Forget About The iPad: What Other Tablets Are Out There?

So the iPad isn't completely useless. Despite calling the device for old people, Gizmodo brought up a good point by suggesting that the iPad is really the iPhone for netbooks: it's easy to use, does one thing at a time, and looks great while doing it. As the writer put it, "It's a complex computer simplified."

Well for those people who don't really want a simplified (and arguably dumbed-down) computer, alternatives actually do exist.

In anticipation of Apple's iPad announcement, Microsoft and HP announced a tablet of their own: the HP Slate (pictured above). Despite its great looks, the hype got a little out of hand and once the device was unveiled people were disappointed. The reason for the letdown is because it is just running Windows 7 and has a few tweaks built in here and there. The only way it is different than the netbooks you see in stores today is that doesn't have a keyboard. The HP Slate really was a missed opportunity but in light of the iPad, now it doesn't seem so bad.

The HP Slate can do a few key things that the iPad cannot: it has a full-fledged operating system which means you can install any Windows software you want as well as multitask, plus it has a built-in webcam. However not much is known about the HP Slate, including its price which could be a real deal breaker if too high.

Unveiled around the same time is a new tablet from MSI due for release this year. The neat thing about this tablet however is that it is running Google's mobile software Android. Now I have mentioned Android on this blog before, but not as much as I should have. Android is some pretty strong software and a lot of people consider it to be the first real threat to Apple's mobile software found on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and now iPad. With a good-sized app store of its own, some pretty decent multitasking, and chock full of customization features, Android on a tablet could be a killer combination against the iPad.

Not much is known about the specifications of the device, but one key factor is the inclusion of the Tegra processor - a blazing fast mobile processor that can handle many tasks and HD video with ease. The Android tablet  is also releasing at a very familiar pricetag: $500. Check out a hands-on video below (note: the tablet you see in the video below is running early software so it is not running at its best right now).

Finally, Dell has also thrown its hat into the tablet ring by unveiling its own "Streak". This is yet another tablet running Android software that has been customized by Dell. The device is similar to the MSI tablet mentioned above and includes multitasking and user-optional customization not found in the iPad. WiFi, SIM card slot for 3G support, 5 megapixel camera, 4GB internal storage and a smaller 5-inch screen. (Check out a hands-on video here). 

So as you can see there are plenty of alternatives to the iPad coming out soon and things will only get more interesting for tablets from here on out.


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