iPad-killing tablets claim to be on the way. Here are some to watch.
Tablets occupy the important space between laptop and smartphone that you didn’t even know you needed a few years ago—and they are on the rise. Naturally, every tablet-making company has the popular Apple iPad in its crosshairs. And though there’s plenty of debate over whether any non-Apple products can step in for people who live an iLife, here are six tablets to watch.
Amazon Kindle Fire
Amazon’s tablet is smaller and cheaper than an iPad, and it’s being marketed as such. With a 7-inch display and a customized version of Google’s Android operating system, this tablet is made for media consumption. It lacks the bells and whistles of other tablets, such as no camera or 3G connection, but industry experts predict its simplicity and price point will set it apart this holiday season.
From $199 for 8 GB version
Motorola Xoom 3G Version
Motorola’s powerful and speedy tablet has a larger and sharper screen than the iPad 2, with twice the memory. The Android tablet runs on a Google operating system that lets anyone create apps for it. Front and back cameras are an extra perk, and Gmail users will love its easy compatability with Gmail text and video messaging, Google Calendar and other Google features. It’s a bit more expensive and heavier than the iPad 2 (think more laptop than tablet).
From $599 for 32 GB, 3G version
Lenovo IdeaPad K1
The sharp, 10-inch screen on this tablet that comes ready right out of the box is a non-techie’s dream. It has the same dual-core processor as the Motorola Xoom, so it has a similar speed and Google apps work well on this Android gadget. Are you a social media fan? A “SocialTouch” feature centralizes all your accounts with Facebook and Twitter, and you can customize different modes for home, commute and work use.
From $499.99 for 32 GB version
So-called “Crackberry” addicts will love this tablet designed just for them. With a smaller screen and lighter weight than both the iPad and Android tablets, it’s more like a BlackBerry on steroids. It runs some Google Android apps, and for business travelers, a useful micro-USB port and two cameras facilitate video conferencing. Word processing, spreadsheet and other business apps work well with BlackBerry phones. It will pair with any smartphone as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot.
From $499 for 16 GB version
Samsung 10.1 Galaxy Tab 4G
For those who don’t use Apple products, this light tablet runs on the Android system (giving users the benefit of the Android apps). Compatible with 4G phones and data plans, it will load Web pages fast. Another gadget with a social conscience, Samsung’s Social Hub will pull together emails, contacts and calendar items for Twitter, Google+ and Facebook devotees.
From $529 for 4G version
Apple iPad 2 (3G version)
Perhaps we’re cheating by including an iPad in the “potential killer” category, but Apple’s iPad 2 really is the choice for Mac users who are focused on all their i-products. It’s faster and lighter than many Google Android tablets, including the Motorola Xoom, and has a 10-hour battery (two hours more life than most). Sync with your iTunes, stream HD media to your HDTV, and you can now use Apple’s free online “iCloud” hard drive as a mobile storage spot.
From $629 for 16 GB, 3G Version
Images courtesy of ©2011 Amazon.com, Inc., ©2011 Motorola Mobility, Inc., ©2011 Lenova,
©2011 Research In Motion Limited, ©2011 SAMSUNG and ©2011 Apple Inc.
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