Last year was supposed to be the year manufacturers would wow consumers with offerings of all sorts of tablet computers. Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, took the stage in January at the International Consumer Electronics Show, the industry’s premier trade show, and displayed three devices that he said would be on sale in the months ahead. Dozens of smaller companies laid out their own tablet plans at the show.
But few of these promises came to fruition; none of Microsoft’s tablets ever showed up in stores.
Instead, in April, Apple’s iPad came out. And the year became the Year of the iPad.
This year, manufacturers are promising it will be different, saying that after the success of the iPad, they have learned a lot about what consumers want in a tablet.