In fact, there's quite a bit of competition on the way to go up against the iPad - finally! Of course, the real question is will any of them prove to be serious competition. Let's look at the players in the wings.

Google Chrome

Verizon will reportedly offer a HTC Chrome tablet in time for holiday shoppers (the rumor is that it will actually go on sale the day after Thanksgiving).

Chrome? Not Android? This may sound shocking to some. But here's a hint of what's to come. Google is launching a Chrome app store in October. Hmmm... A Chrome app store. What's more the emphasis will be on games. Hmmm... some more! What's more Google will only charge developers a 5% processing fee - chump change compared to the profit sharing model that Apple has with its developers. Hmmm...

Google Android

So, it sounds like Google is betting the farm on its Chrome OS for the soon to be waged tablet wars. Right? Wrong! Android is very much in the game too, apparantly. I can't wait to see how Google competing against itself plays out. In fact, the best bet is that a Toshiba made Android tablet will beat the others to market coming out as soon as next month.

Generating even more interest is the Samsung Galaxy, an Android tablet that will roll out incrementally in various sizes ranging from seven to ten inch screens. Expect the first one out in the Fall sometime (how's that for specific?).

Blackberry "Blackpad"

Research in Motion's recent big upgrade for the Blackberry OS was always with an eye towards using it for its future tablet entry. Here it comes... the Blackpad. The Blackpad is expected to come out in November.

HP Windows 7, I mean WebOS, I mean Windows 7, I mean Oh Whatever Tablet

If you can untangle the rumors enough to figure out what HP is really going to do, then more power to you.

In January at CES 2010, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took the stage showing off a ginned up prototype of a HP touchscreen tablet running Windows. That went by the way side months ago about the time that HP bought Palm (presumably to get hold of its WebOS for smartphones).

Then came rumors of the Hurricane, code name for HP's webOS tablet in the works.

But as recently as a month ago, Slashgear picked up on a product page on HP's site touting a future HP Slate 500 that runs on.. da da dum... Windows 7.

The upshot

I see pain for the brands involved and mass confusion for the customer. We'll see which of these offerings actually make it to store shelves. We'll see how long of a shelf life it is for those that get that far.

My longstanding advice applies here: let someone else be the early adopter. Save your money and let this all shake out for a year, maybe even two.