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Not all of them will fit in the stocking but that won’t stop this Christmas from being a device-lover’s dream as competition between the world’s largest technology manufacturers heats up, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Samsung is expected to announce shortly that it will offer its seven-inch tablet, the Galaxy Tab, to Australia’s Telstra customers on a plan at a vast reduction on the $1000 it retails at. The Korean manufacturer expects more than 60,000 of its devices, which also act as telephones, to sell here by the end of January, industry sources say.

It may not deliver a knockout blow to Apple’s iPad, but it signals a wave of tablets and devices alternative to Apple are on their way in the last quarter of the year.

Some or perhaps even all of the following – Blackberry’s Torch, Toshiba’s Libretto, the Dell Streak and Nokia’s N8, plus a slew of e-readers – will be here in time for Christmas.

The number of tablet-style devices is set to rocket and accelerate the change in media consumption, forcing the media to go where the audience is rather than bring the audience to them, the newspaper said.

Sales figures for iPads in Australia are about as hard to come by as iPhone 4s, but current guesstimates are that anywhere between 60,000 and 150,000 have been sold.

Suffice to say all these devices will in some way claim to be different and better than their competitors. It will be terabytes at 10 paces as they try to differentiate themselves above the noise of bragging about specs.

The role these devices will play in our lives has yet to be determined, according to the paper. “Are they for leisure, or work, or can they be for both, like Dell’s Inspiron Duo, a “dual personality” tablet the company gave a sneak preview of this week?”

Early research on iPad use indicates it is staying at home as yet another appendage to our growing array of media in the house. That leaves the feature of portability wide open to be claimed by rival devices.

The presence of so many devices will inevitably spark a price war. Unlike with its iPhone, Apple is not doing any deals with carriers for the iPad, which means in all likelihood it will remain one of the more expensive tablets on the market. This has laid it open to attack by competitors, even by the one-trick ponies, e-readers. Amazon has begun advertising its Kindle in the US with cracks at the iPad’s inability to deal with sun glare, which is not a problem for the Kindle’s matt screen. That the Kindle is about a quarter of the cost of the iPad is also a feature of the ads.

And there will be a battle between the two proprietary operating systems: Apple’s IOS and Google’s Android, which powers many of the forthcoming devices.

While it may be overstating it to call the latter devices ”iPad killers”, it is worth remembering that Google is now activating more than 200,000 Android-powered handsets a day and, according to its chief executive, Eric Schmidt, they are outselling Apple’s iPhones.

Who knows which device will end up being the king of the smartphones, but one thing is certain: Apple will not be the only brand in the stocking this Christmas. – Source: Sydney Morning Herald

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