Fifteen million. That’s the astounding number of iPads Apple has sold up till now. And it has pretty much been a one-horse race – with no real competition from any other company. Many reasons are given for this. From the sheer width and might of the app store, to the simplicity of the device, and the shocking realisation that most companies can’t compete on price. There is no doubt about it; the iPad has been a runaway success. That may well change soon. With over 15 big names announcing some formidable devices, the iPad is now being attacked from every direction, every feature and every specification.
About two days ago, I was asked a specific question. From all the Tablets announced, released and even those with a bit of a waiting period, what should one buy and why? Three months ago this was a redundant question. Today, it’s the toughest question in the technology world. Just look at what the competition has thrown out.
Toshiba Android 3.0 Tablet: Attack! Beautifully built, 10.1 inch high resolution screen, dual camera, HD video conference capable out of the box, great for video and multimedia, dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and all the ports that you can dream of.
Failure! Toshiba’s a little confused with their Tablet strategy and keeps showing new shape and size Tablets at every event, but don’t seem to be ready to release anything. For instance, they don’t even have a name for this one yet.
Acer Iconia Tab A500: Onslaught! 10.1-inch screen with a stunning 1,280x786 resolution, dual core processor, great design and metal highlights, Acer’s own interface tweaks sit on top of Android, HDMI out, two cameras.
Fizzle! Android 2.3? Are you serious? That’s like selling a phone without a camera in today’s day and age.
ViewSonic ViewPad 10Pro: Offense! Dual OS booting, can run Android and Windows 7, 10.1 inch screen, razor sharp display, Intel Oak trail processor, runs fast, good interface tweaks, rock solid build.
Flop! Battery life suffers, Windows 7 not a good Tablet OS, this is one heavy device, dual boot confusing on a Tablet.
HTC Flyer: Infiltrate! HTC’s amazing attention to detail in build quality, great aluminium unibody, very light 7 incher, HTC Sense gives it stylus input too, dual camera, lots of tweaks to the interface, good battery life.
Abort! Android 2.4, processor may not be good enough against the rest, HTC doesn’t seem to get prices right on many occasions.
HP TouchPad: Ambush! The legendary WebOS from Palm, brilliant and intelligent interface, 9.7 inch screen, touchscreen is the best ever, multi-task champion, front camera, outstanding build quality from HP.
Fallback! It’s a new OS for Tablets and the eco-system will need to be built. Also there seems to be no expandable storage and that’s a huge downer. Still – one of the best bets to take on the Monarch.
Huawei Ideos S7 Slim: Blitz! 7 inch, small size and very portable, very economical, sturdy construction, has lots of ports and connections, 3G and WiFi, dual camera – this can handle video calls.
Blunder! Klunky form factor, El Cheapo feel, Android 2.2, bad battery life. This one isn’t going to dislodge the King unless they sell it for $49.
Then there’s the rest of the brat pack. Samsung’s 10.1 – that may well be the best specced (yet needs more ports and Samsung needs to get off its high horse on prices); Blackberry Playbook 4G seems like the killer Tablet with extraordinary power and finesse (yet seems crippled without a Blackberry Phone tethered to it); Motorola Xoom, which set the ball rolling with a Tablet that was without any compromise inside and out (and yet has faltered dramatically on pricing and options) or even the LG Optimus Pad that is an entertainment and imaging champion with 3D video capture and other whiz bang stuff (but didn’t equip it with a 3D viewing screen).
2011 was predicted to be the year of the Tablet. That it may well be. But which one will be Tablet of the year? That’s the second toughest question in the world of technology.
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3. Follow Rajiv on Twitter at twitter.com/RajivMakhni
- From HT Brunch, February 27
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