10 Mobile, Entertainment Products to Buy Before the Apple iPad

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10 Mobile, Entertainment Products to Buy Before the Apple iPad

by Don Reisinger

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Apple's iPhone is easily one of the most viable products on the market today. In many respects, it trumps the iPad. The iPhone runs the same OS version as the iPad, but it adds phone capability. Even better, all the apps in Apple's App Store work with the iPhone and they all are displayed in full-screen. For $99 for an entry-level iPhone 3G, it's also more affordable.

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iPod Touch

The iPad is little more than a big iPod Touch. It boasts the same operating system, it has all the same features, and it runs apps. And since the iPod Touch offers a more affordable price tag, the only major advantage the iPad enjoys is its bigger screen. But do users really want to carry a 9.7-inch display with them wherever they go? Isn't it much easier for users to pop the device into a pocket?

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Amazon Kindle

iBooks are a key feature for the iPad. Users can download books and view them in full-color on the device. It's a nice option. But Amazon's Kindle delivers similar functionality with the same distribution model. Plus, it runs E-ink technology, rather than use a backlit display, which does reduce eye strain. If ebooks are what some folks are looking for, the Kindle might be a better option.

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Google Nexus One

Although the iPhone is the leader in the mobile market, Google's Nexus One is a fine mobile alternative to the iPad. It boasts Android, which is a well-designed OS in its own right, and offers almost all of the functionality offered in the iPad. But like the iPhone, the Nexus One is a mobile phone, so it might be a more attractive option to some consumers who aren't convinced that they need a tablet PC.

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HP Slate

Although HP's Slate has yet to hit store shelves, some would be more likely to buy that tablet than the iPad. The device is designed quite similarly to the iPad, but it boasts Windows 7. That's especially important to enterprise customers who want employees to be productive while they're on the go. At this point, the Slate seems like a good bet.

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Windows Phone 7 Series Device

Windows Phone 7 Series won't be available for months, but based on what Microsoft has shown off to this point, picking up a Windows Phone 7 Series device might be a better option than the iPad. The devices will obviously sport phone functionality, but they will combine that with a neat new software interface that could easily trump the iPad on several fronts. Windows Phone 7 Series is worth looking out for.

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MacBook Pro

If users are thinking about buying an iPad as a productivity tool, they should look elsewhere. Apple's MacBook Pro, for example, combines power, mobility and the company's highly regarded Mac OS X to offer far more functionality than the iPad can muster. Granted, a MacBook Pro is more expensive, but the iPad can't perform a fraction of the tasks the MacBook Pro can.

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Apple TV

Apple keeps touting the iPad as an entertainment product that allows users to view movies and television shows they download from iTunes. But with a 9.7-inch display, that experience probably won't be all that great. That's why the Apple TV might be a more attractive purchase for entertainment lovers. Like the iPad, the device features iTunes, but content can be viewed on a television, rather than a small display. And at $229, it's nicely affordable.

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Xbox 360

Part of the allure of Apple's App Store is the selection of games. Users can find just about any title from a wide array of developers. But the gaming experience pales in comparison to the Xbox 360. Plus, Microsoft's console delivers Netflix streaming, online gaming, and the ability to download movies and television shows. It combines some of the best aspects of Apple's iPad and improves upon them. And for $299, it's more affordable than the iPad.

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Netbooks might not be a single product, but just about any well-designed netbook might be a better choice than the iPad. Apple is touting the iPad as a mobile computing device. But as mentioned in previous slides, it lacks the software required to make it a viable productivity solution. Netbooks don't. Most netbooks run Windows or Linux, making them ideal devices to use when going mobile. They're fine alternatives to the iPad.

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