To say there were a few tablets at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show would be a vast understatement. With more than 80 tablet launches in total, there were at least as many Android tablets and devices on the show floor as almost anything else, including 3D devices, which popped up almost everywhere else. There was even a 3D tablet, as a matter of fact.
We’ve boiled down the overflowing list of tablets down to a manageable 25. There are dozens we missed, no helping that. This is not a technical guide to the tablet world, merely a recap of some of the notable (and some notably bad) tablets we saw at the show. Page one and two cover the big electronics manufacturers, while three and four dive deep into the bowels of CES to find the best and worst of the rest. Enjoy!
The Big Guys
The Motorola Xoom is our favorite tablet of the show. With a 10.1-inch screen, hot new 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor, and running Google’s upcoming Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), the Xoom was the most complete package of any tablet on display. Motorola’s Droid provided the first good alternative to the iPhone last year, and the manufacturer may repeat history. The Xoom appears to have everything it takes to challenge the dominance of the iPad in the tablet space. It will be a Verizon exclusive at launch in the first quarter, and swappable modems will make it upgradeable to 4G later this year. Time will tell if the final device can match its CES presence. Click here to read our full impressions of the Xoom.
The BlackBerry PlayBook entered CES an underdog, but left as one of the hot items of the show. Like the Xoom, this tablet packs a dual-core processor and a full gigabyte of RAM, but it is no Android or BlackBerry device. Instead, RIM has chosen to size the PlayBook a leaner 7-inches, hoping to capitalize on a smaller tablet market not filled with the iPad. Though we weren’t terribly awed by the size (10 inches seems more practical), the new BlackBerry Tablet OS (powered by QNX) is pretty impressive. It feels reminiscent of Palm’s WebOS, but the PlayBook takes multitasking to a new level, allowing quick swipes between apps and simultaneous play of a number of apps at once. It’s Web browsing capabilities are also above par for a tablet. The PlayBook had no problem running numerous flash and video-filled Webpages, a tough task for most. Check out our full impressions here.
Toshiba Android Tablet
This still-unnamed Toshiba tablet is running Android 2.2, but should be upgradeable to 3.0 (Honeycomb) before the tablet hits retail sometime this spring. There isn’t much else notable about the device, though like the Xoom, it has an odd 16:10 aspect ratio. Unlike the Xoom, it still features the four Android 2.2 standard buttons on the bottom. It will ship with Toshiba’s BookPlace e-reader app, and the Toshiba Places app store built in. Interestingly, unlike many tablets, it will have a removable battery. Click here for more pictures.
Dell Streak 7 and 10
Dell’s 5-inch Streak failed to capture much interest when it hit AT&T last year, but the PC manufacturer isn’t done yet. At CES, it unveiled 7 and 10-inch models of the Streak. Both devices have three physical buttons on the bottom, and are 4G capable on T-Mobile. The Streaks currently run Android 2.2 on a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor, and have 16GB of internal storage. The rear camera is 5MP, but the front-facing camera is a bit weaker than some of the higher-end tablets at only 1.3MP. It will come preloaded with some unique apps, including T-Mobile TV, BrainPOP, Zinio, Qik Video Chat, Blockbuster, Kindle, Slacker Radio, and Zoodles. Click here to learn more.
Dell Inspiron Duo
The Streak is Dell’s stab at a tablet, but you may be asking what the PC maker has up its sleeve to capitalize on the dozens of people who can’t decide whether they want to buy a tablet or netbook. The answer is the Dell Inspiron Duo. This fine little lappy has a rotating 10.1-inch screen, effectively morphing it from a small, netbook to a very fat touch tablet. And since it runs Windows 7, it won’t be a very good tablet either. Worse, its webcam appears to be embedded inside the PC frame, making it impossible to stare at your own face while touching your tablet.
Samsung 7 Series Sliding Windows PC
Sliding phones are so 2008, but sliding computers, now that’s a hot idea. Samsung’s 7 series is actually a 10.1-inch netbook-tablet hybrid running Windows 7. Unlike the Dell Inspiron Duo, this tabletdrawer computer has dual-facing cameras no matter which way it’s oriented. The screen slides up and then arcs up to get that classic laptop feel without the dastardly screen protection a clamshell design provides. All worth it: Samsung claims the 7 Series boots up in 20 seconds or less. Check out our impressions here.