The HP TouchPad is scheduled to hit store shelves on July 1. And when it does, it just might end up being a fine alternative to Apple's iPad 2. The reason for that is its unique feature set, including the ability to tap an HP smartphone against it to transfer content. Combine that with a vastly improved webOS along with the promise of full multitasking, and the TouchPad might catch the eye of those who don't want an iPad 2.
RIM BlackBerry PlayBook
Research In Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook performed relatively well in the last quarter, with 500,000 units shipped. Although it might not hold up well against the iPad 2 for consumers, it has found a welcoming market in the enterprise. The BlackBerry PlayBook works well when it's integrated with a BlackBerry smartphone, and with a 7-inch display it's designed to be mobile. For enterprise users, it's a fine alternative to the iPad 2.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is already being called the best Android tablet on the market. Because of that, it becomes an obvious alternative to Apple's iPad 2 for those who don't necessarily want to get caught up with an iOS-based device and would rather opt for an Android tablet. The Galaxy Tab's 10.1-inch display is slightly larger than the 9.7-inch option on the iPad 2, which might appeal to those who want a large display to enjoy entertainment content.
Apple MacBook Air
Although Apple won't say so, the iPad 2 and MacBook Air compete against each other. Apple's MacBook Air comes with a lightweight and thin footprint that will appeal to those who want to be mobile. Thanks to its Mac OS X installation, users will be able to have access to apps in the Mac App Store, as well as more-capable programs not found on iOS. Mac OS X "Lion," which is scheduled to launch next month, will bring multitouch gestures to the platform, helping the MacBook Air appeal to those seeking hands-on functionality.
Sony is expected to launch the S1 tablet this fall. The device will come with a 9.4-inch screen and run Android. But what makes it compelling is Sony's decision to include its Qriocity music and movie service with the device, as well as access to PlayStation Suite, a platform that will allow users to play old PlayStation games on the tablet. Will the S1 take out the iPad 2? Probably not. But it might catch on with some consumers.
In addition to the S1, Sony is planning to launch its S2 tablet later this year as well. That device will come with two 5.5-inch displays that can be used in conjunction or separately, bringing a unique experience to the tablet market. Moreover, the device will feature a clamshell design, allowing users to fold one display over the other for simple mobility. On paper, the S2 sounds like a compelling alternative to the iPad 2.
Apple iPhone 4
Although there are undoubtedly many folks who have both a smartphone and a tablet, there are others who have instead decided to get one or the other. For those people, choosing an iPhone 4 rather than an iPad 2 might not be such a bad idea. After all, Apple's smartphone boasts the same operating system as the iPad and features the same touch-screen functionality. Even better, it combines that with the ability to place calls. If a consumer wants a single mobile device, choosing the iPhone 4 is a fine idea.
HP Pavilion dm3t Laptop
If users want to be more productive while on the go, HP's Pavilion dm3t notebook could help them achieve that goal. The device comes with a 13.3-inch display and runs Windows 7. It has a 1.2GHz Intel processor and 320GB of storage. The best part is the device, which will offer far more functionality than the iPad 2, has a starting price of $499.99, the same price as the entry-level iPad 2 with only 16GB of storage.
The Toshiba Thrive could be one of the more compelling of the upcoming alternatives to the iPad 2. The device, which is scheduled to launch in July, comes with a 10.1-inch display and will run Android 3.1. It has both a front- and rear-facing camera and offers the ability to connect USB devices to it that can be managed with a built-in file manager. Although it's WiFi-only at launch, its starting price of $429.99 for 8GB and $479.99 for 16GB of storage makes it a cheaper option than Apple's iPad 2.
Samsung Series 5 Chromebook
Samsung's Series 5 Chromebook won't necessarily appeal to every customer out there. A solid argument can be made that the iPad 2 is a better device. But if certain folks don't want to join the iOS craze and would prefer to try something new, going with the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook is just fine. The device is small, easily mobile and, as long as a Web connection is always available, some buyers could find it the best way yet to capitalize on the cloud.