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iPad facing a world of competitors

April 8, 2010

As the media tries to regain its collective breath, after hyperventilating over the iPad and its ability to save the periodical business, more level-headed sites such as PCWorld.com and Engadget.com have been keeping up with the upcoming onslaught of tablet/tablet-like devices.

Those who are showing off their iPad to friends and strangers may not feel so good about having plopped down $500 – $830 for Mr. Jobs’ latest gadget.  Many have pointed out the flaws in the iPad–no multitasking, no webcam, no USB port, no SD slot, no Flash, controlled content–and other manufactures have developed products to fill in these gaps.  A longer list can be found here, but here are a few from their list that I would consider promising.

Oh, and don’t forget, Kindle Apps are available now, or being developed, for most, if not all, these operating systems.

HP Slate

HP Slate

This and the Microsoft Courier appear to be the leading threats to the iPad (although the Notion looks very interesting).  Engadget.com got hold of an internal comparison presentation slide (comparing the Slate to the iPad). A few details:

Price:$549-$599.

Size: 1.49lbs; 0.57 in thick

OS: Windows 7

Specs: 8.9-inch (1024-by-600-pixel) display, HDMI-output, 32- or 64GB storage, an integrated SDXC card reader and single USB 2.0 port, a SIM card slot, and a 3-megapixel forward-facing camera.  1.6GHz Z530 Atom processor coupled with 1GB RAM, and 802.11b/g (but not wireless-N) Wi-Fi.

Due: June 2010

Microsoft Courier

Microsoft Courier

Folding dual-screen device that is more digital journal/eReader than multimedia tablet.

Rumored specs…

Price: Unknown

Size and weight: About 5 by 7 by less than 1 inch thick when closed; weight will be a little over 1 pound

OS: Based on the Windows CE 6 kernel (same as Windows Phone 7 smartphones and the Zune HD)

Key specs: Twin multitouch screens capable of pen input, nVidia Tegra 2 processors

Other features: Pen-centric interface with handwriting recognition

Due: Second half of 2010

Notion Ink Adam

Notion Ink Adam

The Adam uses a special multitouch-enabled 10.1-inch transflective screen from Pixel Qi that switches between sunlight-friendly e-paper and color LCD modes. It also has a 3.2-megapixel, 180-degree-swivel camera; a high-def-video-capable Tegra 2 processor; an HDMI port; 3G; and GPS. It has been previewed running Android 2.1. A cheaper (and thinner) standard screen version will also be available this summer when the Adam launches.

OS: Android 2.x (Ubuntu Linux and Chrome OS versions are expected, too)

Key specs: 10.1-inch PixelQi transflective display with dual modes (e-ink and color LCD) and multitouch (1024 by 600 pixels), nVidia Tegra 2 graphics and dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, 16GB or 32GB solid-state drive, Wi-Fi, 3G

Other features: 3.2-megapixel, 180-degree-swivel camera; reverse-side trackpad; HDMI output; microSD card slot; accelerometer; ambient light sensor; GPS

Size and weight: 9.4 by 6.2 by 0.5 inches (height by width by thickness); 1.4 pounds

Due: June or July 2010

Price: $327 to $800

Netbook Tablets (various models)

Netbook tablets (various)

As alluded to in an earlier post, if you like the idea of flicking through Web pages or e-books by touch, but you don’t want to give up your physical keyboard, a netbook equipped with a swiveling screen could be a good compromise choice. Over the next few months, several new “netvertibles” will emerge, including the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3T (available now), Viliv S10 Blade, Asus Eee PC T101MT and the Gigabyte Touch Note T1000P. Each will have a 10.1-inch multitouch display, run Windows 7, and cost around $500 bucks. That’s cheaper than standard 12.1-inch convertibles such as the multitouch-capable HP TouchSmart tm2t and Lenovo ThinkPad X201T.

ExoPC Slate

ExoPC Slate

A Windows 7 device with a custom touch interface, an 8.9-inch multitouch screen, netbook-like specs, and Flash support. The ExoPC Slate was scheduled to arrive at the end of March, but ExoPC recently told Engadget that it has postponed the launch to June or July. When the tablet arrives, you can expect improvements such as “better processor, graphics, battery life, thinner design, plus better screen and touch panel” compared to the current official specs listed here.

Price: From $599

Size and weight: 9.8 by 6.6 by 0.8 inches (height by width by thickness); 1.8 pounds

OS: Windows 7 Premium

Key specs: 8.9-inch LED-backlit ” High Sensibility” resistive multitouch display (1024 by 600 pixels), 1.6GHz Atom N270 CPU, 2GB of DDR2 SDRAM, Intel GMA950 graphics, 32GB solid-state drive, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 10/100 ethernet, 3G option

Other features: Front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for videoconferencing, SD/MMC card reader, SIM card slot (for 3G option)

Due: Summer 2010


MSI Tegra 2 Tablet

MSI Tegra 2 Tablet

This is an as-yet-unnamed tablet. The prototype Android “mPad” shown at CES had a 10-inch touchscreen, a Tegra 2 processor, HD Flash support, and an HDMI output. The finished tablet will probably cost around $500 and may arrive later this year.

OS: Android 2.x

Price: Expected to be around $500

Key specs: 10-inch touchscreen, nVidia Tegra 2 graphics and dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, 3G, Wi-Fi

Other features: HDMI output, SD Card slot

Size and weight: Unknown

Due: Possibly second half of 2010


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