The iPad is currently the media darling when it comes to consumer electronics. I have made no qualms about my desire for one either. I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t want one. An e-reader, GPS tech, email and web browser, an iPod, not to mention the Apps store make the iPad difficult to beat. That doesn’t mean other companies are conceding in this field. In fact, several competitors are already out there and many more are on the way. Here are what I see are the best and brightest competitors to Apple’s iPad.
One of the most famous tablet computers is actually an entire line made by Archos. It uses Android’s OS on a 7 inch screen. There are also bigger ones produced. The line includes multiple different sized processors and hard drives. They are also some of the cheaper tablets, starting in the $150 range. Because it runs on Android, it has access to the Android store of apps.
Another tablet already on the market is the JooJoo, produced by a company from Singapore. It is completely web based. They claim this is a major strength, and say that their app store is the internet itself. It has a 12 inch screen, putting it at the upper end of what is usually considered a tablet PC. I must confess that I found it difficult to find unless you look at their actual website. Best Buy and Amazon didn’t seem to carry it. Also, the only accessory their site mentioned was a dock. Priced at $499, you get 8 gigs of storage.
HP’s Slate is eagerly awaited. However, currently, not much is known about the device. It is expected to run Windows 7 and to come in two sizes, a 32 gig and 64 gig model. It’s screen will be 8.9 inches, putting it at the same basic size as the iPad. One of the biggest selling points to differentiate it from the iPad is the appearance of a webcam and a standard camera on the backside.
The final major competitor was just announced late last month for an early 2011 release date. It’s Blackberry’s response, currently called the Blackberry PlayBook. It will run Adobe Flash, a major complaint lodged against the iPad by many detractors. It also has two cameras built in. Not much else is nailed down, at this point. However, seeing as how Blackberry practically owned the smartphone market for years, this will probably be an interesting device when it debuts. Whether or not it will unseat the iPad though is yet to be seen.
The tablet market is heating up. That said, the electronics field is always in flux. Two years ago, some analysts foresaw the end of the laptop market due to the advent of the netbook, which was a big deal in 2008. Perhaps, oversaturation of the market will bring a downfall to the tablet pc. However I think the future is in tablets. If you don’t believe me, just go watch any sci-fi show from the last forty years. The future is apparently now.