The tablet wars are beginning. While Apple is hard at work on its iPad 3, two meaningful competitors – Google with ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ and Microsoft with Windows 8 – are about to truly get in the game.
At Salesforce.com’s annual shindig Dreamforce yesterday, Google’s Eric Schmidt revealed that Ice Cream Sandwich will be coming out in the October/November time frame.
This is really significant because Ice Cream Sandwich (who dreams up these names?) is the next generation of the Android operating system that will combine tablets and smartphones and could emerge as a meaningful challenger to Apple’s powerful iOS ecosystem.
He said: “We have a new operating system, internally known as Ice Cream Sandwich for some reason, which is being released in October/November, which everyone’s really excited about.”
It has also emerged that the senior Microsoft executive driving the creation of Windows 8 – Steve Sinofsky – is expected to next week reveal Windows 8 running on a number of premium tablet computers.
This is crucial for Microsoft because we are entering what many term the post-PC world and how its new operating system translates to new form factors – aka ‘objects of desire’ for workers and consumers alike – such as tablet computers, and the new ultrabooks will be key as desktops and heavy notebooks are not where it’s at.
Sinofsky will unveil the new OS running on slimmer, lighter hardware at Microsoft’s annual developers conference next week.
Apple, meanwhile, is hard at work on the iPad 3 and has stolen a march on both Apple and Microsoft. Yesterday, it emerged that the battery packs for the iPad 3 will be slimmer, lighter and longer-lasting than the iPad 2 edition.
Patents war drags on
It has also emerged that HTC, another manufacturer that sits in both the Microsoft and Google OS camps, has bought nine patents off Google to pursue new infringement claims against Apple.
Four of the patents originated with Motorola, three with Palm and three from Openwave Systems.
The patents will enable HTC to fend off patent claims by Apple alleging phones that run Google’s Android OS copy the iPhone.
Asian manufacturer Samsung has already fallen victim to Apple’s pursuit with a judge in the Netherlands a fortnight ago banning Samsung Galaxy smartphones in most European countries.
An appeal from Samsung is expected to be heard tomorrow.
The patents mania has so far centred on smartphone devices, but when it spills into the tablet arena, things will get very interesting.