Why are iPads selling as fast as Apple’s Chinese subcontractors can crank them out? In part, it’s because the iPad has a suddenly-hot product category pretty much to itself. Before scuttlebutt that Apple was working on a tablet started to heat up, no major PC manufacturer seemed to think that consumers wanted a general-purpose, touchscreen-only computing device. Now almost all the big names–and lots of little ones–are furiously playing catch up.
End result: Starting later this year, the iPad will be confronted by an army of other touchscreen machines, from potentially worthy opponents to shameless wannabees.