Steve Jobs was right! 2010 was the year of the copycats. After the launch of the iPad we saw an array of tablets flood the market. The Samsung Galaxy Tab was the only one that managed to get some market attention but was nowhere close to becoming a threat to the iPad. Fast-forward to 2011, and we have Android Honeycomb from Google, WebOS from HP and QNX on the Blackberry Playbook, worthy competitors to Apple iPad's iOS. There are a bunch of devices that will launch this year that sport these operating systems. Let's take a look at some
First true competitor to Apple iPad 2, the Motorola Xoom was recently launched in the United States. It boasts of a dual-core processor and Android Honeycomb operating system.
The UI (User Interface) of the device looks stunning. Multitasking, notifications and switching between apps are a lot smarter and easier when compared to the iPad 2. The down side, well Apple rules when it comes to apps, and that new smart cover is an ingenious creation. To top it all, Apple has six variants of the iPad with the cheapest one starting at $499 and the most expensive one at $829. Motorola Xoom, on the other hand, has the cheapest model for $599 and the most expensive model at $799.
The Motorola Xoom 3G+Wi-Fi has been available from 24th Feb 2011 for $799. The Wi-Fi only version of the device is available from March 27th 2011 for $599.
Notion Ink Adam
Designed by a Bangalore based firm, Notion Ink Adam is India's venture into the tablet market. The device boasts of a 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, 10.1-inch display with 1024×600 pixels resolution, 1 GB of DDR2 RAM, 8 GB internal memory, expandable to 32GB via MicroSD card. Sounds Impressive? Well what really steals the show is a full sized HDMI and USB port on the device and the Eden UI. The Android OS on the Adam has been customized to create a panel centric UI giving the interface a “cover-flow” like feel.
The Notion Ink Adam also shows off the Pixel Qi display, which has an advantage over LCD displays. For starters, the technology boasts of a transflective mode that requires lower backlight than traditional LCD displays and a reflective mode that works only on ambient light. The reflective mode is great as it conserves battery, is more comfortable on the eyes and has great visibility under brightly lit conditions.
But all is not good, though the devices sold-out on pre-orders, all the users were not happy with their purchase. Also the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) images that appeared on the Internet showed bad space management, loosely soldered wiring and parts literally hanging out. Brilliant product but it still needs some ironing out.
The Notion Ink Adam is available since Jan 21st Jan 2011 for price points ranging from $375.33 to $549.99 depending on the version you choose.
If you are a BlackBerry Boy then the Playbook will definitely interest you. Apart from being able to sync your BlackBerry smartphones' data, the PlayBook boasts of many other features. The Open-GL enabled GPU will not only give the device an edge in terms of multitasking but is a true treat for gamers. The PlayBook also supports BlackBerry Bridge, which allows you to access data from your BlackBerry smartphone if the device is in range (no need to sync the two devices). Remove the device from range and the data vanishes from the tablet. Via Office 365, users of the playbook will be able to access Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online and Lync Online via the cloud. Something the iPad lacks.
The device also possesses 1GB of RAM as compared to the iPad's 512MB. The PlayBook offers a front facing camera of 3MP and a rear-facing camera of 5MP capable of recording HD videos in 720p as compared to the iPad 2, which offers a front facing VGA camera and rear facing 0.7MP camera also capable of 720p video. Although the iPad 2 does have the advantage of a better display and large array of apps, what remains to be seen is whether the PlayBook can get its pricing strategy right!
The BlackBerry Playbook is expected to launch in April 2011. Preorders for the device have already begun in the US at $499.99
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10
The Samsung Galaxy Tab was launched to compete with the first gen iPad and frankly its existence didn't affect the iPad's success. The second gen Samsung Galaxy Tab (the Galaxy Tab 10) however has some potential. For starters it will run Android Honeycomb OS, which is specifically built for the tablet. What distinguishes the Tab from the pad is its larger 10.1-inch display that has a higher resolution of 1280x800 pixels when compared to the iPad's 9.7-inch display with a resolution of 1024x786. The Galaxy Tab also has an 8MP rear camera and a 2MP front facing camera as compared to the iPads rear facing 0.7MP camera and front facing VGA camera. The iPad 2 however holds the crown in terms of apps. There are still not many available for Android Honeycomb.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10 will be available in Q1/Q2 2011. No price details are available.
Running WebOS 3.0, the TouchPad has the same screen size and resolution as the iPad. But, it trumps the iPad 2 with its processor. The HP TouchPad has a 1.2 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor whereas the iPad 2 has a 1GHz dual-core Apple A5. To its disadvantage, the TouchPad is heavier, thicker and has no rear camera.
The core apps on the WebOS such as e-mail, Web browser, photos, calendar, media playback, and chat have been optimised to take full advantage of the large screen of the tablet device similar to that of the iPad. The iPad still has an edge over the device when it comes to the number of apps available for download via the Apple app store.
The HP TouchPad will launch in summer 2011. The price has not yet been announced.
In a world where tablet manufacturers are aiming at dual core processors, the HTC Flyer has decided to retain a fast single core processor. The HTC Flyer has a 1.5GHz single core processor as compared to the iPad2's 1GHz A5 dual core processor. The Flyer will run the latest version of Android Honeycomb.
The HTC Flyer is expected to launch in Q1 2011. The price has not been disclosed.
Asus Eee Slate EP121
A tablet with the power of a notebook is the easiest way to describe the Asus Eee Slate EP 121. The tablet unlike the others on our list runs Windows 7 and will be upgradable to Windows 8. The Eee Slate EP121 is powered by a Core i5-470UM processor, has 2 to 4GB of RAM, 64GB SSD and a 12-inch display with a resolution of 1280x800. The device may boast of some impressive specs but is heavier than the iPad 2. Also, Windows 7 as a tablet OS really isn't the best option.
The Asus Eee Slate EP 121 is available in the UK for $1627. The device is up for preorders in the US for $999 and will be available in Q2 of 2011.
Dell Streak 10
The Dell Streak 10, a successor to the Dell Streak is expected to hit the market by Q4 2011. Little is known about the device except that it will have a 10-inch screen and run Honeycomb OS. Dell will hopefully learn from the mistakes of the Dell Streak, (the 5-inch device more popularly known as a hybrid between a smartphone and a tablet) which really wasn't as ground-breaking as Dell would have liked it to be.
The Dell Streak 10 will be available in Q2 2011. (Photo: gottabemobile.com)
Toshiba has unveiled a 10.1-inch tablet but hasn't given out a price or release date. All we know is that the device will be powered by the NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, will possess two cameras at 5 megapixel (rear) and 2 megapixel (front) and will come in two versions, 3G + Wi-fi and Wi-fi only. How will it compete against the iPad 2? We need a few more details to answer that.
No definite launch date or price has been disclosed for the Toshiba Tablet but expect the device by Q3 2011.
LG Optimus Pad
The LG Optimus Pad has what no other tablet on this list has, a 3D display. The device will have all the usual array of ports such as micro USB port, HDMI-out and SD card slot, but its biggest USP is the 8.9-inch 3D display with a resolution of 1280x768. Not only can the device shoot video in 1080p, but can also shoot 3D video at 720p. The camera quality and features not only promise to surpass the iPad 2 but also is the best among all the tablets we have seen so far. Sticking to the 3D revolution, the LG Optimus Pad is bringing 3D to the tablet screen. What's disappointing is that the device cannot play 3D without the use of 3D glasses.
No launch date or price has been disclosed for the LG Optimus Pad.