2010 Holiday shopping: start of the new tablet era?

Long before we start with our first batches of 2010 Holiday gift guides, and spend countless hours picking the best gear of the year – a trend is appearing in the mobile device world. Tablets are here, and they are going to be big.

The foundations for this new trend were laid when Apple announced the iPad earlier this year. Ever since that announcement, they have been selling them faster than they could produce them. Like a lot of what Apple does, the competition is paying attention. Before the end of the year, stores will be offering tablets from some of the largest brand names in the world.

Yesterday’s big news came from book Goliath Barnes & Noble who unveiled the Nook Color – a $249 Android powered ebook/tablet hybrid. In October, Samsung will start selling the 7″ Tab with 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity.

At Best Buy stores, you’ll soon find a $299 Huawei Android powered tablet and earlier this month, Dell launched their first compact Android tablet – priced at $299 (on a two year AT&T agreement). Even Blackberry joined the fun with the announcement of their PlayBook tablet.

While none of these tablets will probably come close to chipping away at the massive success of the Apple iPad, they do show that tablets are here to stay – and that is one development I’m really excited about.

In recent years, we already saw our luggage load decrease with the arrival of the netbook, and now we can look forward to even more travel friendly innovations with the tablet. But the best part is that we’ll have choice – we’ll be able to pick devices with a 5″ screen, or a larger 10″ device. Apple fans can stick to iOS and Android users will have a whole assortment of choices. Even corporate users who cling to their Blackberry will find something soothing.

While manufacturers battle each other, those of us in need of something portable that travels well,may have already won.

[Image credit: Getty]