2010 seemed like the ‘Year of the Tablet’, however we are positive that in 2011 sales figures are going to soar to new heights. With many companies stepping up and offering an alternative to the iPad which one you should be buying?
CES 2011 showcased many new designs, from Android and Windows Prototypes to products already on the market. We are going to look at a few of them today to see which makes most sense for a cash investment.
The Research In Motion tablet has a 7 inch display and weighs less than a pound. KitGuru thought this device looked stunning when it was first announced although we wondered at the time why RIM hadn’t offered support for 3G. Surprisingly this device does not feature the Blackberry operating system, but is built around QNX OS. It has 1 GB of ram, a dual core processor, dual HD cameras, HDMI out and HD video recording. This machine will also support both Microsoft and Apple proprietary audio formats and also can handle Adobe Flash and HTML5 content.
The Motorola Xoon is expected to be the first tablet which will be running Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). This is a refreshing point to mention as the Samsung Galaxy Tab is still running V2.2. The Xoom will also feature a 10.1 inch touchscreen running at 1280×800 resolution. 1GB of RAM is installed and it is based around a 1GHZ processor with 32GB of storage. Motorola also include an SD card, 3G support (rumours of 4G also) and 802.11n Wi-Fi Connectivity. A 5 megapixel camera is included at the rear with 720p video capture and there is a 2 megapixel camera at the front for video chatting.
HP WebOS Slates.
Right now details aren’t solid, although there have been many leaks on the upcoming codenamed Opal and Topaz products. Opal will be a 7 inch tablet and the Topaz is targeted directly at the current iPad with the 9 inch screen. Unconfirmed information includes at least one front facing camera and a micro USB port.
HP tablets will be running WebOS which is going to be a key selling point for Hewlett Packard. WebOS is a solid platform for the mobile environment and looks to be a real challenge to iOS. HP are holding a media event on February 9th where they are expected to announce details of the tablets.
Apple iPad 2.
I am sure most of you are sick hearing about this upcoming tablet, but no one creates hype as well as Apple. Most importantly, Apple have a head start in this market as they were first to market and they already have a strong foothold in the sector. Sales figures are huge and many people are already waiting to ebay the original unit in anticipation of V2.
The rumour mill is thriving with information. Will it have a new high resolution screen offering 2048×1538 resolution? News hit that this was the case, and KitGuru was told by an unnamed source that this was true. Yesterday in a surprising 180 turn around, John Gruber said that his sources denied these claims. Digitimes seem to agree with KitGuru sources, saying that they will up the resolution to 2048×1536, although nothing has been confirmed by Apple. We know that if Apple did manage to get the new version on sale with the Retina display then they could very well clean up the market in 2011. It is an insane resolution and even enthusiast users normally not interested in Apple might take the plunge.
Other rumours are circulating that the iPad 2 will feature a dual core processor as well as a huge increase in RAM count, which would be needed if the resolution was increasing to Retina specifications.
The problem is that while some of the rumours might well be true, sources are offering conflicting information right now and even industry insiders close to KitGuru could be wrong. We would all love a multi core 2048×1536 iPad, but whether Apple can realistically bring this to market in early 2011 is open to debate.
While consumers have been all over the iPad like a rash, businesses have already been adopting the shiny apple tablet, with Mercedes Benz in the US cleverly outfitting their sales representatives with the tablets for active sales during test drives, when emotions generally run higher and people are more likely to buy. From what we hear, this has increased their sales figures substantially and other automotive dealerships are already making plans to do the same thing. This isn’t the only business sector to jump on the iPad bandwagon, with high profile lawyer firms also adopting the device when dealing with clients.
So which is the best bet at this point?
BlackBerry are known to have a strong business user base but whether they can translate this into tablet sales has yet to be proven. You can be sure however, that if you are interested in a tablet it is best waiting several months for the market to level out and for more products to become available. Jumping into the wrong platform right now could be a costly mistake.
KitGuru says: Which tablet are you considering or do you not care?