iPad alternatives: Android Tablets
While the Apple iPad have gotten a foothold in the tablet market, Android based tablets are looking to take the iPad head on. Tablets are growing in popularity in the market between phone and computer. Tablets are looking to completely take over netbooks in the very popular niches between laptops and smart phones. The iPad has been marketed as a larger version of the very well known iPhone and there have been hints that we will see Android tablets very soon. Hints taken. The wait is over. They are here. It was naturally expected when Apple entered tablet market that Android tablets were sure to follow and they have. While lesser known Archos and Camangi have lead the way for early Android tablets, bigger names such as Dell, Samsung, Asus, LG, Toshiba, and Acer are reserving a seat at what appears to be a very competitive market.
While Asus, LG, and Acer sit back before releasing their tablets in Q1 of 2011, Dell, Samsung, Toshiba and the lesser known brands take the initial risk to dethrone the iPad during the busy holiday season. What exactly do these companies offer and why should you consider them over Apple's iPad?
The Archos 7 Home Tablet have been out for many months now. Released since June, the Archos 7 have had some time to receive some diverse reviews. Not as big as the iPad (9.7 in), the 7 inch Archos is still a good Android alternative. The Archos 7 sports an 800 x 480 TFT and a 600 MHz Arm9 Rockchip RK2808 processor. Equipped with Android 1.5 out of the box, it may a bit outdated in terms of the latest and greatest operating system but for those new to Android, 1.5 will look fresh compared to iOS. The Archos 7 has it's flaws. On top of old Android, the 600 mhz Rockchip processor feels sluggish on the device. It seems that Archos put the wrong chip-set in the wrong device. Their Archos 5 Internet Tablet has a faster 800 MHz Texas Instrument OMAP 3430 processor but on a smaller 5 inch (4.8) device. Another quirk about the Archos tablets is that it uses resistive single-touch technology while the standard has been capacitive multi-touch for a good tech generation now. Besides all the quirks, the Archos 7 is competitively priced at around $200 while the faster yet smaller Archos 5 starts at around $250.
New Archos Tablets
Archos has announced that they will launch 5 new tablets in time for the holiday season! They will range from $99 to $299 and 2.8" to 10.1" screens respectively. All will run on Android 2.2 "Froyo" and the top 3 will sport 1 GHz ARM Cortex A8 processors. The top 2 Archos 70 and Archos 101 will have capacitive touch screens. Archos is looking to be giving the tablet market the most options right now.
Enter the Samsung Galaxy Tab. It is teased to be released in Berlin,
Germany on September 2nd. This will be the first big direct competitor
to Apple's iPad. It will be interesting to see how a major phone manufacture
like Samsung do against media giant Apple. The Samsung Galaxy Tab is
very well equipped to take on the iPad. Like it's smart phone cousins the Galaxy S,
the Galaxy Tab also sports the 1 ghz Hummingbird processor which is
plenty fast enough to handle Android. Speaking of Android, the Galaxy
Tab will be launched with Android 2.2. Unlike the Archos, the Galaxy
Tab will support multi-touch as well as having a capacitive display.
These 2 features already puts the Galaxy Tab ahead of the Archos in
terms of technology. Like the smaller Galaxy smart phones, the Galaxy
Tab will feature Samsung's 7 inch super AMOLED screen. A very rich and
gorgeous high contrast screen where blacks are darker than night. YUM! The iPad's screen is, however, bigger diagonally by 2 inches. Not a big deal at all.
The Dell Streak is a 5 inch smart phone/tablet that may be worthy of your money. Released mid summer of 2010 in the UK, you can pick one up for $300 with a 2 year carrier contract with AT&T. Sporting the famous 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, it is plenty fast compared to other high end smart phones which also uses this power plant. Unlike the iPad, the Dell Streak doesn't feel like a tablet. Instead, it feel like a large smart phone. If you are looking to consolidate your devices, the Dell Streak might be the smart phone/tablet for you.
The Toshiba Folio looks like the second serious tablet looking to take a shot at Apple's tablet market share (Next to the Galaxy Tab). This 10.1 inch wide screen VGA (1024 x 600 pixels) tablet will be powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 processor. This power plant will be expected to push at least 1Ghz and support Adobe Flash 10.1 out of the box. Official specs have not yet been released but this ARM Cortex A9 dual core will be capable to cloak speed of up to 1 GHz per core. It will be interesting to see the final specs since the Toshiba Folio only sports a puny 1020 mAH battery. Toshiba claims up to 7 hours of battery life which sounds extremely generous considering the potential supersonic cloak speeds. All we can expect is a capacity multi-touch screen and a price tag. Regardless, the Toshiba Folio looks solid. With 16 GB of internal storage, a 10 inch screen, and Android 2.2, the Folio looks like a high end Android tablet worthy of comparison to Apple's iPad.
If you are looking at some iPad alternatives, keep an eye on some Android tablets. On the cell phone market, Android has proven to be very competitive and capable OS. Expect fierce competition late in the season as large computer manufacturers Acer, Asus, and LG try their take on the tablet market. While iPad has a head start on the tablet market, Android based tablets will give Apple some solid competition. Expect the Folio and the Galaxy Tab to be hot sellers this holiday season.