Tablets, Comparison 2010 Apple iPad H.P. Slate Dell Streak BlackBerry PlayBook Samsung Galaxy Tab
Samsung Galaxy Tab
The Galaxy Tab from Samsung is one of the few real competitors to Apple’s iPad. Available through all four major cellphone carriers, the Galaxy runs on Google’s Android 2.2 operating system, which means it comes with some features — turn-by-turn navigation, voice dictation, Flash support — that either cost extra on the iPad or are not available at all. Prices vary depending on the carrier, but expect to pay between $400 and $600.
Refusing to cede tablet ground to the likes of Apple, Google and Microsoft, smartphone maker Research In Motion has been developing the PlayBook, part of its BlackBerry line of devices. The PlayBook will be available in 2011, though R.I.M. has shown prototypes already. Expect full Flash support for the Web, compatibility with corporate servers and enhanced security features.
Dell was one of the first computer makers to respond to the iPad, releasing the Streak in August. The Streak has a five-inch screen, smaller than the eight- to 10-inch screens common in tablets. With dimensions like that, the Streak occupies the space between the smartphone and the tablet.
The on-again, off-again Slate was in the works for some time. In October Hewlett-Packard, the world’s largest PC manufacturer, introduced the Slate, its first tablet. Running a touch-optimized version of Microsoft Windows 7, the Slate is initially being targeted at business users. That would explain its enterprise-level price: $800.
Since its release in April, Apple’s iPad has sold more than 7.5 million units. The iPad comes in several versions, with different memory capacities and an available cellular connection via AT&T (in October, Verizon started selling the iPad with an external 3G-to-Wi-Fi wireless router). For now, the iPad remains the dominant tablet computer.
2010 was supposed to be the Year of the Tablet. That did not really happen — the flood of product was reduced to a trickle, as many manufacturers awaited a more tablet-friendly operating system from Google. So, once more, with feeling: 2011 will be the Year of the Tablet. Several new models have either been released, or are in a very advanced state of preview. This interactive guide can help sort through the latest offerings. Use the checkbox at the top of each listing to select it for comparison. And check back frequently — this page will be updated as new information or models are released.