For much of 2010, the iPad was regarded as the superior tablet to many and its rivals found it hard to take any of that market share away from it. However, most of the major players in the Android market decided it would be right to ensure bloggers had no break at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show by launching a wealth of Android tablets on them in the mere few days the show ran.
Now that it’s over, today we’ll look at our favorite Android tablet announcements from this year’s CES.
Whilst the Samsung Galaxy Tab is not technically a CES-born tablet, the makers decided to announce a WiFi only version at the show. This joins the 3G version and the 4G tablet also announced.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab is a 7-inch Android 2.2 tablet with a 3 megapixel camera and support for Flash 10.1. The 3G version, already available, also has calling abilities out of the box.
Price: Unannounced (WiFi), Around $629 (3G)
Availability: Early 2011 (WiFi), Now (3G)
The ASUS Eee Pad Slider is one of a handful of Android and Windows tablets and smartphones launched at CES. It runs the upcoming Honeycomb version of Android at 3.0. As the name suggests, you can slide the tablet to reveal a hard keyboard, adding extra bulk.
This tablet also runs the nVidia Tegra 2 chipset announced at CES. It has the usual ports in addition to a USB port and a SIM card for 3G browsing. The price has, unusually, already been announced and is very competitive with the iPad at $499 for a 16GB version (built-in, unexpanded capacities are 16GB, 32GB and 64GB).
Price: From $499
Toshiba’s tablet offering does not yet have a name, but it is known to be a Honeycomb-running, 10.1-inch tablet with a nVidia Tegra 2 processor. The tablet has everything you’ve come to expect on Android tablets: USB, mini-USB and the standard SD card slot for expansion.
Dell was one of the first mainstream Android tablet producers, and at CES they announced a 7-inch version of their previous 5-inch Android tablet. The Dell Streak 7 runs Android 2.2 as well and has a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera.
A fact we love about this specific tablet is that it runs off a nVidia Tegra T20 dual-core chip clocked at 1GHz. The clock speed is certainly nothing special (the iPad, for example, runs it’s A4 processor also at 1GHz) but there’s been a lot of buzz around nVidia’s Tegra offering this year.
Availability: Expected in February
Vizio was one of the first to launch a tablet (and accompanying smartphone) at CES this year, with the focus being co-operating with their already established TV ecosystem.
Vizio’s offering is a little different to others with an 8″ capacitive touch screen. The specs, however, are fairly standard to Android tablets: 1GHz processor, SD card slot for expansion and TV playback (this time, naturally for a TV company, via HDMI).
Motorola’s big announcement was the Xoom, teased before hand in the nifty “History of Tablets” video that made its way around the web before CES. The Xoom was regarded, and awarded (in CNET’s official CES awards), as CES’s Best in Show.
The Xoom is an Android 3.0 Honeycomb device with a dual-core processor and a 10.1-inch touch screen. It features rear and front-facing cameras an 3G antenna. There will be a hardware and software update to 4G later on in the year, and apparently a WiFi version too.
Price: $800 MAP on Verizon
Availability: Q1 2011 (with 4G update in Q2)
But Android Tablets Are “Bizarre”
That’s the sentiment of Apple COO (currently taking on Steve Jobs’s day-to-day duties) during Apple’s latest earnings call. He referred to Android tablets as “bizarre” and just a “scaled-up smartphone”. Cook had confidence that the iPad would maintain a high market share and didn’t seem that worried about the new competition.
Whilst the Android community may ignore these comments, there is some truth. Some don’t like the standard 7-inch size of Android tablets, myself included. Generally this small size is down to the current versions of Android not officially supporting tablet-size tablets. However, the influx of new 10-inch, Honeycomb tablets will surely be some real competition for Apple to address on their release of the iPad 2.
But Which Will Be Vaporware?
Certainly, out of these, there doesn’t seem to be much potential vaporware. The Toshiba Tablet doesn’t have a name, so there’s a small chance that this may not make it to the shelves in its current form. Toshiba may end up deciding to change the specifications around before they let consumers (and the press) get their hands on it.
Are you excited for any of these tablet launches? Let us know in the comments!