CES 2011 News – The Tablet Invasion
CES 2011 News – The Tablet Invasion
The Rapidly-Growing Category Takes CES By Storm
New product categories emerge every year. Some stand the test of time, and others wither away into oblivion. Tablets appear to be one of those product categories that will fall into the former, finding a comfortable place in between the smartphone and the netbook/notebook, and garnering interest among consumers, businesspersons, and the education, health, and industrial markets.
CEA Market Research reports that 17 million tablets were sold worldwide in 2010, and 38% of people who don’t yet own a tablet plan to buy one some time over the next few years. Deloitte Canadian Research predicts that 100 million tablets will ship by 2014. Operating systems like Android will give Apple a run for its money, doubling market share to fall in line with Apple at about 40% each. Windows is presumed to secure 15%, and all others are predicted to account for the remaining 5%.
Already, several tablets are available in Canada; most notably the Apple iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and the Dell Streak. While official Canadian launch plans have not yet been disclosed, Rogers confirms that it will carry Research in Motion’s (RIM’s) highly anticipated BlackBerry PlayBook tablet once it becomes available north of the border. In fact, Rogers says it will launch “a few” tablets each quarter throughout 2011; and other major carriers like Bell and Telus will most likely do the same. Additionally, many WiFi-only units will sell through the traditional retailer channels.
One thing that became evident at CES was that consumers will have plenty of options starting in 2011. Several tablets were on display from major manufacturers. Some expected, like the much-talked-about RIM PlayBook and Motorola Xoom, and some unexpected, like Sharp’s Galapagos model. While not all of them will function on the 3G or 4G wireless networks (many are WiFi-only, at least in their first iterations) each brings something to the table that will help differentiate it from the others. Which ones consumers (or retailers) will choose, and how far this category will go, only time will tell.
The Internet media was in a frenzy about the Xoom as early as a week prior to CES. It delivers some enticing features, like a dual core processor, Android Honeycomb operating systems, 1080p video playback, 3G with upgrade capabilities to 4G, a 10.1″ HD widescreen, front and back cameras, Flash support, and multitasking.
RIM BlackBerry PlayBook:
Many were anxious to check out the Canadian company’s new tablet, which has been confirmed for the Sprint network once it becomes available this March. A 4G version will be released this summer, but the first version will come with WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities only. The 7″ (1,024 x 600) tablet weighs just 400 grams, and boasts both front and rear facing cameras (3 MP and 5 MP, respectively), HDMI out, and Flash support. What makes it really compelling for BlackBerry owners is that it can be tethered to the smartphone via Bluetooth, then run and access applications like e-mail, BlackBerry Messenger, calendars, tasks, and documents. Keeping it secure is the fact that data and documents from the phone are simply mirrored on the tablet when in use: once disconnected, the tablet does not store any of the information. The interface looks elegant and functional and being able to finally see the device really got staunch BlackBerry supporters excited.
Panasonic is hoping to differentiate its Viera tablet by affording seamless integration with its Viera flat panel TVs through a cloud-based feature. Owners of Panasonic Viera TVs will be able to access content through the tablets by connecting them over WiFi (no 3G yet), then simply flicking a finger upwards on the screen to move a streaming video from tablet to big screen. The tablet is based on the Android 2.2 operating system, and is already in Japan, with plans for North American availability later this year. It comes in three screen sizes: 4″ (which teeters on the line between a smartphone and a tablet), 7″, and 10″, and with an SD card slot (that can accept SDXC cards), HDMI, USB, and Bluetooth A2DP. Ian Kilvert tells Marketnews that Panasonic Canada hopes to have working samples at its Canadian dealer show in late March.
Running on the Android OS, this tablet sits in the middle of the pack with an 8″ screen that’s smaller than the iPad’s 9.7″ one, and just a tad larger than competing models like the Samsung Galaxy Tab. It has a 1 GHz processor, HDMI out, and a microSD memory card slot; and can connect via WiFi and Bluetooth. It has a front-facing camera, GPS capabilities, a built-in remote for controlling a home theatre, and 2 GB of internal storage. The tablet is also compatible with Vizio Internet Apps Plus, which allows consumers to access a variety of apps on both the TV and the tablet.
LG was relatively tight-lipped about its upcoming tablet, which was only on display at the T-Mobile booth. Called the G-Slate, it will boast an 8.9″ touch screen and an Nvidia dual core processor, and will run on the Android 3.0 operating system. It will operate on T-Mobile’s 4G network once it becomes available in the U.S., which will reportedly be some time this quarter. LG Canada’s Frank Lee says there are no details relating to Canadian availability at this time.
Scheduled for release in Q2, Toshiba’s tablet will be available with the latest Honeycomb Android operating system, although the company was demonstrating it using Android “Froyo.” It boasts a 10″ screen, Flash video support, WiFi, and built-in Webcams. Other features include a mini USB, full USB, and HDMI ports; plus an SD card slot. It has a textured black back that can be switched out for a number of other colour options. It is being considered for the Canadian market.
Already available in Japan in 5.8″ and 10.8″ widescreen sizes, this tablet is based on the Linux operating system, and incorporates Sharp’s mobile document format (XMDF) software, which the company says is the most widely used version in Japan. Using XMDF, the tablet does things like adjust content layout automatically for optimum viewing. The device also has a microSD memory card slot, and built-in WiFi (no 3G just yet). Complementing Galapagos, which Sharp deems an “e-media tablet”, will be Sharp’s own e-reader service and applications. The Galapagos is scheduled to launch in the U.S. some time this year. Sharp Canada’s Chris Matto tells us that the company is investigating the tablet for Canada, but there’s no concrete details to report at this time.
ViewSonic ViewPad 7 & 10:
ViewSonic is putting its eggs in both the Android and Windows baskets with two lightweight tablets in 7″ and 10″ sizes; one that operates on Android 2.2, and the other that can boot up in either Android or Windows. Capable of connecting via both WiFi and 3D (as well as Bluetooth), the Android 2.2-based ViewPad 7 has a capacitive, multi-touch screen, a front-facing 0.3 MP camera and rear 3 MP camera with auto-focus that’s situated in the middle of the unit so as to avoid your fingers covering it. It has 512 MB of on-board memory plus the ability to add up to 32 GB via a microSD card slot. It offers up to 10 hours of battery life, and the screen resolution is 800 x 480 (WVGA). The ViewPad 7, which will be available in June for an ESP of US$480, has instant messaging and VoIP capabilities, as well as a USB port for connecting devices. Selling for US$630, the ViewSonic 10 is interesting in that it can boot up in either Windows Home 7 Premium, or Android 1.6. It boasts an Intel Atom 1.66GHz processor, 1GB of memory, 16GB SSD hard drive and expandable micro SD slot. In addition to being larger, its screen is also higher resolution at 1,024 x 600 (LED backlit), with a G-sensor and capacitive multi-touch. It has a 1.3 MP Webcam, and built-in mic. The ’10 should be available by the time you read this.
Samsung Sliding PC:
Samsung was relatively early out of the gate with its Galaxy S tablet, which has been selling successfully in Canada. At CES, the company confirmed that a WiFi-only version would be coming. But it also exhibited a neat hybrid sliding PC that combines a tablet and a netbook in one. The device looks just like a typical tablet, with a multi touch-enabled 10.1″ touch LED screen. But a full QWERTY keyboard slides out from the bottom, and can click into place with the touch screen upright so it sits like a traditional netbook/notebook. One limitation is weight: the sliding PC weighs 2.2 lbs; half a pound more than the iPad. But in situations where a notebook/netbook might not be practical, and a traditional tablet not as easy for typing and Word processing, it’s an ideal setup. Word processing is a focus for the unit, which will run on the Windows 7 operating system. It will have 2 GB of RAM, a solid state drive (capacity yet to be determined) and both front and rear facing cameras. While other specifications are still yet to be officially confirmed, the sliding PC will likely have an HDMI and USB port, and an SD memory card slot. Battery life is rated at up to 8 hours, and 3G connectivity in addition to the WiFi option is a possibility.
It comes as no surprise that Lenovo is joining the tablet race since its focus has always been computing. Two models will fall into the IdeaPad line once it launches in May/June: a Windows 7 version, and an Android version. Both look identical, with a 10.1″ capacitive touch widescreen, USB port, microSD slot, and front and rear facing cameras. Both can, of course, play back Flash videos; and will come equipped with 3G and WiFi connectivity options. But the Android version will be a bit thinner and lighter. Adding a bit of flare is a coloured back: two options were shown, including a dark orange shade, and white.
About the Author
http://www.batteryfast.co.uk – Quality notebook batteries, cordless drill batteries online shop: buy now save 30%!
Blackberry Monaco (Storm 3) First Look