Airbeds come in many forms. Everyone is familiar with the old camping matt and who hasn't floated around in the water on an air mattress. It was not a huge leap to seal the air mattress within a padded shell that made it look like a conventional mattress. Select comfort, along with others, connected the air mattress to small air pumps to allow adjustment of the air bladder. Although airbeds had sold fairly well as temporary beds, Select comfort went after the larger market of daily use beds. The marketing didn't go so well until they followed Tempur–Pedic®'s lead and sold directly to the customer through TV and print offers and stopped mentioning that this was an airbed. Instead, everything is marketed as a Sleep Number Bed with no talk of air. Today's airbeds can have adjustments for different zones, such as lumbar, to individualize comfort.
In theory, adjustable airbeds can sound good and some people do find them to be satisfactory. On the pro side, this adjustability and the fact that the components are removable for repair or replacement, stand out. The negative side to both air and water is that trying to contain air or liquid inevitably leads to problems and it seems that these usually occur in the middle of the night, not at 10 o'clock in the morning! Cost is also an issue with airbeds, most demanding top dollar.