Technologizer’s Harry McCracken Makes Time for TIME

Technologizer founder Harry McCracken will be spending some time with TIME, penning a weekly column for and contributing to its Techland blog.

His column will appear every Tuesday, and his debut installment focused on potential rivals to Apple’s iPad tablet (or the lack thereof). Highlights:

A few weeks ago, I rounded up 32 current, future, and rumored iPad alternatives. Still more have surfaced since then. A few of the upcoming contenders are intriguing, like Cisco’s Cius, a mobile-videoconferencing slab meant for worker bees. More, however, look less like iPad killers and more like wannabes that aren’t the least bit magical or revolutionary. They’re placeholders until more sophisticated counterparts to Apple’s tablet are ready.

For any one company, coming up with even a single formidable iPad challenger will be tough. And time is short: If Apple follows its typical development schedule, Jobs will stride onto a stage with a second-generation tablet no later than the spring of 2011. (One rumor — which strikes me as unlikely, though not unthinkable — says there could even be a camera-equipped iPad for this holiday season.) It’ll be galling for every other manufacturer — and utterly predictable — if the iPad’s first serious competitor turns out to be another iPad.