Android Tablets Compete With the iPad

Apple's iPad has unleashed a stampede of tablets. Everyone is getting into the act, from laptop makers to phone carriers, and most of them will run their tablets on Android.

Laptop Manufacturers Jumping In
Dell's 5-inch Streak received a luke-warm reception -it's too small, too expensive and runs a very old version of Android -but there is a 7-inch Android tablet in the works. On the other hand, the Windows 7-based Dell Inspiron Duo convertible notebook with a rotating 10-inch screen draws wide eyes.

While HP develops a Windows 7-based tablet called the Slate, the Palm acquisition appears on the radar, and now rumor has it we'll see a webOS tablet with an App Store in 2011. Samsung comes on strong with a 7-inch tablet called the Galaxy Tab and will supposedly be available soon. Laptop manufacturers, including Lenovo (LePad), Acer, Asus (Eee Pad), Toshiba (yes, maker of Toshiba HDTVs) and others have announced intentions to offer a tablet device, most likely running Android. The 2011 CES will likely be the "Year of the Tablet".

Tablets Coming from all directions
Expect tablets from major handset manufacturers like HTC (with the rumored Android 3.0) and Motorola. RIM's new 7-inch tablet, the BlackPad, is expected to be running on a brand new highly robust platform from RIM's recently acquired QNX Software Systems. This could easily become the "enterprise tablet".

Cisco has announced an Android tablet called the Cius, monitor vendor Viewsonic (G Tablet) will have a tablet, and even best Best Buy plans to sell a private-label Android tablet branded "Rocketfish."

Apple is rumored to be developing three new iPads (5.6-inch, 7-inch and 9.7-inch) with OLED displays and possibly two cameras for FaceTime compatibility.

Sadly, it looks likely that the Galaxy Tab will be the only iPad alternative available for the holidays. If you can wait for the floodgates to open, there could be some realistic iPad competitors in 2011.

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