Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab Lead Tablet Choices for Consumers

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Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab Lead Tablet Choices for Consumers

by Clint Boulton

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With its sleek, elegant design and roomy 9.7-inch screen, the iPad set the bar high for the tablet market. Multitouch-enabled, the machine offers iPhone capability on a bigger screen with a 10-hour battery.

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Apple's App Store, with 300,000 titles, provides the choice mobile Web users have come to expect. More than 25,000 of these apps are geared specifically for the larger palette of the iPad.

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Pricing/Storage Plans

Apple offers flexible pricing and connection models. The 16GB WiFi-only model starts at $499, a reasonable price for a new computer with a pleasant user experience. Users can pay $599 for a 32GB WiFi-only model, or $699 for a 64GB WiFi unit. Consumers may also buy an iPad with WiFi and 3G for $629 (16GB), $729 (32GB) and $829 (64GB).

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Hardly Perfect

However, iPad 1.0 is missing dual cameras to enable video calling, as well as multiple USB slots, the hallmark of any new computer these days. Expect Apple to remedy that, and to allow the iPad to operate on both GSM- and CDMA-based networks next year.

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Galaxy Tab

Samsung's Galaxy Tab is the first significant effort to cut into the iPad, of which Apple has sold millions of units. This Android 2.2-based tablet sports a 7-inch screen, situating it somewhere between a smartphone and the iPad. It also weighs only 13.5 ounces, making it easier to carry compared to the 1.5-pound iPad.

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Video Cameras

While some, notably Apple CEO Steve Jobs, argue the 7-inch screen is too small to provide the true tablet experience of the iPad, the Tab sports two video camera for video calling. No multiple USB ports, though.

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100,000 Apps

Users may choose from more than 100,000 apps in the Android Market, though take heed: Android 2.2 is not optimized for tablets. Expect the Tab to get the bump to Android 2.3, the Gingerbread build geared for tablets. Until then, who knows what Android apps will look like on the Tab.

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Carrier Pricing

Verizon is selling the Tab sans contract for $599. AT&T undercut its rival by a smidge, offering it for $649 and $14.99 for 250 MB, or $25 for 2GB of storage. T-Mobile and Sprint both sell it for $399 with a two-year deal. U.S. Cellular also sells it $599 sans contract or for $399 with a $14.99 plan for 200MB of storage, and $54.99 a month for 5GB of storage.

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Not everyone wants an iPad or a Tab, we know that. Archos has released some svelt looking Android tablets. With a 10.1-inch screen, the Archos 101 is similar to the iPad in form factor, but one can get an Archos tablet with a 3-inch screen, too. The Archos 101 starts at $299.99 for 8 GB, with a 16 GB version available for $349.99.

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Now it's time for something a little different. Like the Archos 10, the ViewSonic ViewPad 7 sports a 10.1-inch screen. However, it sports a unique value proposition: It is configured to run both Android and Microsoft's Windows 7 Home Premium. ViewSonic has several other choices, which you may peruse here. The ViewPad 7 costs $479.

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