Apple's iPad could face some serious competition as 2010 unfolds, if an ARM executive's predictions hold true. Roy Chen, ARM's worldwide mobile computing ODM manager, expects over 50 tablets to launch worldwide in 2010. The pending swarm of slate computers has even prompted ARM to secure more space at this year's Computex conference, where it will show off tablets along with e-readers, netbooks, and other hardware.

Although he wouldn't offer names, Chen said many upcoming tablets would appear in China, but companies everywhere are preparing to launch slate devices this year, including the top 10 telecom network operators. At this point, we know Apple, HP, and Dell plan to ship devices in the US. Chen noted that mobile carriers would unleash the first wave of tablets in the second quarter, with even more bursting through the floodgates in the third.

Apple's iPad will go on sale April 3, while HP and Dell have yet to define release dates for their products.