The iPad may be flying off the shelves with more than 3 million units sold to date, but it doesn’t mean that others aren’t welcome to take a shot at unseating it.
And they certainly are trying. With a slew of Android-powered touch screen devices and tablet PCs unleashed (could someday include the Google tablet) one after another, we may yet live to see the day when Apple would need to be on the defensive.
The question is, which among the current crop of AndPads, including those that would be in consumers’ hands within the next few weeks, is likely to carve a niche for itself in the tablet PC industry? Let’s take a closer look at the contenders:
Archos Internet Tablets - Can you say master of tablet PCs? Not quite done with the Archos 5, Archos 7, and Archos 8 released in September of last year and June this year, the French company last month unveiled its latest offerings in what is getting to be a long list of Archos Android-powered tablets. The five (yes, you read that right – 5) tablet devices all come with the Android 2.2 ‘Froyo’, accelerometers, touch screens in varying sizes, and cameras, to name just a few of their features. The Archos fab five take on the first five slots of this list.
1. Archos 28
With a 2.8-inch resistive touch screen, this midget is apparently the smallest of the lot but there’s still a lot you can do with its 4G of storage, Wi-Fi capability, and a new Archos music application that supports a variety of video and music formats. Browsing on such a diminutive touch screen could still be inhibiting for a lot of people though but at a starting price of $99, it would still spark some interest especially for those who want to browse on the go but don’t want to shell out too much.
2. Archos 32
A tad bigger than the Archos 28 with a 3.2-inch screen, the Archos 32 also has double the storage with 8G and a slightly higher price at $149.99. The built-in camera allows for 720p video recording, which you can then watch on a bigger screen as the device can be hooked up to a TV. Just like the 28, you can surf the net with the 32 but again, it may not exactly be the most pleasant browsing experience.
3. Archos 43
The Archos 43 is slated to take the place of the Archos 5 and with its features, it’s a most worthy successor. Sporting a 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor, a camera that can record 720p video, spot-on accelerometer navigation, and a price point of about $199, it has the makings of a cool browsing and gaming buddy.
4. Archos 70
The big boys of Archos start with the Archos 70, a more responsive and more powerful version of the Archos 7 Home Tablet. True, the prices are starting to get a bit steep here with the 70 at $279 but it could be well worth every bang for your buck with a capacitive touchscreen, accelerometer, front VGA camera that supports video chat, and USB ports. At 0.4 inches thick and a weight of just 11 ounces, its lighter and slimmer design is also a plus factor.
5. Archos 101
Last but definitely not the least is the designated “iPad killer” of the 5 latest Archos tablets. This 10.1-incher is only 0.5-inch thick and 0.93-pound heavy, and comes with a 1024 x 600-resolution, capacitive touchscreen, 1 GHz processor, front-facing VGA cam, and USB and HDMI ports. It has a kickstand in the back that allows you to prop it up for viewing and typing angles most convenient for you. At a price of $300, it could well give other tablets a run for their money.
6. Samsung Galaxy Tab
The Samsung Galaxy Tab launched to much fanfare sometime last week. With its 7-inch touch display, it’s a more compact gadget than the 9-incher iPad, losing a few points on the screen size and gaining some on the portability. Powered by the Android 2.2 Froyo (upgradeable to Android 3.0), it runs on a speed of 1GHz (same as the iPad), has twice the RAM with 512MB, and provides for expandable storage of up to 32GB. No final word yet on how much this one’s gonna cost but it could be anywhere from $200 to $400.
7. Toshiba Folio 100
Not to be outdone, Toshiba has also thrown the proverbial hat into the tablet PC ring with the debut of the Folio 100. The Folio’s 10.1-inch touch screen with 1024 x 600 resolution, coupled with more-than-decent technical features under the hood (including NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processor and 16GB memory) should make for a satisfying web browsing experience. Word has it though that there’s no Android Market on this device, which makes its chances of being a forerunner in the industry highly-doubtful.
8. Dell Streak
The first wave of Dell Streak tablets was officially available in stores only last month and the reviews it got were mixed at best. Sporting a 5-inch touchscreen, it’s one of those devices that fall in the “tweener” category (too big to be a phone, to small to be a tablet), although this one could actually be used for making and taking calls; that is, if you don’t mind putting such a “large” device to your ear. On the upside, it’s capable of pretty much everything you can do on a touch tablet – browse, video playback, social networking, and digital reading – on an 800 x 480 resolution. Initial units of the Streak were running on the Android 1.6 but an upgrade to Android 2.1 has been made available recently.
9. HP Zeen
Don’t look now but HP’s own Android tablet, Zeen, has been spotted in its most primal form. Tech blog Engadget was first to leak out images of the 7-inch touchscreen tablet, apparently retrieved from China, and some basic specs including 800 x 400 resolution, 4G storage, 512MB RAM, and an ARM-based processor. While it’s loaded with the Android 2.1, the applications are leaning more towards Yahoo!, plus Facebook, Barnes & Noble Nook compatibility, and other online video apps. If you think these features aren’t drool-inducing, you might be even more daunted by the package the Zeen tablet comes with: HP’s C510 PhotoSmart eStation printer. The tablet/printer combo will reportedly ship end of September.
10. LG Optimus Pad
Riding on the relative success of its Optimus smartphones, LG has decided to include its Android tablet under the same line, hence we await the arrival of the Optimus Pad hopefully by the fourth quarter of 2010. Unfortunately, mum’s still the word on the device’s hardware specs and we can only speculate on what the Pad brings to the table. In describing the soon-to-debut tablet though, LG does use the words “superior performance”, “lighter”, “thinner”, and with many “firsts.” As to whether the Optimus Pad will live up to these intriguing descriptions still remains to be seen.
This entry was written for Tech Source by John Carl P. Villanueva of Steaming Open Cup blog.
You may also check out our list of affordable Android-powered tablet PCs.