Orange and AT&T have joined the growing chorus of supporters for tablet devices, alongside a number of vendors who have been drawn to the market by the success of Apple’s iPad. According to French newspaper Les Echos, Orange is planning to launch three devices before the end of 2010, one of which will be an Android device carrying its own branding and targeted at the the mass-market – it could cost as little as EUR100 for customers taking a two-year service contract. It is also likely to offer the iPad for more well-heeled customers, building on its existing relationship with Apple, and one other so-far unconfirmed product. Bloomberg notes that Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility, has said that "there’s going to be a huge number of tablets, different sizes, different functions," although the company’s specific device plans were not revealed.
A number of vendors are either confirmed or rumoured to be working on tablet devices, including Acer, Dell, HP, LG Electronics, Motorola, Research In Motion and Samsung. Taiwanese publication DigiTimes reports that JT Wang, chairman of Acer, believes that the market share of Apple’s iPad will shrink to 20-30 percent when the market “stabilises”, down from “close to 100 percent” now, with Android-powered products likely to be a driver; Microsoft’s Windows 7 is also set to play a role in this market. In contrast, research firm iSuppli said that even after competing products reach the market, Apple will still have more than a 60 percent market share in the tablet market in 2012, aided by its integration of hardware, software, operating system and applications.
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