Longing for a lightweight tablet PC but not too thrilled with the iPad? Don’t worry, there’s an avalanche of contenders.
The tech industry is a brutal world. Every time a product or service establishes some kind of dominance, every few months you’ll hear about its impending murder. Google Killers, Facebook Killers, Twitter Killers …well, now it’s the iPad’s turn. I already explained why I probably won’t be buying one even though I drooled for months awaiting its release. If you feel the same way I do, but long for a tablet PC to replace your laptop, we may be in luck. With the iPad hitting the market soon, the existing tablet industry is tooling up to cash in on its notoriety. We’ve rounded up most of the major players below.
|Clearly targeting the iPad, their spec sheet comparison points out that their screen is bigger (11.6″ vs the iPad’s 9.7″), their processor is bigger (1.66Ghz Intel vs the iPad’s 1Ghz A4) and the device also has a few things the iPad doesn’t, like PLUGS. It has 2 USB ports, a cardreader, audioausgang, a SIM Card Slot, and a Multi-Pin Connector. It only weighs 120g more than the iPad, and uses the Android OS. Their site also outlines their master plan for dominating publishing, much like Apple.|
|The ModBook was the iPad before the iPad was the iPad. Take your MacBook, give them the specs for what you want, and they convert it into a tablet PC. They combine their own hardware and software technology, a Wacom Penabled digitizer and an Apple MacBook to create a deveice that, as they point out is “…unlike Apple’s iPad™ mobile digital device…a full-fledged, pen-enabled tablet computer system with 512 levels of pen pressure sensitivity that can produce high-resolution, pro-quality creative deliverables“. They’ve been doing this since 2007, for the record.|
||There’s not much that we can say about the HP Slate, except that Steve Ballmer did a great job of rolling it out amidst the pre iPad hubbub to cash in and save some marketing dollars, only to be completely forgotten in the annals of tablet computing. My mother always told me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. But if I were to say something, it would be that if this thing is anything like HP laptops, it would be good for ballast when you take one of these other devices out on your boat. Or maybe an effective – if oversized and unattractive – paperweight.|
|The Notion Ink Adam seems to still be in prototype stages, but has been shown at various tech expos. It runs on on the Android OS, promises a dual 10.1″ Pixel Qi transflective display, long battery life, 3G and WiFi Connectivity, and full high definition multimedia functionality. It’s multitouch like most of the others, but has one unusual feature: a “backside trackpad” meaning you can control functions on the screen you’re looking at by using your fingers on the back of the device while you’re holding it.|
|The JooJoo has a somewhat sordid past. It began as the “CrunchPad”, but that all ended here, and the last we knew it was all still in litigation. That hasn’t stopped the overseas developers who worked on the CrunchPad from moving right along with the JooJoo, which promises to be a pretty impressive device.|
|The Viliv S10 will hit the market in April. It’s actually not a tablet per se, it’s a convertible netbook. But its form factor (10.1″ screen, but only an inch thick with the keyboard) made us decide to include it here. It has all the features of a tablet (multitouch, 3G and wireless, decent battery life, etc.), but is more like a fully functioning compact laptop.|
|The ExoPC slate offers a lot of the same features we’ve mentioned so far. It runs Windows 7, and looks kind of like an oversized iPhone. In spite of having one of the smaller screens in this list (8.1″), it clocks in a little heavy at 820 grams. Their emphasis seems to be on browsing the web, playing games, watching tv and movies, and other more entertainment-focused activities.|
|Other convertible netbooks that have added touch screen functionality to broaden their appeal include the Archos 9, The Asus Eee T101MT, and the Lenovo S10-3t. These are already on the market, and really just trying to cash in on the iPad wave.|
|The enTourage eDGe – in spite of its miNor pROblems dECiding what case it will use in its name and its slightly chunky form factor – is one of the more interesting devices on this list, because it’s really not a tablet, it’s an e-reader and a tablet. It has two 9.7″ screens, one of which is touch sensitive. It’s actually a lot like a weird combination of the One Laptop Per Child device and the Microsoft Courier concept. If I try to make it sound cool, my words will all be ruined by the oddly 80′s looking and sounding promo below.|