The launch of Apple iPad has brought interest in tablet computers to the forefront of technology watchers. Wikipedia defines a tablet computer as “a complete computer contained entirely in a flat touch screen that uses a stylus, digital pen, or fingertip as an input device instead of a keyboard or mouse”. Unknown to many, these devices are not totally new and the iPad is certainly not the only one of its kind in the market. This articles will take a look at other alternatives to the Apple iPad (some of which are yet to be launched) with brief reviews of the top 4 tablets that should give Apple something to think about.
Hewlett Packard (HP) Slate
The Slate is a new addition to HP’s growing list of portable touch devices. The tablet PC was announced at CES 2010 and will be available in the second half of 2010 for under $1000. It is quite similar to the iPad in terms of appearance (8.9-inch screen) with multi-touch capabilities and a Windows 7 operating system. The HP Slate will focus on content consumption such as games, e-books, music, videos, Web browsing and offer Flash support. Other features include active digitizer with pen support, front Webcam, rear camera, Wi-Fi, USB 2.0 and Bluetooth.
Archos 5 Internet Tablet
The ARCHOS 5 Internet tablet is a 5″ tablet computer with screen resolution of 800×400 which boasts of being “probably the best piece of hardware on the market to surf the web on the go”. The device is available in the market now and works with several different operating systems such as Android, Linux and Windows 7. It uses the ARM Cortex Superscaler processor to boost speed and can connect to Wifi-N networks or tether via Bluetooth® to a 3G phone. Other Web related features include WebRadio, Email and online videos. Prices range from $249 to $499.
Panasonic Toughbook H1 Field
Panasonic describes its new Toughbook H1 Field as “the industry’s most rugged handheld tablet PC” and only few would dispute it. The device is rugged and designed for mobile users. It has a 10.4″ sunlight-viewable screen and sealed all-terrain design. Designed with a magnesium allow internal frame, the Panasonic Toughbook H1 Field can survive a 6 ft drop. Other features include, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth® and optional Gobi™ mobile broadband support, in addition to fast charging hot-swappable twin batteries for maximum up-time, optional integrated GPS and SmartCard reader. It uses the Windows 7 operating system, comes with a stylish handle and is not very cheap with the base model selling for $3,379.
Notion Ink Adam Tablet
The Notion Ink Adam tablet will give any tablet a run for its money with its 180 degree swivel camera, Pixel Qi transflective display and dual-core ARM CORTEX-AP MPCORE processor when it is launched. It currently runs on Android 2.1 and has a 10-inch transflective LCD screen, resolution of 1024×600, an e-book client, WiFi, 3G and multi-touch support.
As the tablet fever rages on, there are unconfirmed reports that Microsoft may launch its own tablet computer, Microsoft Courier, in the near future.
Do you know of any other tablet computer that is worth adding to the list of iPad competitors above?
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