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13 Tablets to Rival the iPad

iPandimonium


Apple’s newest gadget finally hit stores this weekend and is estimated to have sold 300,000 in the first day, topping expectations. As we reported previously, the iPad was designed to fill a new niche, a powerful netbook that actually functions as an all-around entertainment console. But Apple (Stock Quote: AAPL) already has some serious competition.

So if you hate Steve Jobs and his turtlenecks, or just want to see which device gets you the most for your money, check out this list of tablet computers that are either currently on the market, or rumored to be coming out in the near future.

Photo Credit: Renatomitra

Will People Still Care About Netbooks?


One question industry insiders have asked is whether the iPad will upend the netbook market as we know it, or just be one more item on the shelves. Steve Jobs clearly has an opinion: he famously criticized netbooks as being nothing more than “cheap laptops” which “aren’t better than anything.” But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say he’s a bit biased.

Still, there are already reports that netbook sales have slowed in anticipation of the iPad’s release. As one analyst told BusinessWeek, the novelty of the iPad is making netbooks seem old hat. So perhaps the bigger question is how the average consumer – who does not have hundreds of dollars to blow on new gadgets – will respond to the tide of new tablets entering the market. Will the tablet replace netbooks all together, or will it give consumers a greater appetite for laptop alternatives?

Similarly, will the tablet market live and die by the iPad, or will other tablets achieve the same level of importance in the field? As PC World points out, if any of these devices are to have a chance at truly competing with the iPad, they will need to produce a product that capitalizes on features that the iPad is currently lacking, or could do better. Some of the items on this list are clearly trying to do just that.

Photo Credit: Zieak

Microsoft Courier


Microsoft may have missed out on the whole Internet thing, and let’s face it, the Zune wasn’t exactly the best way to compete with the iPod (although to be fair, the newest Zune is a lot better.) But now, Microsoft may be introducing their own version of the tablet. The Courier would essentially look like a digital book, with two touch screens that fold in to one another. So, not only would it compete with the iPad as a computing device, but it will also target the e-book reader market. Rumor has it the device may actually be introduced publicly next week.

Photo Credit: nDevilTV

HP Slate


The HP Slate has been labeled the “iPad-killer” and for good reason. The device looks identical in size and shape to the iPad (except it’s a little wider.) However, the Slate (which, by the way, was my favorite of the early names for the iPad) will run Flash, has a camera (though apparently it’s on the back of the device, not the front) and runs on Windows 7.

The device is expected to come out this summer and will sell for about $500.

Photo Credit: YouTube.com

Dell Mini 5


The Mini 5 is Dell’s (Stock Quote: DELL) main offensive against the iPad. The device features a 5-inch screen (closer in size to an iPhone), a camera for video conferencing (something the iPad lacks) and may be integrated with Amazon’s Kindle. Like the iPad, it will run on Wi-Fi or a 3G network, but the Mini 5 is expected to cost less than $500 (the starting price for the iPad.)

It may be released in multiple colors and as we reported previously, in larger sizes down the road. Here is an early video of the product from Engadget. The first model is expected to come out in the next month.

Photo Credit: YouTube.com

Acer Aspire


Right now, Acer is the undisputed king of netbooks, but all that could change with the new wave of tablets. Initially, Acer claimed they were not interested in competing with the iPad and therefore wouldn’t release a tablet of their own, but they have since changed their minds. The company is releasing two tablets – the Aspire 1825PT and 1825PTZ – which will both have 11.6-inch screens and be powered by Intel processors. According to Slashgear, the two devices will both have touch screens, yet they will also come with keyboards. As of now, the price is unknown, but some speculate it could cost about $1,000.

Photo Credit: Acer.com

Lenovo IdeaPad


The Lenovo IdeaPad is one of the more promising gadgets on the market right now. As Engadget points out, it’s really a combination of a tablet and a netbook. The IdeaPad has a touch screen and keyboard, 250GB of space and features a Kindle app, all for $549. Not too shabby.

Photo Credit: YouTube.com

Asus Tablets


Asus, one of the more successful netbook companies, is reportedly planning to introduce “at least two” tablets in the next couple months. According to Forbes, one of the tablets will run Windows while the other will run Android, Google’s operating system. As of now, these devices are thought to feature multi-touch screens that could be about 7 inches long.

Photo Credit: Asus.com

Samsung Tablet


Samsung is reportedly working on its own tablet due out in the second half of this year. One executive at the company revealed that they were looking to improve on the iPad’s limited “processing power and connectivity.” No word yet on the price, but we’ll definitely keep an eye on this product. After all, as one Apple customer found out recently, there are actually Samsung parts inside the iPad, so clearly they are capable of producing this technology.

Photo Credit: ctitze

JooJoo Tablet


The JooJoo seemed like a strong candidate to take on the iPad at first, earning positive reviews by venerable tech publications like Wired. But the device has suffered a string of unfortunate defeats. The JooJoo was built by a relatively unknown company called Fusion Garage. It has a 12-inch touch screen with a virtual keyboard that is bigger and easier to use than the one on the iPad, and it costs $500. Unfortunately, the JooJoo was meant to be shipped last week, yet only a few dozen people ordered it and the company claimed the models that shipped got stuck in customs. Not a good start.

Photo Credit: nDevilTV

Notion Ink's Adam


Gizmodo has an excellent breakdown comparing Notion Ink’s device to the iPad. It may not be quite as good looking, but the Adam has a longer battery life (16 hours with backlight) and a slightly larger screen. This one runs on Android rather than Apple’s operating system, which is a plus if you are a Google-lover. And best of all, the price is supposed to start at just $327. Notion Ink was expected to release this in early June but that date has been pushed back now due to hardware issues.

Photo credit: NotionInk.in

ExoPC Slate


This Slate comes from a Canadian company called ExoPC, and is billed as “finger driven,” meaning that it is a touch screen like the iPad. The two key features for anyone considering an iPad are that the Slate can multitask and play Flash, two things the iPad cannot do. Beyond that, it works well as a video player and e-book reader, runs on Windows and will cost $600. It will be available this summer.

Photo Credit: nDevilTV

HP Touchsmart


Why should HP put all their eggs into one basket? While you wait for the HP Slate to come out, you might consider looking at the Touchsmart, which is basically a cross between a tablet and a PC. It features a 23-inch multi touch screen which would be great for watching movies and doing creative projects. No, this machine isn’t exactly portable, but to be honest, who knows how many people will really be carrying the iPad from place to place?

Photo Credit: techedlive

Axiotron Modbook


HuffingtonPost refers to this device as the “original iPad.” It’s been on the market since 2007 and is about the size of a Mac laptop, without the keyboard. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have multi touch features (yet) and you can’t get 3G with it, but it’s a solid machine that could be a serious contender in the new tablet market with a few innovations. It currently sells for $900.

Photo Credit: zdw

iPad Response


Now, if after reading all of that, you still are interested in buying an iPad, we recommend you read some of the reviews that are coming out now that consumers actually have access to the gadget. The San Francisco Chronicle argued that the iPad is a fun and esthetically pleasing device, but ultimately, it’s worse for getting real work done than most netbooks. On the other hand, some have been surprisingly impressed by how easy it is to type on the virtual keyboard, and there has been endless chatter about some of the excellent apps specially designed for the device, including Scrabble, Brushes (a paint tool) and Netflix.

Yet, for all of that, the iPad may have some serious kinks to work out. Many users have reported problems charging the battery and using Wi-Fi. What good is a tablet if you can’t even turn it on?

Photo Credit: Yutaka Tsutano

Does Apple Ever Miss?


Clearly there are plenty of companies out there gunning for Apple, but in recent years the company's track record had been quite formidable. The iPod, the iPhone, the iMac, among others have all been great for the company. But not every Apple product has been wildly successful. Take a look at our collection of massive Apple flops from years past.

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