Last year's CES was all about the
netbooks, this year tablets are all the rage, and we already start to
wonder what next year will bring. Even though they are not as mobile as
cell phones, tablets are still pocketable. Ask Samsung Mobile's own
JK Shin, who took out a Galaxy Tab straight out of his jacket pocket
at CES! Not all of these new “pocketables” come with WWAN, but
the major ones do and this means a contract. Let's see just how exactly tablets fit into the carrier's
lineups. So without further waiting here are our top tablet picks from this year's show!
Verizon had one of the biggest network launches so far and it will need various tablets to cater to all of its subscribers' needs. And Big Red had some good news – it announced that it will ship both 7 inch and 10.1 inch tablets this year. The big name here is Motorola XOOM, which is set to take on Apple's iPad with a 10.1 inch screen and a dual-core ARM-based Tegra 2 chipset to run the Honeycomb show. Motorola's tablet will ship in the first quarter of the year with 3G only, but you will be able to upgrade it with a 4G LTE module sometime later.
Acer ICONIA Tab A500, which is a 10.1-inch Tegra 2 tablet coming in April with LTE on board. And if you are looking for a smaller-sized slate, Verizon is getting the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 4G LTE later this year.
The nation's second largest carrier has Apple's iPad, which set the stage for what we can confidently name as tablet wars now. And even though we did not see any specific AT&T bound slates at CES, there most probably will be some additions to AT&T's lineup. Whatever they are, Apple's next generation iPad remains the carrier's biggest trump card, so let's hold our breaths and wait it out.
BlackBerry PlayBook will come with a very intriguing new OS crafted
by QNX. It was stupefying to see how it handles multi-tasking and we
will definitely get a closer look at the tablet when it comes closer
to its launch. For the time being check out our hands-on of the
T-Mobile is doing a lot to push its HSPA+ network to higher heights and is promising up to 42 Mbps of download speed by the end of the year. Similarly to the launch of the first Android phone, T-Mobile chose the G nickname for the launch of its 4G tablet – the T-Mobile G-Slate. Sized at the healthy 10 inches, the LG-made tablet will run on Honeycomb. All other details remain mysteriously hidden, even the launch date.
T-Mobile will also feature two Dell slates. The Dell Streak 7 will surf the carrier's 4G waves with the power of a dual-core Tegra 2 chipset and launches this month. CES teased us with a view of the upcoming Dell Streak 10, but except for the 10 inch screen size and Android OS, all the rest remains a secret.
Some other tablets were not confirmed for one carrier or another yet, but nevertheless pack some impressive features that caught our attention. ASUS announced its four tablets right before the official launch of CES and set the bar high for the show. The first announced slate was the ASUS Eee Pad MeMO, which is a smartphone/tablet hybrid with a 7 inch screen and a dual-core Qualcomm processor. The MeMO is expected to come with Honeycomb. Two more Android tablets will join the series - the ASUS Eee Pad Slider and the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer. Check out our first look at the devices for more detailed specs.
Lenovo's LePad is another hybrid device after the MeMO, which also deserves an honorable mention with not only its solid specs, but its docking station. The latter has an Intel Core i5 processor clocked at 1.2 GHz and adds 1 GB of RAM to LePad's built-in 1 GB for a total of 2 GB. Originally the LePad runs Android, but when docked, it turns into a capable Windows 7 netbook. The bright idea comes at a hefty price and is offered only in China so far, but even if it does not become massively popular, it comes to show how tablets and smartphones threat to eat in to notebooks' market share.