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The market for tablets has changed dramatically over the past two years. What was once a race between a few contenders, held quietly behind the media attention of computers, is now a widely publicised and critical fight for dominance with varied challengers. The market was originally dominated, as most of the IT market was, by Windows. This all changed in 2010 when Apple revolutionised the way we think about tablets.

There are now numerous tablets available with three major operating systems: Windows 8 (to be released in 2012), iOS, and Android. This article will consider the future of tablets and which OS is best.

Apple iOS

Apple made radical changes to the world of tablets through the introduction of the iPhone and the iPad. The way that we now enjoy media is largely different than it was before the introduction of these devices. The software behind these tablets is iOS and whilst it is limiting, it is everywhere. iOS has the drawback that it ties users into iTunes. These devices are incompatible with Flash and any media purchase made through Apple is limited to use in iTunes only. The iPad is versatile and offers huge variety through the App store but whilst this opens opportunities it is very limited in some senses and allows you to do only what Apple allows you to do.

Microsoft Windows 8

Windows 7 offered a fairly easy to access interface but Microsoft has started the next stage of the tablet renaissance through the announcement of their latest OS due for release in 2012. Windows is moving toward a single platform which works on all devices. The new OS runs on an ARM processor and can thus be installed on practically every smartphone and tablet device. The best part of this is that it runs exactly the same on a laptop, desktop, or a tablet. Whilst Apple have opted for two very distinct operating systems for tablets and laptops, Windows have thrown caution to the wind with a move to toward complete mobility. The new interface is very user friendly and access to cloud computing enables Microsoft to change the way we access information once again. A Windows 8 download could soon enable seamless connectivity between computers, clouds and tablets, in a way that Apple’s separate operating systems cannot replicate.

Google Android

Android offers a high quality interface, which is good but not yet perfect. It is a solid alternative to the more expensive iPad for many customers and their grasp on the smartphone industry is increasing. Working in accordance with Samsung in many cases has allowed the Android interface to reach a larger and larger audience.

Other interfaces

Apple, Microsoft and Google undoubtedly have the dominance in this market at present and they will remain at the top for some time. There are other contenders however. The market is becoming far more fluid and will offer a varied array of opportunities in the coming months and years. This is a battle in its earliest stages and the developments of tablets and operating systems alike is one to follow intently.