An article I saw last night discusses how major computer manufacturers are all chasing the iPad with similar tablet devices of their own. You can read the article for the interesting details. However, I wanted to quickly comment on the importance of this trend.
The iPad is truly a new class of hardware that has changed the media landscape. It's a highly portable device optimized for obtaining and displaying robust media. The screen is big enough and sharp enough to deliver a satisfying video experience, serve as an eBook and display the news, weather and sports. It is connected, so you can have a constant stream of new content. It is literally a window through which you can look at the entire world, 24-7.
Once there are a number of viable competitors, prices will come down. India already says it can make a competitive device for as little as $10.00. This means that the majority of consumers will eventually have the capability to grab whatever they feel like seeing on a real-time basis. And each device will know who is using it and where they are, and thus be able to deliver customized advertising content. Just take one minute to think about the commercial implications of that. It is absolutely huge.
The iPad and its eventual competitors don't replace theaters or flat-screen TV's, but mobile media will quickly become an equally powerful (and eventually, the most powerful) segment of the media landscape. If you are a content producer and you want to be ahead of the curve, start thinking about mobile media today. That's the direction the money will flow for several years to come, and the trend has already started.