Non-Apple Tablets From A to Z10:00 AM EST Mon. Feb. 01, 2010
Introduced at CES 2010 like so many other of its brethren, Archos' newest Internet tablet device joins the Archos 5 and Archos 7 (the model numbers refer to the display size). The Archos 9 PCTablet comes with an 8.9-inch LED backlight display for full HD video support, and more importantly, the device is extremely thin at 0.67 inches and weighs approximately 1.7 pounds or 800 grams. The Archos 9 also comes with Windows 7 Starter Edition, a 60-GB hard drive, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, and approximately 5 hours of battery life for a single charge. Price: $549.
The mysterious Asus tablet PC (or at least an early prototype version of it) made some brief appearances at CES earlier this month, but details about the new Eee Pad were scarce. What we do know is that the device will come with Nvidia's new Tegra 2 mobile system-on-a-chip (SoC) platform. The new Eee Pad will have touch screen capabilities and design similar to Asus' EeeTop all-in-one PCs. Asus is reportedly considering both a mini-tablet with a 4-inch display as well as a larger 7-inch model. Both models will be dwarfed by the Apple iPad's 9-inch screen, but the Tegra 2 should give the device plenty of power. Price: TBD.
Compal's as-yet-unnamed tablet PC is another new device shown off by Nvidia during CES (Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang holds the Compal tablet during his press conference). And like the Asus Eee Pad, the Compal model will come with Nvidia's next-generation version of Tegra. It also boasts a 7-inch touch screen, 3G wireless connectivity, and will reportedly sport Google's Android operating system. Compal hasn't said exactly when the device will launch. Price: TBD.
So the rumors proved to be true. Dell introduced a 5-inch mini-tablet PC at CES, although the device was a "concept," which is a step below prototype. In fact, the only thing Dell has said about its tablet is that it has a 5-inch display and will be marketed as a companion device for PC owners. That's it. Nothing about the processor or OS or connectivity. However, Dell also introduced its new Android-based Mini 3 smartphone with AT&T 3G wireless support, so that should provide some clues as to how the 5-inch tablet will look when -- or if? -- it's released.
Remember TechCrunch's CrunchPad fiasco? It seems that after all the controversy and allegations flying back and forth between Fusion Garage and Tech Crunch's Michael Arrington, Fusion Garage went ahead with the tablet PC project and rebranded it the JooJoo. You know, kind of like the candy, except without the "be" on the end. Anyway, the JooJoo is one of the largest devices of the 2010 tablet craze, with a 12.1-inch multi-touch display. Fusion Garage's device comes with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, as well as a 4-GB solid state drive, a Web cam for video conferencing with a microphone, and one USB port. Full 1080p HD video playback is supported but there's no HDMI port. The JooJoo reportedly runs on a Unix-based OS that automatically boots to a Web browser. While the JooJoo is available for pre-order, Fusion Garage could be hampered by Arrington's lawsuit against the company. Price: $499.
During his keynote at CES, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spent what seemed like all of 30 seconds showing off the highly anticipated HP Slate, which comes with Windows 7. But the presentation was brief and bit underwhelming, considering all the hype and speculation about the HP-Microsoft joint venture leading up to CES. Little is known about the device beyond its size -- approximately 10 inches -- and its multi-touch display. No technical specs were announced, but Ballmer did show the HP Slate running Amazon's Kindle software for e-reader capabilities. It also has a built-in accelerometer and can switch seamlessly between landscape mode for video and portrait mode for reading. Price: TBA
Innovative Converged Devices (ICD) is another company that received a lot of attention in Las Vegas, thanks to Nvidia. The graphics chip company used ICD's 7-inch Ultra touch screen tablet to show off its new Tegra 2 mobile chipset (just like Asus and Compal's tablets). The Ultra also runs on Android, has 4Gb of internal storage, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, a 1.3 MP camera, and built-in accelerometer. The Ultra also supports full 1080p HD video playback, and ICD even threw in an FM radio on top of it all. Price: Not yet announced, but it's rumored to be under $300.
Microstar International (MSI) plans to launch its first tablet sometime in the second half of 2010. And like many others in this newly crowded market, the 10-inch touch screen tablet will come with Nvidia's Tegra 2 chipset and Google's Android OS (are we detecting a pattern here?). MSI hasn't released the specs, but the device has an HDMI port, a USB port, and an SD slot. The device also has one of the more appealing designs of the flurry of new tablet PCs. MSI also showed off a prototype of a 7-inch dual-screen, folding tablet, but it's likely MSI will concentrate on getting its 10-inch traditional tablet out the door first so that it can compete with the iPad. Price: reportedly $500.
Startup Notion Ink bills its tablet PC as a "smartpad," and it's a lot like previous tablets on this list. Nvidia's Tegra 2 chipset? Check. Google's Android OS? Check. Touch screen? Check. Full HD video support? Check. Of course, Notion Ink's Adam smartpad has more, like a 3 MP camera and a nice 10.1-inch Pixel Qi screen. And it seems no tablet PC is complete without Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability, as well as USB and HDMI connectivity. A big plus is the 16 GB of internal storage, but we're not exactly sure why Notion Ink decided to call its product "Adam." Price: reportedly $321.
Yet another tablet device built on Nvidia's Tegra 2 chipset and reportedly using Google's Android OS, Quanta's prototype device comes with a lot of the bells and whistles found in the new tablet craze, like full 1080p HD video playback and an HDMI port. The device has a touch screen approximately 10 inches long, and it also has built in Wi-Fi connectivity and 3G wireless support. What might make Quanta's offering different than all the others is its battery life. The company claims its tablet will play 10 hours of HD video on a single charge, which might be too good to be true. Price: TBA
Pegatron's Slate PC is another device that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer highlighted during his keynote at CES. But this tablet is a little different than the others. In fact, it's a lot different. First, it runs on Windows 7 (of course -- why else would Ballmer highlight it?). Second, it doesn't run on Nvidia's Tegra 2 chipset (what a shocker, right?). It actually runs on Intel's new Atom platform. Plus, the display is a bit longer than most full-size tablets at 11.6 inches. The Pegatron Slate also comes with 32 GB of hard drive storage, a Web cam and an HDMI port. Pegatron hasn't said when the new Slate will arrive. Pricing: TBA
This is the biggest wild card of the bunch. Sports Illustrated is teasing its own branded tablet PC on its Web site. There are no technical specs or any other information --- just some pretty screenshots and a video demo of the device that highlights how SI has tailored its content for the e-reader. What we do know is that the magazine and parent company Time Inc. have partnered with Web design firm WonderFactory to produce the new device. The forthcoming tablet will reportedly have a Windows 7 operating system, but we're still waiting for more details about the device. Price: TBA