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Why can't anyone take on the iPad?

The iPad 2

The latest entry in the tablet wars is HP's TouchPad. It launched in June but has already received a permanent $100 markdown. Now there are reports that mega retailer Best Buy is seeing incredibly weak sales and wants to return the units to HP. This comes as supposed contenders like Motorola's Xoom and Research In Motion's PlayBook have struggled to really find an audience.

How thorough is Apple's domination? Baird Equity Research just released a survey about tablet ownership. The study found that, for one thing, people are not ready to give up their computers for tablets. Just 6 percent said they could do without a PC today. Eighty-three percent said they could never imagine being without one at any point in the future.

Jayson Noland from Baird Equity Research says that when it comes to what tablets people want, it's not even close. "Ninety-five percent of the sample said that the iPad was of most interest followed by 10 percent for the HP TouchPad, 8 percent Samsung, 9 percent Motorola Xoom and then it falls off from there," he said. "Really, it's Apple iPad followed by lots of choices that are way off of where Apple is today."

Joshua Topolsky is editor-in-chief of TheVerge.com and a tech columnist for The Washington Post. He says, "Consumers right now don't want tablets. They want an iPad. What Apple has been masterful in doing is creating the idea that you're not buying computer hardware, you're buying a doorway to a whole new world. People want to walk through that doorway, they're really excited about that doorway. They might not know what that means, but they're thrilled about this new technology, whereas in many ways Android tablets have been sold the same way PCs have been sold, which is 'Look how fast we are, we do more than the other guy.'"

Android's app store isn't as well-stocked as Apple's, which has a snowballing effect. Developers want to build for popular platforms, that makes the platforms more popular, and that makes yet more developers want to build for them. That sets up Apple pretty well in the long term because of how much would have to change for anything other than Apple to compete.

Also in this program, according to a recent study, most people would happily give up information on where they were in order to find out about sales at nearby shops and coupons they could use. Privacy is nice but apparently a good sale can't be beat.

About the author

John Moe is the host of Marketplace Tech Report, where he provides an insightful overview of the latest tech news.

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