While it’s still only summer, a bunch of rivals to theApple iPad are already rumored to be under way for the December holidays, including a Google Chrome OS tablet reportedly in the works at HTC, a possible RocketFish-branded gadget from Best Buy, and models from Acer, Samsung and RIM.
Verizon Wireless is aiming a Chrome OS tablet at release on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, according to a report in Download Squad. The Download Squad blogger, Lee Matthews, cited an unnamed source as saying that HTC is building the Google tablet.
Matthews also speculated that Google’s purported Chrome tablet will be a whole lot cheaper than the iPad — if not totally free — with a Verizon data contract, and that it might be based on NVidia’s Tegra 2 platform.
Best Buy CTOTweets Tablet Info
Rumors about other tablets stem straight from Best Buy. Best Buy CTO Robert Stephens has twice taken to Twitter to leak information about a possible tablet to be sold under Best Buy’s own RocketFish brand. Now there’s word from another identified source that Best Buy eyes a “great assortment” of tablets aside from the iPad, which the retail giant already carries.
A couple of weeks back, Stephens tweeted some grainy low res photos of a RocketFish tablet prototype, referring to the subject of the pictures as “proto.” In July, he’d tweeted a few features of the possible device: Android OS 2.2, a front-facing camera, and the probable use of Fring for video chats.
Meanwhile, Best Buy is making tablets “a focus” going into the holidays, said Shawn Score, president of Best Buy Mobile, in a recent interview with Forbes. Score didn’t mention the RocketFish “proto” and he declined to specify any models at all.
Yet while the tablets Best Buy has in mind “won’t be 32” (in number), they also “won’t be one, like we have today.”
Score also said that, to give customers a choice, Best Buy’s “great assortment” of tablets will run on different OS– including Google Android and Chrome, Microsoft Windows 7, Palm’s webOS, RIM BlackBerry, and open source Linux –much like the cell phones Best Buy already sells.
The Forbes blogger, Elizabeth Woyke, also took note that tablets from Samsung, Acer, and RIM are expected to debut in time for the holidays, with another wave of tablets maybe to follow in January.
Best Buy Quiet
Yet if Best Buy does plan to sell iPad rivals, the retailer seems to have largely kept a lid on things until last month, probably because other gadgets were even less ready to go at the time. At a pre-holiday press showcase held in June in New York City, Best Buy spotlighted the iPad, along with iPad accessories like the RocketFish iPad Stand and a lot of iPad cases from Targus.
Best Buy’s 2010 Holiday “Look Book” for the media, published shortly afterward, shows only one tablet: the iPad. However, it also contains a blurb about Barnes & Noble’s Nook eReader, plus an announcement made in April that Best Buy will feature not just the Nook but “BN eReader software on PCs, netbooks, tablets and smartphones.”