Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tablets coming your Way in this 2011

Tablets 2011The iPad has dominated the market - over 12 million sold so far - and Apple has clearly set the tone in terms of design but several of the newer Android and Windows 7 tablets announced at CES contain features not found on the iPad, such as dual cameras, higher screen resolution and slide-out keyboards.

Apple's iPad faces some serious competition this year, with scores of Android and Windows tablets about to hit the market that offer several features the iPad lacks.

The much-rumoured iPad 2 is expected to rectify some of these shortfalls. Other tablets to expect in 2011 are as follow:

Motorola Xoom

A 10.1-inch tablet based on the latest "Honeycomb" iteration (version 3.0) of Google's Android platform. Available in the first half of this year, the Xoom is around the same size as Apple's iPad but contains a 5-megapixel camera with 720p video recording, a 2-megapixel webcam, HDMI output for connecting to a big-screen TV, a 1GHz processor and a 1280x800 screen resolution. The Honeycomb version of Android offers new features such as multi-tasking and tabbed browsing. Support for Adobe Flash is also included.

Samsung TX100

The biggest gripe of iPad users is the difficulty in typing on the on-screen keyboard and Samsung has taken note - its TX100 offers a slide-out full QWERTY keyboard. Like the Xoom it has a 10.1-inch screen but offers a higher 1366 x 768 resolution. It runs the regular version of Windows 7, is 0.78 inches thick and contains either 32GB or 64GB of storage. Separately, a Wi-Fi-only version of the already launched Galaxy Tab was unveiled at CES.

Asus Eee Pad Slider and Transformer

Two very similar tablets except the Slider has a slide-out keyboard while the Transformer has a clip-on keyboard similar to the iPad accessory. They run Android 3.0, have 10.1-inch screens and feature the Nvidia Tegra 2 chip. There are front- and rear- facing cameras offering 1.2-megapixel and 5-megapixel resolutions respectively. Priced between $US499 to $US799

Asus Slate

Another Windows 7 tablet, the slate has a large 12.1-inch screen, 64GB of built-in storage, 1280x800 screen resolution and a powerful Intel i5 processor. It will sell for $US999 to $US1099.

Panasonic Viera Tablet

This one is a little different from most tablets in that it is not designed to be a portable computer but rather a companion to Panasonic's new Viera Connect TVs. It lets users access Panasonic's TV apps and stream content wirelessly from their TV set. Panasonic says it will serve as a second screen in the living room that lets people browse content related to what they're watching on TV (e.g. sports scores or tweets). The Viera Tablet can also be used as a remote control and content can be transferred seamlessly between the tablet and the TV.

Dell Streak 7

Dell's 5-inch Streak wasn't met with rave reviews due to it launching with the older Android version 1.6 and fears a 5-inch screen was too small for a tablet when many newer smartphones were only a fraction smaller. The Streak 5-inch has since been updated to Android 2.2 and at CES Dell launched a new version, the Dell Streak 7, with a bigger 7-inch screen and new bells and whistles such as an Nvidia Tegra dual-core processor and the sturdy Corning Gorilla Glass. The tablet, also running Android 2.2, runs on 4G networks and there are no plans yet to launch it in Australia.

Asus MeMo

Another smaller 7-inch tablet but this one runs Android 3.0. Priced at $US499 to $US699 with a June launch date, it has dual cameras and can play HD video.

Lenovo IdeaPad U1

Shown at last year's CES, the U1 is now closer to being ready for market. It contains a unique design in that it is essentially laptop with a detachable 11.6-inch screen that then becomes a tablet with a more touch-friendly interface. Lenovo says the Android tablet will cost around $US1000 and launch in June/July.

Toshiba Tablet

Launching in the first-half of this year, Toshiba's attempt to take on the iPad features a 10-1-inch screen, runs Android 3.0 and offers built-in Wi-Fi but no 3G support. Starting at $US499, it has front- and rear-facing cameras, access to an application store and weighs 0.8kg.

LG tablet and glasses-free portable 3D TV

LG announced an 8.9-inch tablet running Android 3.0 and using an Nvidia dual-core processor. It has yet to show off images of the device. It also unveiled a mobile DTV unit that supports 3D without the need for glasses. The unique device has a touchscreen and a 480x800 screen resolution.

Sharp Galapagos

Already launched in Japan, the Galapagos will hit the US in the second half of this year but it is not clear if it will reach Australia. There will be two models - 5.5-inch and 10.8-inch - and both will connect to the Galapagos e-book store.

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