Over 50 ARM-based tablets launching this year

While the verdict is still out with regard to consumer appetites for a 3rd portable computing device, PC makers are betting the farm on consumer interest in tablets that fill the gap between small-screened smartphones and bulky (by comparison) netbooks/laptops. We've already seen an uptick in tablet devices on display at the big CES and CeBIT trade shows, now tablet and MID device vendors look ready to blow out Computex when it kicks off on June 1st in Taipei. According to Roy Chen, ARM's ODM manager for worldwide mobile computing, more than 50 ARM-based tablet PCs will launch in 2010 starting in Q2 with "a lot more" landing in the third quarter -- a date that just happens to line up with the most optimistic Chrome OS launch schedule. ARM's seeing so much interest that it had to rent additional floor space to show off the devices. Chen said that many of the tablets are slated for China although all of the world's top 10 carriers have signed up as well. ARM was showing off two Android based tablets at the press event, including the 7-inch Compal device (pictured above) we gave a whirl at CES. Let's just hope that tablet makers have plans for some compelling content and service hook-ups with a focus on the user experience -- 50 near-identical slabs of touchscreen computing won't generate much enthusiasm around here.