In recent months the market for tablets has exploded into life. The iPad was released to much acclaim in April this year and sold three million units in 80 days. It was only a matter of time before Apple’s competitors got involved in the action, and in September the Blackberry PlayBook was announced. Samsung then followed this up with Galaxy Tab, which was launched last month. A host of other devices are expected to follow.
The iPad’s main strength is arguably, like the iPhone, the number of applications it has available. Thousands are already downloadable now and more are being made each day for the platform. On releasing the iPad, Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, said: “iPad creates and defines an entirely new category of devices that will connect users with their apps and content in a much more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before.”
Samsung Galaxy Tab launched at Gitex
Fresh to the market is the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which was recently unveiled to the Middle East at Gitex 2010 in Dubai. The Samsung device uses the Android 2.2 operating system and uses a 1.06GHz application processor. The Samsung is not likely to have the luxury of the thousands of apps that the iPad can boast but does have Flash Player support, something the Apple device doesn’t feature. The Galaxy tablet is a lot smaller than the iPad and lighter, making it more portable.
On the horizon for tablet lovers is the Blackberry PlayBook. Set for release in America in early 2011, the device is also smaller and lighter than the iPad although not the Galaxy Tab. The main feature that is being promoted by RIM ahead of the PlayBook’s launch is its ability to multi task in a similar way to a normal computer. Programmes running on the tablet can be minimised while a user is working on another, one of the key points putting it ahead of the iPad.
Lack of USB port held back iPad
One of the major gripes with the iPad was the absence of a USB port, something which the PlayBook contains. However Apple has revealed that a USB port will be present on the iPad2. Flash support is another feature which has been highlighted by RIM, as it makes it a lot easier to browse a number of sites. The dual camera feature on the PlayBook will also enable conference calling.
A number of other tablets are said to be in development. At Gitex MSI was one company showcasing its version of the technology, with the WebPad. Alan Chu, Regional Director, MSI, reports: “The Webpad can be Windows based or it can be an Android based type of tablet. It is 9 inches and you can store Microsoft Office on there and use it as a regular notebook. It is much more powerful than the iPad.”
A working model of the WebPad was present at Gitex, but there is no indication of a Middle East release date as of yet.
The big three – vital stats
Measurements 242.8mm by 189.7mm
Weight Wi-Fi model weighs in at 0.68kg
Processor 1GHz Apple A4 custom-designed processor
Capacity Choice of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB
Battery power Built-in 25-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery. Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music
Samsung Galaxy Tab
Measurements 190.09 x 120.45 x 11.98mm
Processor 1.06GHz Application processor
Capacity 16GB/32GB + Micro SD
Battery power 4,000mAh. Seven hours movie play
Measurements 130mm x 194mm x 10mm
Processor 1Ghz dual processor
Battery power Not yet available