Let’s Face It, There’s Only Two Tablets on the Market: The iPad and the iPad 2 [Updated]

I want other tablets to succeed.

When I heard about the PlayBook, I was excited. I had a BlackBerry at the time and was looking forward to what RIM could offer me. The specs sounded good and the demo teasers were impressive. I didn’t expect it, or any other tablet coming to market, to “kill” the iPad, but I was rooting for a legitimate alternative.

It launched. I tested it. I didn’t buy it. I don’t have that BlackBerry anymore, either.

The PlayBook was a flop, like the Android devices before it and the webOS device after it. There’s a few RIM faithfuls who liked the PlayBook. After all, a few hundred thousand people did buy it. And some people bought the Xoom, and the Galaxy Tab, and a couple even picked up the HP TouchPad.

But when you boil the tablet market down, it’s a single-device market: The iPad.

Even today, the first iPad trumps the majority of brand new tablets launching today. The second iPad blows them away. And at this rate, the third iPad—rumoured to launch at the start of 2012—will continue the trend.

Really, it shouldn’t be surprising. Apple takes a lot of flack for overpriced “luxury” laptops and “distorting” consumers into its “walled gardens.” But there aren’t any viable arguments left for iPad haters. The price is highly competitive, the specs are solid, the hardware is top-notch, and the OS is still the best.

But don’t believe me; listen to the consumers. A new survey conducted by Robert Baird found that 95%—that’s 19 out of 20 potential tablet purchasers—were considering the iPad.

Second place, behind 95%? The HP TouchPad, at 10%. Which is dead now.

Third place—or second, counting tablets actually alive—was the Motorola Xoom, in the single digits. Just 4% of consumers wwould consider the PlayBook. And the number that would actually buy? Less, I’m betting.

This is far more than a first-mover advantage for Apple. Consider that the iOS runs simiarly on the iPhone, which came out in 2007, several years after the first BlackBerry. At the time, RIM was dominating. The iPhone changed that. Fast.

Launching the iPad before any competitors launched a tablet—and I doubt very many were even planning to—definitely gave Apple a head start, but by now, its stranglehold should be less, assuming competing devices were equal. After all, Google’s Android platform has claimed a significant stake in the smartphone market. Where’s its tablet power?

So let’s face it. Apple lover or hater, the tablet space is a one-device market for the foreseeable future. R.I.P, TouchPad. The walking corpses that are today’s Android and BlackBerry tablets may soon realize their fate and join you.

UPDATE: There is now a link to Robert’s study.