The Apple iPad is the tablet that is currently ruling the slate market and all expectations are that the next generation iPad will be unveiled sometime in the near future. But it appears that this year will be a most difficult year for Apple’s greatest device to succeed in reaching the topmost position on the market. For, the Consumer Electronics Show at Las Vegas witnessed the unveiling of almost all the iPad rivals that will be fighting it out in the market this year.
The Motorola Xoom
Every one knows the tablet that got the most attention at the CES was Motorola’s Android tablet, the Xoom. The Xoom was named “Best In Show”, and it appears that there is no reason why anybody should not call it so.
The best feature about the new tablet is that it runs Google’s latest Android operating system, Android 3.0 “Honeycomb”. As you might know, the new OS is the first Android version that has been built specifically for the more powerful processors of tablets and for the devices with a large screen size.
The 2.X versions of Android were not intended for tablets, although a few of the companies had released a lot of Android Froyo and Gingerbread running tablets.
On the specs side, the Motorola Xoom comes equipped with a dual core processor, a 10.1-inch display with a resolution of 1200×800, a front facing 2-megapixel camera for video calling and a rear 5-megapixel one that can shoot HD video at 780p.
The device looked cool and felt great hands-on, but no one got to know more details about the software. The OS does needs much work to be done on it, but it is worth the wait.
The OS still performed really well on the upcoming tablet. We are anxiously waiting to get our hands on the final product.
And for those of you who are praying to see the iPad coming down from its current glory, the Xoom is a bit better than the original iPad when it comes to the display size, processor, RAM and cameras.
But you must realize that the Xoom will be facing an entirely new iPad on the market this year, the iPad 2.
Notion Ink Adam
Most people would think that the tablets that won’t be running Android will have no chance at all on the market – but not the Notion Ink Adam.
The impressive feature about this tablet is that it comes with the Eden UI, which is an interface layer that sits on top of Android 2.2 “Froyo”, but completely changes the way applications are handled on a tablet.
The new interface breaks up the screen into three vertical bands. With this feature, you will be able to run each application in a semi-interactive mode without using the resources required by the full app.
The device also comes equipped with the Pixel Qi display that allows users to read outside, while taking up less power and therefore extends the battery life.
It also has NVIDIA Tegra 250, a 3.2 MP Autofocus swivel camera (faces forward or backward), a 3 cell 24.6Whr battery, dual core Cortex A-9, ULP GPU, and 1GB of DDR2 RAM.
But still, all devices come with some trouble, right? Because of the new UI, Adam won’t be able to support stock Android apps or the app market. But the company plans to counter this by launching its own app store.
But, this is certain to become a huge burden on the company since it will have to make sure that Adam users are getting ported version of the most popular apps.
RIM BlackBerry PlayBook
RIM is having a tough time on the smartphone market with all the latest phones from other manufacturers becoming customer favorites. But the company is hoping to get a firm grip on the tablet market with the release of its latest product, the BlackBerry PlayBook.
The RIM tablet is smaller than the iPad and comes equipped with a 1GHz dual core processor, 1GB of RAM, a 7 inch LCD display with 1024 x 600 screen resolution, microUSB, micro HDMI and DLNA connectivity, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, Adobe Flash 10.1 support, built-in support for HTML 5, a 5 MP rear facing camera, and a 3 MP front camera.
The multitasking that comes with the tablet really looks cool, and the UI both looked good and felt responsive.
The new RIM tablet runs an OS developed by QNX, which is famous for its multi-threaded OS for embedded systems. Because of that background, the new device really seems to take advantage of its dual-core processor.
But since all the developers are more interested in iOS and Android, it’s unlikely that the QNX OS can generate its own developer ecosystem. This will be trouble for RIM since it will have to populate the PlayBook with competitive apps.
Samsung says that the TX100 comes with the benefits of a light and compact Tablet PC together with easy typing and enhanced productivity, but it looks more like an ultra-thin notebook.
But it’s also very much like a tablet with a very light, thin and innovative overall design and it incorporates a 10.1-inch multi touch LCD display with a resolution of 1366 x 768.
The surprise factor about this new tablet is that it has a slide-out keyboard that transforms it into a touchscreen netbook.
Despite having the QWERTY keyboard, the device felt slim, and with a claimed 9 hours of battery life and an Intel Atom CPU, the device might catch the minds of a few.
LG’s G-Slate also runs Honeycomb, and is designed to work on T-Mobile’s super fast HSPDA+ 4G network, which might help in getting higher sales numbers.
The G-Slate will be among the first 4G tablets to fully benefit from the tablet-optimized Android 3.0 platform, and it will also feature the latest Google Mobile innovations including Google Maps 5.0 with 3D interaction, collection of more than 3 million eBooks and Google Talk with video and voice chat.
Asus Eee Tablets
While all the other manufacturers focused on a single tablet to rival the iPad, Asus had a different idea. At CES, the company unveiled four new tablets, the Eee Slate EP121, the Eee Pad Transformer, the Eee Pad Slider and the Eee Pad MeMO (pictured below).
While three of the new tablets were announced by the company to run Honeycomb, the Eee Slate EP121 was said to come with Windows 7 Home Premium.
Later on, news was out that forced us to believe that Asus wont be creating waves on the tablet market this year.
Asus did not know the detailed technical specifications requirements of the Honeycomb OS. Therefore, those three new tablets won’t run Android 3.0.
Who Will Win?
Among the above said tablets, the Xoom is the one that is expected to become the greatest rival to the Apple iPad. But, it’s too early to say who will be coming out on the top after this year’s battle.
At the least, we can wait till Apple unveils its iPad 2. Then we will get an idea about who will succeed and who will be aiming at a new tablet for CES 2012.