but none provide the whole user experience as well as Apple does, save the Zune HD, which quite simply, didn't have the momentum to succeed.
The first real competitor to the iPhone was the Android OS and the Android Market. It has succeeded as a viable competitor, thanks to its open infrastructure and handset manufacturer and provider-friendly approach.
However, Android's weakness in in its strength. Although the Android approach was attractive to business partners and geeks who like to tinker around, this has come at the huge cost of fragmentation and lack of device integrity. Android truly is the "Windows" of the handset space, complete with both the advantages and the disadvantages that Windows carries over OSX on the desktop.
The obvious competitor to the iPad is an Android-based tablet. However, Android will still have the same disadvantages in the tablet space as it does in the handset space, that being fragmentation, steep user learning curve and poor security.
Sneaking in the background, however, is HP and WebOS. If HP can provide a secure and reliable infrastructure, limit fragmentation, provide a well-integrated software and media store and gain enough momentum at launch, a WebOS tablet could surpass Android as a real iPad competitor. I don't doubt that this is what HP is thinking, and that this is what they are currently working on at what is probably a frantic pace.
In addition, Microsoft should
be busy working on adapting WP7 to tablets (and let the ZuneOS die). But they won't. Microsoft are stupid and they still think the best tablet should be one that runs a desktop OS. Destined to fail. You don't slap a cup holder, bucket seats and an automatic transmission on a Vespa.