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Yukyung marshals army of IC vendors for Viliv tablet

Posted: 28 Mar 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:tablet PC? iPad? Viliv? SanDisk?

The history of the tablet PC started in the late 1980s with the introduction of computer screens that were guided by pens. Back then, the prevailing thought was that the so-called slate PCs would usher in the age of the keyboardless computer.

Nearly 20 years later, many still considered tablet PCs a market afterthought. Even with the introduction of improved touchscreen technology, tablets were a niche product that appealed primarily to gadget geeks.

That all changed, of course, on Jan. 27, 2010, the day Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPad. Despite the skeptics, including myself, Apple's device would not only reverse the tablet platform's fortunes but would change the course of the electronics industry.

An instant success with consumerswith its 10-inch touchscreen and ability to let users read e-books, browse the Web, watch movies and play gamesthe thin, all-in-one device set the standard against which not only all tablets but all mobile products would be measured.

The initial success of the iPad forced competitors to enter this "new" market. Most competing offerings launched with little of the fanfare that accompanied Apple's tablet, and few (so far) have achieved anything close to the iPad's success.

Viliv X70 EX 3G (Click on image to view tear down)

Competitors quickly learned it would require innovation to make gains in this burgeoning industry. Samsung established itself as a true competitor to Apple by introducing the Galaxy Tab, which incorporated Google's Android OS and a number of features not found in the iPad .

By the end of 2010, tablet vendors had sold nearly 20 million units worldwide. Many analysts believe total shipments will nearly triple this year. The battle for this new market will lead to numerous technical advancements, as manufacturers seek to outdo one another and thereby draw consumers' attention.

January's Consumer Electronics Show demonstrated that primary trend this year will be the continued exponential growth of the tablet industry. Companies that revealed new tablets at the show included Cisco, Motorola and Research in Motion. Meanwhile, expect Apple and Samsung to field variations on their existing lines in 2011.

The tablet market isn't contained to the usual suspects of consumer electronics manufacturers. As with any leading-edge product, opportunity exists for all sorts of players to enter the field.

Consider, South Korea's Yukyung Technologies, whose Viliv X70 EX 3G is a good example of a tablet that preceded the iPad.

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