I've been going to the Consumer Electronics Show for many years and for a long time, people have promised a future of tablet computers. They've shown them off at their CES booth, some have even offered them for sale but until Apple hit the streets with the iPad, it was all an empty promise.
Now they are making promises again.
Maybe the iPad is making room for others to enter the market. All the big names have either jumped into the mix or hinted that a tablet is in the works.
So what's changed?
Apple used its cool cache and software genius to create a need where few people thought it existed. It super sized its iPod Touch into a mainstream sensation. Some feel it's on it's own little mountain, others feel there is room at the top.
So who will challenge Apple? By the looks of the show floor, many will try.
BlackBerry's PlayBook is a good-looking product. Its seven-inch screen includes two cameras, HD video and a thin sleek approach. Dell and Samsung are playing with small laptops that convert into tablets, clever but not true tablets in my book. Hewlett-Packard held back its tablet from the show and Sony says it's working on it. There are dozens more that I have yet to see.
Competition brings innovation and lowers the price.
The dream is revealed at CES. Look for the reality coming to an electronics store near you.