When It Rains, It Pours...
We saw tablets of every shape, size, operating system, resolution, price and weight at CES this year. Let us prove it.
The Xoom runs Nvidia's Tegra 2 platform, with a dual-core 1GHz processor. It has a 10.1-inch 1280 pixel by 800 pixel resolution, 1GB of RAM, and 32GB of on-board user memory (plus an SD card slot). Its OS is Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). Honeycomb has been optimized for tablets, and the iPad and Galaxy Tab-like split-screen views, the optimized Google Maps 5.0 with 3D mapping app, and other interface design points appear to bear this out.
Dell Streak 7
The HSPA and 3G-capable Dell Streak 7 runs Nvidia's Tegra 2, and packs 32GB of internal storage. In hand, the Dell Streak 7's graceful, tapered design feels comfy. The home screens are filled with very visual widgets for accessing Web pages, multimedia, e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter. Best of all: This tablet integrates a full SD card slot into its slim design.
The 0.4 inches thick BlackBerry PlayBook feels light and balanced. The unit's design is very clean. Navigation is entirely gesture-based, so there are no buttons. There are four primary navigation swipes, and each can be used in combination. The PlayBook also supports multitasking, and 1080p playback and output. It runs a 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, a 1024 by 600 pixel 7-inch display, and the BlackBerry Tablet OS. First up: A 3G and a Wi-Fi version, but BlackBerry 4G PlayBook was announced for summer time.
What distinguishes Toshiba's first tablet from other tablets we've seen so far is its sense of design and integration into the Toshiba family. Yes, it still looks like a glass slab with curved corners, and its 0.6-inch depth isn't going to win awards for thinness--but the way Toshiba has integrated the ports, and designed the chassis, makes this device feel like more than just another slab. The Toshiba tablet also sports a 10.1-inch, 1280 by 800 display and an NVidia Tegra 2 processor.
Galaxy Tab LTE for Verizon
The 4G model of the Galaxy Tab will work with Verizon's 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network that launched in December 2010 with purported speeds of up to 10 times faster than Verizon's 3G network.
Galaxy Tab Wi-Fi
The highly anticipated Wi-Fi-only Galaxy Tab joins variants already shipping with and without contract. Samsung says its Wi-Fi-only Galaxy Tab will ship in the U.S. sometime in the first quarter of 2011. No pricing or launch date was supplied.
Asus Eee Pad MeMO
A 7-inch tablet, the MeMO will ship with Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). It's powered by a 1.2GHz Qualcomm 8260 Snapdragon processor, and will have a 1024 pixel by 600 pixel resolution screen. It's the smallest tablet we've seen with a built-in stylus for taking hand-written notes. Asus promises 1080p video playback, with pricing and storage size varying by region.
Asus Eee Pad Slider
The 10.1-inch Eee Pad Slider is also Android 3.0 but this model has a unique hook: The keyboard slides out and the screen tilts. Asus didn't provide final specs but it says the Eee Pad Slider will weigh under 2.2 pounds and be less than half an inch thick which means you won't be paying a huge price in depth at least for including the keyboard. Asus promises up to 6 hours of mixed-use battery life.
Asus Eee Slate EP121
The Asus Eee Slate EP121 is aimed at both work and play. It uses Wacom's electromagnetic digitizer pen for stylus input, in addition to the capacitive multitouch display. At 0.66 inches thick and just over 2.5 pounds, it is thicker than Android tablets, and much heavier than even other Windows 7-based tablets. It ships this quarter at $999 for the version with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The version with 4GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD should list for only $100 more and is a better choice.
For Fujitsu's first tablet, due in the U.S. in the first half of 2011, the company showed a 10-inch Windows slate design. This slate runs at a 1280 pixel by 800 pixel resolution, and uses N-trig's multi-touch screen technology for doing finger and pen navigation on the same screen. The unit will run Windows 7 Professional on an Intel Atom Oaktrail-based system with a self-encrypted solid state drive. It also will have optional wireless broadband, plus standard connectivity like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, biometric security, and front- and rear-facing cameras and microphones. The price has not been set.
StreamTV eLocity A10
The eLocity A10 has an IPS display with 1366 pixel by 768 pixel resolution, which is higher than most of the other CES tablets announced. It will ship in February with Android 2.2, but it will be upgradeable to Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). The front-facing camera is 3 megapixels, and it has a USB 2.0 port, full-size HDMI output, a micro SDHC card slot for up to 32GB of additional storage, and 512MB of RAM. Pricing is expected to range from $449 to $100.
The Kno tablet, just shipping, has a 14.1-inch IPS display with 1440 pixel by 900 pixel resolution. It's easily the largest slate-style device we've seen. The unit is otherwise Spartan: It has angular ridges around the perimeter, and a single button for powering on and off. Its Kno touch interface runs on top of Linux Ubuntu. The Kno uses the NVidia Tegra 2 processor, has 512MB of RAM, and weighs 2.5 pounds for the single-screen version, and 5.5 pounds for the dual-screen version. Starting prices range from $599 to $899.
Acer Iconia Tab 10-Inch
The large-screen Iconia Tab unit's build-quality felt solid, even though this was clearly a pre-production unit (and one running Android 2.2 Froyo, not running Android 3.0 as it will when it ships). Acer expects it to weight about 1.7 pounds. This tablet has a 1280 pixel by 800 pixel screen, runs NVidia's Tegra 2, packs 1GB of RAM, and a 16GB SSD. It has two USB 2.0 ports, one micro-USB, one HDMI-mini port with 1080p output, 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, and a microSD card slot for expanding on the internal storage. It's due out in April.
Acer Iconia Tab 7-Inch
The middle child of Acer's Iconia Tab series, the Iconia Tab 7-inch will have a 16:10 ratio, a 1280 by 800 display with Flash support, and a wide 80-degree viewing angle. This Android 2.2 model features one circular capacitive touch button on its front face for navigation as well as two cameras--a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with a flash and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera with no flash. You'll also get a micro-USB port, HDMI-mini, a SIM card slot, and a USB 2.0 port under a protective flap--and you can use the Iconia for up to 9 hours on a single charge.
Acer Iconia Tab 4.8-inch
Like its 7-inch sister, the 4.8-inch Iconia Tab will run Android 2.2, has Adobe Flash support, and will sport mini-HDMI and micro USB ports. This combination phone and tablet has an elegant, elongated 4.8-inch display that offers 1024 by 480 resolution. It features two cameras--an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with flash and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. Unlike other phone/tablet combos, such as the 5-inch Dell Streak, this Iconia impressively is still narrow enough to feel like a phone.
Acer says it will sell for about $600 with no service contract, and will be sold through carriers.