On the train on the way back from the airport last week, something caught my eye. It was the 20.51 East Midlands service from Luton to Nottingham, and was packed with commuters from both the airport and London.
I was sat next to a young lad in his twenties, looking a bit student-ish, and on his lap was a black, 9.7” gadget.
At first I wasn’t too bothered. All it was being used for was a little bit of browsing, as well as the odd game being played. ‘These are all things I can do on my phone’, I told myself. However, as the train journey continued I couldn’t help but cast a glance at the guy sat next to me, fiddling around on his new toy.
I am of course, talking about the iPad.
Now, this isn’t a blog around my personal opinions on the tablet pc, but a look at some of the “iPad Killers” that are coming onto the market, just in time for Christmas!
Firstly, there is the Samsung Galaxy Tab which is available for pre-order on the dabs website, arriving 1st November. With a 7” screen and weighing only 380g, it can certainly be seen as a more portable alternative to the iPad which is over 700g. It features Android version 2.2, which is more flexible than Apple’s OS, and allows you to customise your home screens with widgets that help with facebooking to weather checking. It also supports Flash, something Apple falls down on.
One flaw with having the Android OS is that the Android market currently doesn’t have the amount of apps specifically built for tablet screens when compared to Apple’s app store. This will improve over time once developers realise there is a market for it, just not yet.
Another entrant into the tablet market (but not quite in time for Xmas) is Blackberry, with their PlayBook. It has a 7” screen (like the Galaxy), but weighs slightly more. It will feature a new OS from Blackberry, so is something of a mystery currently as to how easy it will be to use. It has tried to trump the iPad and the Galaxy in confirming that it will support both HTML5 and Flash.
Similar to the Galaxy’s flaw though, Blackberry have confirmed that their current smart phone apps won’t work on the PlayBook. This means that, for now, the amount of applications available is much less than what is offered by Android or Apple.
If the price tags of the above tablets put you off, then why not check out one of these more budget-friendly devices.
Last week Next, the clothing retailer, announced an affordable Android based tablet PC priced at £180. This one has a 10” screen, 8GB of storage, is Wi-Fi enabled and uses an ARM processor. Obviously, being only £180 there are some major differences in comparison to an iPad. There is no 3G connectivity, no pinch-to-zoom, and gets a big thumbs-down from the Guardian’s Technology Editor, Charles Arthur.
And if £180 is still too much, then why not have a look at this. Morgan Computers are offering one for £85…yes, you saw it, £85!! The 7 inch tablet pc will run on Android, has 128mb of RAM, 400 MHz processor, 2GB internal storage, WiFi 802.11b/g, USB port, SD Card port and integrated 0.3 megapixel camera. However, at this price I am probably not the only one who has some serious doubts over its performance!
So, which one do you guys fancy? Are you convinced by Apple, want to wait for the next new thing, or just simply aren’t bothered by Tablet Computing?