New Devices Being Launched to Compete with Apple iPads

New Devices Being Launched to Compete with Apple iPads When Apple launched the iPad it created a new market which it immediately dominated, selling 3 million units in just 80 days. The iPad still dominates the market and is expected to continue that dominance well into next year. But the competition is growing, with several new devices launched at IFA Berlin last week and more planned for launch at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. And they’re not just coming from small, niche manufacturers.

Several of the world’s top consumer electronics and PC manufacturers have thrown their hats in the ring, including the same companies competing with Apple in the smartphone market. As in smartphones, consumers will have to factor in a touch-screen tablet’s operating system. Google has the Android OS, Palm has the WebOS, Research in Motion has the Blackberry OS, and even Microsoft Windows 7 will be used on some devices. Following are a few of the new tablets from companies with the resources to compete with Apple for this growing market.

Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Tab at IFA Berlin last week. The system utilizes Google’s Android operating system, and, at just 7 inches, it’s considerably smaller and lighter than the 9.7 inch iPad. The device features a 16- or 32 gigabyte hard drive, GPS, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and a 3.2-megapixel camera. Reviews have been positive. The biggest difference between the iPad and the Galaxy Tab is that Samsung’s product is a phone, meaning that it will be sold through wireless carriers.

Toshiba, meanwhile, debuted its Folio device at IFA Berlin as well. Like the iPad, the Folio will be available through outlets other than wireless carriers, but will be able to operate on WI-Fi (like the iPad) or 3G signals. The Folio boasts a 10.1 inch multitouch screen, an Nvidia Tegra processor, a webcam, 2 USB ports, an SD card slot, an HDMI connector to display video on other screens, Bluetooth, and a 16 gig hard drive. The device has only been made available in Europe so far, at a price of 399 Euros (US $511).

Dell was one of the first companies to go after Apple in the tablet market, when it launched the Streak earlier this summer. This device is really more of a phone than a tablet, but does use an older version of the Android OS. The device has been reviewed favorably as an Android device and is available for $299 with a 2-year contract with AT&T, or for $549 unlocked.

Reasearch in Motion, according to industry insiders, has been developing its own tablet device, the Blackpad. Rumors about the device vary concerning what OS it will use, from the Blackberry OS to a new OS developed by a company called QNX, which RIM purchased earlier this year. RIM has been very secretive about the development of the Blackpad, and it is currently unknown when the device will be available to consumers.

Hewlett-Packard meanwhile, is still in the development stage with its Slate. The device will use Microsoft’s new Windows 7 operating system. It has been rumored that the company is also working on a non-Windows device it hopes to have ready by sometime next year. It is believed the new device will run on Palm’s WebOS system, and the company has filed a trademark on the name PalmPad, though it is unknown if that will be the name of the new device.

With all the new competition, Apple is not sitting still, either. Apple CEO Steve Jobs last week announced that there will be software updates available in November, and hardware updates early next year. Apple’s new iOS 4.2, when ready, will offer users wireless printing, AirPlay media streaming, and multitasking features not currently available on iPads.

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