In 2010, the tablet space was dominated by a single company: Apple. The firm’s iPad was the most recognizable and worthwhile tablet in the space. The vast majority of consumers realized that it was better than any other device on the market. Admittedly, it wasn’t a difficult decision. The Dell Streak featured a 5-inch display and an out-dated version of Android. The JooJoo tablet came from an unknown company with a short past. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, while arguably the best iPad alternative, was running Android 2.2, which Google itself said wasn’t ready for tablets. But 2011 will be a different story altogether. The iPad will continue to be the tablet to beat this year, but several companies, including LG, Acer and Motorola, among others, will be entering the space this year. Any one of them could very well deliver an experience that customers had been hoping for last year. Those who are interested in learning a bit more about those tablets should click through the following slides. The upcoming tablets won’t carry the Apple logo, but they could be the best alternatives to the iPad for any customer.
The Motorola Xoom is arguably one of the most anticipated tablets to be released this year. The tablet comes with a 10.1-inch display, supports video conferencing, thanks to a front-facing camera, and has a dual-core processor. The device is running Android 3.0 Honeycomb, the best tablet-ready operating system Google has ever released. Excitement is running rampant on this one. And at $799 for a 3G version that’s upgradable to 4G, it’s understandable.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
The Samsung Galaxy Tab has been the most popular Android tablet yet. But now it’s being updated with a 10.1-inch display, a 1GHz dual-core processor, and support for HSPA+. Perhaps most importantly, it’ll be running Android 3.0 Honeycomb when it launches later this year. The tablet is shaping up to be the device that the Samsung Galaxy Tab should have been.
LG Optimus Pad
The LG Optimus Pad is one of the more exciting tablet announcements this year. The device features an 8.9-inch display, and like many of the others in the market, will ship with Android 3.0 Honeycomb. But its key feature is 3D support. Users will be able to view 3D content on the device and 3D video can be shared with 3DTVs. The device is expected to retail for about $800 when it ships later this year.
The HTC Flyer could find itself lost among the many larger tablets that will be made available this year. The device will come with a 7-inch display and feature a 1.5GHz processor. In addition, it offers a 3D home screen. HTC is trying to position the Flyer as a top investment for enterprise customers that want to be more mobile. But by the looks of things, it might be best-suited for consumers looking for a slimmer option than some of the bulkier tablets on the market. Expect the Flyer to hit store shelves in the second quarter.
Acer Iconia Tab A500
The Acer Iconia Tab A500’s name is a bit of a mouthful, but the device promises to pack quite a punch. It will feature a 10.1-inch display when it launches and offer the ability for users to play video games in HD as well as 3D titles from the Web. It comes with the dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra processor and will support access to Verizon’s 4G network. The tablet should be running Android 3.0 Honeycomb when it launches in April for an undisclosed price.
RIM BlackBerry PlayBook
The RIM BlackBerry PlayBook is designed with enterprise customers in mind. The device runs RIM’s new BlackBerry Tablet OS made by QNX Software, the company it acquired last year. The device comes with a 7-inch display and will be able to connect to 4G networks. It will support video conferencing and BlackBerry Enterprise Server to help the device appeal more to corporate customers. It’s expected to launch in March or April.
The upcoming Cisco Cius, which is scheduled to be made available later this year, is another tablet designed with enterprise customers in mind. It will run Android 2.2 and feature a 7-inch display. Cisco said that its tablet will ship with 3G connectivity, but 4G connectivity is “planned.” In addition, the device is designed to be integrated into existing Cisco products in the enterprise. By the looks of things, the Cius could very well be the device IT decision-makers could be looking for.
Dell Streak 10
Dell has been relatively tight-lipped about the Streak 10, but the company has revealed that the device will be running Android 3.0 Honeycomb and come with a 10.1-inch display. The company says it will be made available sometime this year, but it hasn’t revealed any pricing. Whether the Streak 10 will be able to perform better than last year’s Streak 5 or this year’s Streak 7 remains to be seen.
The HP TouchPad is one of the most anticipated tablets expected to hit store shelves this year. The tablet runs webOS and comes with a 9.7-inch display, like the iPad. The device will ship with WiFi connectivity and offer either 16GB or 32GB worth of storage, depending on the model customers choose. The tablet also will integrate well with the company’s upcoming Pre 3 smartphone, allowing customers to answer calls and receive text messages by simply connecting the two devices. The tablet will ship this summer.
Unnamed Toshiba Tablet
Toshiba has been quite tight-lipped about its upcoming tablet. The company hasn’t even revealed the name for it yet. But what it did show off has been quite impressive. The device will come with Android 3.0 Honeycomb and feature a 16:10 720p HD 10.1-inch display. The device also runs Nvidia’s Tegra 2 processor and comes with both a front- and rear-facing camera. Perhaps most importantly, for enterprise customers especially, it comes with a replaceable battery.
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