After HP introduced the "touchpad" yesterday, a new big player has entered the tablet market. But which system will make the race? Five main situations are emerging: Microsoft with Windows 7 (Intel) tablets, Apple with the iPad (where the iPad 2 is soon to be launched), Google with Android 3.0 "Honeycomb", Intel/Nokia with MeeGo and now HP with WebOS.
The approaches are clearly different: Apple and HP rather rely on closed systems, Android and Meego have open source roots and Microsoft has a closed operating system in the race with Windows, but a variety of applications can be used on it - as long as the ARM version planned for Windows 8 is not released.
But which tablet platform will win the race? All platforms are supported by companies that have the financial resources to drive a platform forward in the long term. But what users ultimately choose depends on other factors - including the "coolness" that Apple seems to possess. It also depends, of course, on the prices charged by the respective manufacturers - at the moment, they are orienting themselves towards Apple, but with more market participants, prices will hopefully also move downwards.
Which tablet platform will win the race? We will probably know by the end of 2011.