RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

Apple's iPad is here and selling by the truckload. It's busily redefining the whole mobile PC market by making touchscreen-only tablet PCs cool, hip, and user-friendly. It was long-awaited and hotly-rumored before it arrived earlier in 2010. But oddly enough, despite all that warm up, it hasn't had any real rivals arrive in the intervening months. Until now that is: An army of iPad competitors, clones, family members and bare-faced copies are about to march into battle. We took a stroll among 'em, and picked the best, most interesting or just the weirdest to show you.

It was rumored, and now it's here--or at least, it's been revealed: RIM's answer to the iPad, and its attempt to steal marketshare from iPad in the enterprise space (RIM's habitual home). When it becomes real, it will reportedly connect to BlackBerry smartphones for 3G tethering, and also for all the high-security traditional BlackBerry business goodness. And it's specced to beat this year's iPad. Sadly, by the time it's scheduled to arrive Apple's tech will have marched far on, but at least RIM is keeping some specs close to its chest before it finalizes the design (like the all-important price!).

Price: Unknown, but rumors are form $200 to $1,000

Screen: 7-inch, 1024 by 600 pixel multi-touch

Specs: BlackBerry QNX-based Tablet OS, 1GHz dual-core CPU, 1GB RAM, Flash 10.1 capable, Wi-Fi N, Bluetooth 2.1, HDMI-out, 5 megapixel auto-focus rear webcam, 3 megapixel front-camera, dedicated app store

Due: "Mid 2011.

Fast Company Five Word Review: Amazingly promising, alas too late.

Avaya A175

Avaya is taking a leaf from Apple's copybook and "thinking differently" with the A175. It's not aimed at consumers at all, and is squarely targeted at the office cubicle employee, since it combines phone/video conferencing functions, computer power and office collaboration in one suite. It sports Avaya's own Flare interface to help with this, as well as a larger screen than most in its class. It does run Android apps, but to pay for all this power you'll need to fork over enterprise-like pricing: It's going to cost a lot.

Price: Approximately $1,500 to $2,000

Screen: 11.5-inch, multitouch

Specs: Avaya Flare UI, 3 USB ports, 3G/4G, wireless, battery when used away from wall-powered desk installation

Due: Unknown

Fast Company Five Word Review: Big-screened, big business prices.

Netbook Navigator Nav 9 Slate

The Navigator Nav 9 is like a sister slate to the ExoPC, but it sports a plain 'ol regular Windows 7 OS. It's slightly larger than many of the other tablets that we're expecting, and inside an Intel Atom purrs away. It's not got a multitouch screen, presumably to save on costs, and many of its specs make it seem like a modified netbook. This is both its strength, and its weakness.

Price: Approximately $599+ with configurable options

Screen: 8.9-inch, 1024 by 600 pixel resistive (non-multitouch)

Specs: Windows 7 Home Premium, Intel Atom N280 1.66 GHz CPU, 1- to 2-GB RAM, 16-64 GB SSD, Wi-Fi N, Bluetooth 2.1, 3 USB sockets, VGA out, 1.3 megapixel webcam, SD card expansion, dedicated app store

Due: Unknown, but may be soon.

Fast Company Five Word Review: Early, big, not so powerful.

Apple iPad

Leading the pack, of course: Apple's long-awaited tablet PC is selling almost as fast as it can roll off the production line. It's the first, it's powerful, it has an enormous App Store ecosystem to support it, it integrates with Apple's other hardware and with iTunes seamlessly (for future AirPlay powers). It has Apple's shiny cool-as-a-cucumber cachet. And it's even seeing rapid adoption in a business environment--one way it should be a guaranteed long-run success, as business folks chase the next and greater edition.

Price: $500 to $830

Screen: 9.7-inch IPS multitouch, 1024 by 768 pixels

Specs: 1GHz Apple A4 CPU, 16- to 64-GB storage, accelerometers, 720p video-out, Wi-Fi N compatible, optional 3G/GPS, Apple iOS operating system.

Due: Already on sale.

Fast Company Five Word Review: The gold standard to beat.

Samsung Galaxy Tab

Samsung's Galaxy Tab takes as many design cues as it possibly can from the iPad (it's even got a 30-pin connector, sadly not iPad compatible), but may be the biggest rival to Apple's slate. Samsung's powerful market presence will help with this.

Price: Unknown

Screen: 7-inch TFT LCD with multitouch, 1024 by 600 pixels

Specs: Android 2.2, 1GHz Cortex A8 CPU, 16/32GB storage, microSD for expansion, accelerometers, gyro, GPS, 3.2-megapixel camera, dedicated e-bookstore, Flash 10.1

Due: Before end of 2010

Fast Company Five Word Review: Hottest challenger, at right pricing.

Toshiba Folio 100

Toshiba's Folio is the other big-name iPad rival, Android-powered and slickly designed. With Tosh's might behind it, and all those millions of ad dollars, it might end up in the public's consciousness more than its similar rivals.

Price: Around $500

Screen: 10.1-inch multitouch, 1024 by 600

Specs: Android 2.2, Tegra 2 CPU, 16GB storage, SD expansion, HDMI out, Wi-Fi N, 1.3-megapixel webcam, Flash 10.1

Due: End of 2010

Fast Company Five Word Review: Big, big-name support, promising.

Kno

The Kno tablet promises to redefine the textbook—and how students take notes. It's also huge. And though a prototype, it's promised before the end of 2010.

Price: Under $1,000

Screen: Twin 14.1-inch IPS touchscreens

Specs: Tegra 2, 16GB storage, dedicated e-bookstore for textbooks and apps

Due: Before end of 2010

Fast Company Five Word Review: Gargantuan, surprising, may actually sell.

Viewsonic Viewpad 7

Viewsonic may not be particularly known for their high-quality mobile products, but the company still manages to rack up $1 billion in sales worldwide. Its entry to the tablet PC market is externally similar to many others, but it relies on low CPU power and small size to keep the price down.

Price: No more than $550

Screen: 7-inch capacitive touchscreen, 800 by 480

Specs: Android 2.2, 600 MHz Snapdragon CPU, front and rear webcams, 3G SIM tray for voice and data: "full phone powers"

Due: End of 2010

Fast Company Five Word Review: Cheapish, but with telephone powers.

Hanspree Tablet

Hanspree's Tablet promises similar experiences to the 7-inch units that also pack Android inside, though it has a screen that's even bigger in size than the iPad, for similar prices. It also notes its "ultra low power Nvidia graphics processing unit" is capable of 1080p video playback (for 8 hours from its large battery).

Price: Approximately $500

Screen: 10.1-inch, 1024 by 600 pixels

Specs: Android 2.2, Tegra 2 CPU, 16GB storage, microSD expansion, accelerometer, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, mini USB, HDMI-out, Flash 10.1

Due: "Soon"

Fast Company Five Word Summary: Big-screened, 1080 resolution, good value.

JooJoo

Fusion Garage's JooJoo, born in legal strife between its current makers and TechCrunch's team, was only ever designed to be a Net-based Internet browser, and when it eventually arrived that's pretty much what it delivers—even after its firmware upgrade.

Price: $500

Screen: 12.1-inch wide-format touchscreen

Specs: Own-brand browser-based UI, Linux core, "full HD" video, 4GB storage, "fastest startup in the world"

Due: On sale already

Fast Company Five Word Summary: Troublesome, underpowered, but almost unique.

Dell Streak

Dell's Streak, formerly the Mini 5, is marketed as a tablet PC, but it's also got full-on telephone powers. So it's really like a super-large smartphone. Or a super-small slate PC. Or something. It's pretty unique, and seems to be cornering its own market. Plus, with rumors that Dell has both a 7- and 10-inch version en route, it's a great model for their future iPad challengers.

Price: £400 ($618) in the UK on pre-pay 3G tariff

Screen: 5-inch, 800 by 480 pixel multitouch

Specs: Android 1.6 (2.1 in late 2010 upgrade), 1 GHz Snapdragon CPU, microSD card for up to 32GB user storage, 5-megapixel rear camera, forward-facing webcam, Wi-Fi B/G, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS

Due: On sale since June 2010 in UK

Fast Company Five Word Review: Part phone, part tablet: Sweet!

Exopc Slate

Exopc's Slate is a unique entry into the iPad rivals game. It sports a custom UI running on top of Windows 7--yes Exopc is daring to go where HP feared to tread. Its an attempt to make Windows 7 much more finger-friendly, and so far reviews suggest it's an experiment that works. It points the way for future Win-slates ... with "modified" MS software.

Price: Approximately $620 to $720

Screen: 11.6-inch, 1366 by 768 pixel dual-touch, pressure-sensitive

Specs: Windows 7 Home Premium, custom Exopc UI layer, Intel Atom 1.6 GHz CPU, 2GB RAM, 32/64 GB SSD, Wi-Fi N, Bluetooth 2.1, 2 USB sockets, HDMI-out, 1.3 megapixel webcam, SD card expansion, dedicated app store

Due: Late September 2010

Fast Company Five Word Review: Windows slate, with unique flavor.

Every Tablet Worth Knowing About

Apple's iPad is here busily redefining the whole mobile PC market by making touchscreen-only tablet PCs cool, hip and user-friendly. It was long-awaited, and hotly-rumored before it arrived earlier in 2010. But oddly enough, despite all that warm up, it hasn't had any real rivals arrive in the intervening months. Until now that is: An army of iPad competitors, clones, family members and bare-faced copies are about to march into battle. We took a stroll among 'em, and picked the best, most interesting or just the weirdest to show you.

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