Kindle, Sony, Nook vs Apple, Google, Microsoft - One Trick Ponies vs Multimedia Devices

Now that Microsoft is reportedly going to show off their own slate/tablet computing devices, the eReader vs Multimedia device "game" is on! eReaders like Amazon's Kindle, Barnes and Noble's Nook and Sony's Readers are fine for 'reading,' but if you want to multi-task, you'll find they come up short every time. Apple's soon-to-be released iSlate/ tablet and Google's reported launch of a netbook, coupled with Microsoft, could initiate a technological shift as to which type of device is going to take center stage.

Coming off one of the hottest holiday seasons for hand-held devices yet, Kindle actually hit a milestone on Christmas Day with record-breaking sales of eBooks outselling hard copies for the very first time in publishing history. Yet in the short lifespan of just one year, eReaders might go from "must-haves" to "one-hit-wonders."

According to a NY Times report, on January 6, 2010, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, CEOSteve Ballmer, CEOchief executive will reveal his new slate-type computer during his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The device will be manufactured by Hewlett-Packard and might be ready for delivery as early as mid-year.

Steve JobsSteve JobsThis coupled with Apple's recent announcement about their new iSlate/tablet, as reported in my blog, "The $1000 Apple Tablet Remains A Secret Until The Big Reveal" and Google's proposed netbook noted in "The Secret Wars of Google & Apple (and perhaps Kindle?)" - it looks like 2010 is going to be the 'Battle of the Devices' Smackdown year.

It's not a revelation that the newer hand-helds would be packaging more functionality. After all, how many devices can any one of us 'backpack' around town. The all-in-one approach was bound to emerge as an option for those of us that like to consolidate. But with three new devices hitting the markets at roughly the same time, how will they compete amongst themselves?

According to the NY Times, "if history holds, Apple will issue a product that surprises people in a few ways and that stands out from the crowd." This means that Microsoft and Google will either have to come up with more bells and whistles or very unique multimedia features. If either one is viewed as a "me too" device, Apple will surely come out the winner in the skirmish for early dominance.

Last fall, Gizmodo released some photos the proposed Microsoft tablet/slate prototype device.

Microsoft Tablet prototypeMicrosoft Tablet prototype

And in my "Apple" blog, I posted 20 of the top best design guesses as to what the iSlate/Tablet might look look like, including this MacBook look-alike called "Touch To Believe" by Gizmodo

Apple's Touch To Believes Design for iSlate / TabletApple's Touch To Believes Design for iSlate / Tablet

Google NetbookGoogle NetbookUnlike Apple's secrecy, the Google Netbook's specs already been leaked to the press. It is said to have a 10.1-inch TFT HD-ready multi-touch display and with 64GB SSD, 2GB RAM. Connectivity will include WiFi, 3G, and Bluetooth Ethernet port, USB ports, webcam, 3.5mm audio jack, and multi-card reader. With these specs, the netbook is expected to provide access to Google Map, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Search by Voice, and Google Calendar, which will definitely distinguish it from Apple and Microsoft.

And just in under the wire of the posting this blog, we received Steve Ballmer's keynote address from the CES 2010 Conference. You heard and viewed the 'reveal' of the Microsoft Tablet first here...

Well, maybe we all have to wait a little longer for the actual launch of  their product.

Should be an interesting year. What do you think the public's preference will dictate? One Trick Ponies? Or Multimedia Devices? Read-only? Or more bang for the buck? (Note: Apple's proposed price-tag has been rumored as high as $1000). In either event, as noted by the NY Times, "all eyes will be on Mr. see if Microsoft and H.P. can out-Apple Apple before Apple Apples." In my estimation that goes for Google, Kindle, Sony and Nook too!

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