The forthcoming battle among competing tablets could very well boil down to one word: Flash.

After Steve Jobs made it clear that the iPad doesn't need to support Adobe Flash to become the "game-changer," competitors looking to knock Apple off of its tablet perch are now using "Flash" as the buzzword to foreshadow the iPad killer. And Hewlett-Packard is making it clear to everyone that their slate device is superior to the iPad because it supports Flash. As posted on HP's "Voodoo" blog this week:

A big bonus for the slate product is that, being based off Windows 7, it offers full Adobe support.
While some expect April 3rd, the release date of the iPad, to represent the culmination of the tablet computer hype of the last six months, the reality, of course, is that the era of the tablet has just begun. Shortly after the iPad is rolled out, one competitor after the next will take a swipe at Apple with their own tablet.

As the tablet PC market takes shape, the first - and biggest - battles will clearly be waged over Flash support. It's the haves vs. the have-nots. As the biggest have-not of them all, Apple will be a big target of competitors' ad campaigns. Yet, it doesn't necessarily appear at this time that the general public is so enamored of Flash that the masses will largely shun the iPad in favor of another tablet PC that serves up Flash support. Naturally, however, that's what companies like HP are hoping for to some extent. And its a safe bet that their marketing campaigns will stress this in the coming months.

Image via HP