Sony DashSony’s Dash is one of the cheapest offerings in the slate market. The device is designed to give consumers the ability to view the Web, use e-mail, listen to music, and interact with friends on social networks with built-in apps. Users can also view images right on the 7-inch LCD display. Not bad for $199.99. It’s available now.
HP SlateHP’s Slate made its first appearance during Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s keynote. The device features multitouch control. Best of all, it runs Windows 7 (unlike many of the other products in this roundup) and includes a deal with Amazon where users can read the company’s entire catalog of Kindle e-books. HP’s Slate is scheduled to hit store shelves towards the end of the year.
Lenovo IdeaPad U1 HybridThe Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid is easily one of the most exciting tablets to come out of CES. The device, which is a little costly at $999.99, is a notebook with a detachable screen. In other words, it can be used as a notebook for those times when users want work with the keyboard, but a tablet for simple tasks and e-reading. Even better, it has an 11.6-inch HD LED display.
Freescale TabletFreescale Semiconductor does things a little differently. Rather than sell its new “smartbook,” the company has designed a tablet for vendors to use and sell under their own brands. When vendors consider Freescale’s tablet, they’ll like what they find: a seven-inch display; Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 3G connectivity; native applications; and thanks to its simple design, the possibility of selling it for less than $200. It can run Linux or Android.
Barnes and Noble NookIt might not feature all the tablet options consumers would find in Apple’s iSlate, but the Barnes and Noble Nook is poised to offer a viable e-reader alternative to anything Apple can muster. The device features a 16-level gray scale display for a relatively competitive price of $259. It accommodates over 1 million books in Barnes and Noble’s store. It will ship in February.
JooJooAlthough it was born in the midst of a legal battle with Web 2.0 blog TechCrunch over its original name, CrunchPad, the JooJoo is attempting to become an iSlate competitor. The device features a 12.1-inch display and multitouch capability. Users can connect to the Web via Wi-Fi. The device also has Bluetooth connectivity. Perhaps most importantly for such a large-screen device, the JooJoo boasts 1080p support. The JooJoo retails for $499.99. The company plans to ship it in 8-10 weeks.
Fujitsu LifeBook T4410Fujitsu’s LifeBook T4410 is another exciting product that is designed specifically for enterprise customers. The device runs Windows 7 and includes a hinged display that can be placed atop the keyboard for those times when typing isn’t necessary. The LifeBook T4410 features an available (not standard) multitouch display for those who want to use gestures to control the on-screen content. It also comes with a stylus for the more traditional tablet users. It’s available now. Pricing starts at $1,199.
Viliv S5The Viliv S5 is an interesting product because it doesn’t quite fit within any single category. In fact, it might be better to describe it as a touch-capable Ultra-Mobile PC. The small product (it has just a 4.8-inch display) offers touch capabilities and an on-screen keyboard with haptic feedback. It offers hefty hard drives (30GB or 60GB) and runs Windows XP Home. Admittedly, the Viliv S5 is designed for the entertainment buff who might want to surf the Web every now and then. But it’s still an interesting device.
Archos 9 PCtabletArchos has long been a boutique vendor offering unique, yet expensive products for niche markets. With the launch of its Archos 9 PCtablet, the company is attempting to reach the mainstream. The device runs Windows 7 on its 8.9-inch LED touch display. The device isn’t as powerful as those from Fujitsu or Lenovo, but it will offer consumers the chance to surf the Web, view e-mail, and perform basic Windows tasks. It’s available now for $549.99.
Amazon KindleAmazon’s Kindle has perhaps the most to lose in the tablet market. Almost every slate announced at CES offered the ability to view e-books in full color. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the experience will be better than the Kindle’s, but it’s quickly becoming clear that without color, the Kindle could become a hobbled player in the space. Either way, it’s still the top e-reader on the market today for an affordable price of $259.