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How to beat the iPadWe invited hardware manufacturers to show off their best slates, Netbooks, and tablets, giving users the chance to come check out the products first-hand and weigh in on the main debate question: can anything top the iPad?
[Music] >> Apple's iPad. If you believe the hype, this thing started the battle and won it immediately. The battle between slates, tablets, netbooks and notebooks. But here at CNET Showcase Live an awful lot of users arrived to say, "We're not so sure it's that black and whiten >> IPad for me has been kind of a lap top replacement, but not quite because of some of its limitations. >> I still haven't drank the Kool-Aid. I've heard too much about the limitations and I really want something that does more than that. >> I would love to see something coming from someone other than Apple. >> So we pulled together a panel of CNET editors, and brought in half a dozen manufacturers to show how they'll answer iPad and tablets with different visions of device, interface and usage. And the jury's out on all of them. >> Where do tablets end? Where do netbooks begin? Are there products that are kind of hybrids between the two? I think we find that the line between all these product categories, even one's a netbook and one's a regular laptop, it's really a lot fuzzier and a lot grayer than people think. >> But the reason so many of us are even scratching our heads over this is because Apple has given us more than three million reasons to do so. Not all of them rational. >> First of all, they produce beautiful hardware, their operating system is designed for the touch interface. It's not, you know, something on top of another operating system. And their advertising and marketing is top notch. They know how to reach beyond our logical filters. You can do, a lot of what you can do on an iPad in a device that costs half as much. >> Major netbook makers like Asus and Toshiba continue to lean hard on low cost and concepts like "content creation" and "doing real work" to put the iPad and other tablets in their place. >> You're actually looking at a true computer. If you actually want to get content creation work done, Microsoft Office, Excel or that type of work, a netbook is the way to go. >> Laptops are core to the experience. It's, you know, your "do everything" device. The laptops aren't going to go away any time soon. >> At the same time, Toshiba showed its much talked about libretto W100, which shows they agree, netbooks aren't the only answer. >> Some like the libretto, introduce an entirely new ultra mobile form factor where it actually folds up, just like a laptop but has that kind of similar functionality to what the slates are delivering. >> We've actually packed in six different keyboards, not just one here. Keyboards are very central to the touch experience. >> But research from Morgan Stanley suggests that the iPad alone will eclipse even the category of netbooks to become the hottest selling mobile product of all time. And Forester Research, largely echoes that saying tablets in general will be outselling netbooks by 2012. But how much are these rosey predictions driven by the breathlessness that seems to surround most things Apple. >> The big appeal of the iPad is still mostly novelty and I think that in a way that you buy it, not because you need it but because it's an exciting, interesting device to play around with, to bring home, to show off. >> Perhaps the only thing that all makers and all users fully agree on is that at any time, everywhere, digital lifestyle is here to stay. >> It used to be years ago, portability was being on a train, being on a plane. Let me tell you what. Portability now is on the couch, in the kitchen, in addition to being on the train, but also at the cafe. It's all about being connected. >> Now back in the early MP3 days, Apple ran away with the music market. The iPod really never had any competition. This ain't then. Consumers are far more discerning, they've seen more technology come and go and they're more sophisticated about their needs and the exact right device to meet them. This battle has just begun and the innovation along with it. I'm Brian Cooley. Thanks for joining us.