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GADGETS Taking on the iPad


The iPad may have been 2010’s must-have ‘tablet’, but there are plenty of new arrivals looking to steal its thunder. Olivia Solon looks at the main contenders


“I’VE SEEN the future, and it’s covered in greasy finger prints”, was a quote often cited at technology events at the start of 2010, referring to tablet PCs. Apple lead the way with the iPad, keeping to its tried-and-tested model of creating sleek, simple and fun gadgets that lock you into buying stuff from Steve Jobs forever. With first-mover advantage, Apple has made significant headway in the market, selling 4.19 million units in the last quarter alone. Despite this, analysts were disappointed and stock plummeted more than six per cent after its Q4 earnings announcement in October. Perhaps the iPad simply isn’t as “magical” as Steve Jobs claims?


Either way, technology research company Gartner has predicted that worldwide media tablet sales will reach 19.4 million units in 2010, rising to 54.8 million in 2011. In short, tablets are here to stay. For those not tempted by the Apple’s slick design and marketing hype (isn’t it just a big iPod Touch?), there are plenty of alternatives.


Some of the particular features buyers will look for that are lacking in the iPad include cameras, Flash compatibility, USB ports and full 1080p high-definition video capabilities. While many are hastily assembled attempts to join the tablet race, there are a number of viable iPad contenders.


Samsung Galaxy Tab One of the most hotly tipped alternatives is Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. This device falls into the seven-inch ‘tweener’ tablet category


that Steve Jobs criticised earlier this year, calling them “too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with the iPad”. Despite these sour comments, the Galaxy Tab is an attractive device running on Google’s Android operating system – meaning it has access to an ever-increasing range of high quality apps, which is crucial if it is going to compete with the iPad. Unlike some of the other smaller tablets out there, it has a highly responsive, capacitive touchscreen as opposed to a resistive screen. A three-megapixel HD camera with an LED flash on the back and a smaller 1.3-megapixel camera on the front make it ideal for video- conferencing. The size of a paperback and weighing in at just 380g, it’s perfect for reading and a seven-hour battery life is not to be sniffed at. It might be dainty, but it packs a punch. At around £600, it is at the more expensive end of the spectrum.


December 2010/January 2011 businesslife.co 51





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