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Orange plans iPad competitor, but Apple needn't worry says iSuppli

Orange has channeled some of its iPhone profits into creating products designed to compete with the iPad, but Apple needn’t worry as analysts expect it will dominate the tablet market all the way to 2012.

A French report in Les Echos tells us Orange is preparing to introduce its own tablet device at a price under half that charged by Apple for the iPad.

This will be one of three tablets (including the iPad) that Orange hopes to introduce by Christmas this year, the report informs. It will be made by an unnamed Asian manufacturer. It will be 3G-enabled and Google Android operating system-based.

iSuppli doesn’t see this or any other comptition offering significant threats to Apple until 2012. They believe iPad will account for an overwhelming 74.1% of global tablet shipments in 2010, with the remaining 25.9% consisting of a mix of older PC-type tablet products and alternative tablet devices.

Even in 2011, Apple will hold 70.4 percent of the market, and in 2012 this will slip only slightly to 61.7 percent, the analysts believe.

“Although the iPad has been on the market for only a few months, powerful interests throughout the technology business are devoting enormous resources to challenge and topple Apple’s domination in this fast-growing marketplace,” said Rhoda Alexander, director of monitor research at iSuppli.

“However, if recent history is any lesson, it will take some time for these companies to get their products to market, longer for them to offer necessary software support and infrastructure, and an even lengthier period to begin to rival the overall user experience Apple is able to deliver.”

Strongest competition is likely to come from HP and its webOS devices, iSuppli predicts, adding that Google’s Chrome is unlikely to offer significant challenge yet.

Competitors also face the challenge of offering as attractive and enticing a package as that available from Apple. “Competitors face some serious obstacles in their efforts to match the total iPad package, most notably competing with the growing suite of iPad-specific applications,” Alexander said.

As well as the apps, the diversification of competing devices offers fresh challenges.

“Apple’s interface and many of its applications are geared to the pixels per inch (ppi) and screen configuration of the iPad, optimizing their appearance on that device. Developers designing applications to work across the broader base of new offerings from the various competitors are facing a mix of pixel densities, screen sizes, and touch technologies.”

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