Tech Watch: Array Of Tablets Challenge iPad For Dominance

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A fair goer tries out the textunes eBook reader app on an Apple iPad at the Leipzig Book Fair on March 15, 2012 on the fairgrounds in Leipzig, eastern Germany. (Robert Michael/AFP/Getty Images)

A fair goer tries out the textunes eBook reader app on an Apple iPad at the Leipzig Book Fair on March 15, 2012 on the fairgrounds in Leipzig, eastern Germany. (Robert Michael/AFP/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – The iPad is still synonymous with the concept of a tablet, but Apple’s tablets have now slipped below 50% of all tablets sold. So what’s taken their place? An array of tablets that are generally smaller, cheaper but still basically equivalent to an iPad.

The first volley came with Amazon’s Kindle Fire, now evolved into the Fire HD model. Google’s Nexus 7 has also been strong. And while Samsung has no one model that grabs all the the headlines, its array of Galaxy tablets now command 15% of the global market.

Two lessons arise from this for the tablet shopper:

1.) Good enough is good enough. The tablet is typically the third device for most people, after their laptop and smartphone. That may mean you can be perfectly satisfied with a sub-$200 tablet as many tasks will be spread to other devices that are either bigger, more powerful, more portable, etc.

2.) Be aware of the mobile big trend in 2013: Device blur. The lines between smartphone, tablet and laptop is getting real messy. Smartphones come as large as 6.1 inches, tablets can be had as small as 7 inches and laptops are being replaced by tablet/keyboard combos. So get out of the old silos and just think of what your actual use cases are. Pick the top three things you do with a mobile device and try to nail all three with just 2 devices.

CNET’s Tablet center has the all the tablets you need to consider, ranked by review score as well as user reviews.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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