The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - Apple iPad Alternatives

With more than 80 percent of the market and an even greater degree of mindshare, there is no doubt the Apple iPad dominates the tablet market. And for good reason: Aside from the brief, the iPad was the first real consumer tablet to catch on.
 
May 31, 2011 - PRLog -- With more than 80 percent of the market and an even greater degree of mindshare, there is no doubt the Apple iPad dominates the tablet market. And for good reason: Aside from the brief, ridiculous distraction that was the Joo Joo, the iPad was the first real consumer tablet to catch on.

Plus, Apple has done a brilliant job of leveraging the iTunes ecosystems and the App Store to deliver a seamless and enjoyable tablet experience. For more than a year, no tablet could touch the iPad, but that's finally changing. RIM, with its BlackBerry PlayBook, and Google along with hardware partners like Samsung, Motorola, LG, and others, are all offering legitimate iPad alternatives. Some are good, some are bad, and yes, a few are just plain ugly, but at least now we have some choices.

The most successful iPad alternative to date is the Android-based 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab http://www.batterylaptoppower.com/acer/as07b41.htm . Available on every major wireless carrier, the Galaxy Tab was one of the few tablets to hit store shelves in 2010. The Tab is more portable than the iPad and offers an easy way to get access Android apps on the go. The problem with the Tab, is that was released with Android 2.2, which isn't designed specifically for tablets, and OS upgrades haven't been promised.

The Motorola Xoom was the first tablet to use Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), which was designed specifically for tablets. This is a lot closer to Google’s vision for the tablet experience, but it too has some problems. The interface can be overcomplicated at times and Honeycomb-optimized apps have been slow to surface.

With the competition heating up, tablet manufacturers are doing anything they can do to differentiate their products. The T-Mobile Slate by LG, for example, can capture and play back 3D video. The Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101, on the other hand, can use an optional accessory to turn it into a netbook. A feature like 3D may seem superfluous on a tablet until you consider that without it, this tablet is pretty much exactly like every other Honeycomb tablet you can buy. Low-cost vendors like CherryPal and Coby are offering bargain prices on Android tablets, with predictable results. This is where you start to fall into the ugly category.

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As Honeycomb 3.0 continues to roll out, we'll likely see more compelling tablets. And in the meantime, hopefully RIM will smooth out the rough edges on its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet (or at least make native email work). Until then, check out our iPad alternatives in the slideshow. And be sure to make your own picks in the comments section below.

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