In the first two instalments we checked out the top dogs, namely Apple, HTC, Motorola and Samsung in part 1, and LG, HP and BlackBerry in part 2. In the absence of anything concrete from, say, Sony Ericsson or Nokia, it’s time to start looking down the list at some of the dark horses.
Even the bigger names face an uphill struggle against Apple’s iPad 2. As such, it’s vital that these little guys come up with an angle for their take on the tablet. Today, we’ll check out a business-oriented slate, a dual boot affair, and one that’s just plain cocky.
Fujitsu Stylistic Q550
Fujitsu’s Stylistic Q550 tablet was revealed just over one week ago at CeBIT in Germany. It reckons there’s a gap in the market for a tablet that’s tailored for the professional gentleman (or indeed lady).
Rajat Kakar, Fujitsu Technology Solutions’ VP of Workplace Systems, explains: "Many slate PCs on the market today are fun toys, but they don't come anywhere close to addressing the business and security needs that are holding enterprises back from embracing the latest mobile computing technology.
“This is our sweet spot – and we are targeting the professional and government computing markets with a new slate PC that draws on more than twenty years experience in building mobile computers for enterprise use."
The Fujitsu Stylistic Q550 will be available with either Windows Home Premium or Professional. If you opt to use the stylus, the tablet allows you to rest your hand on the screen as you write.
Screen: 10.1in anti-glare, 1366x768
Processor: Intel Z670 Oak Trail processor
OS: Windows Home Premium or Profesional
Cameras: 1.3MP rear, VGA front
Storage: 32GB or 64GB
Weight: 700g approx
Release date: April/May 2011
ViewSonic ViewPad 10 Pro
California-based manufacturer ViewSonic will update its ViewPad 10 with a new Pro edition. Like its predecessor, the ViewSonic ViewPad 10 Pro will boast dual-boot goodness, with Android and Windows operating systems.
Adam Hanin, ViewSonic’s vice president of marketing, describes the ViewPad as “a Windows device that also gives you the flexibility to play Angry Birds, or whatever you want to do on Android.”
Somewhat bizarrely, the ViewSonic ViewPad 10 Pro won’t adopt Honeycomb for the Android side of things. Not upon release, anyway. It’ll ship with Android 2.2 (Froyo), which is at least a step up from the original ViewPad 10’s Android 1.6 OS
Naysayers point out that Windows 7 isn’t intended to run on tablet devices, however there are USB ports to connect a mouse and keyboard.
Screen: 10.1in, 1024x600
Processor: Intel Oak Trail 1.5 GHz Processor
OS: Windows 7 and Android 2.2 (Froyo)
Cameras: 1.3MP front-facing
Release date: May 2011
Toshiba’s previous tablet effort, the ill-fated Folio 100, was pulled from shelves just a few weeks after release. The device felt incredibly cheap, the screen had to be viewed dead on, and the touch response was almost non-existent.
So you’d be forgiven for assuming that Toshiba would retire from the tablet arena, at least for a little while. But nope, a few months later it came back with the swaggering Toshiba Tablet.
Tosh's video on thetoshibatablet.com takes several digs at the iPad, boasting “the full web, even Flash”, three ports (mini USB, HDMI and USB), front and rear cameras, and five different colours. True, the iPad 2 has since addressed some of those issues (namely the HDMI port and cameras), but the Toshiba Tablet still looks mightily impressive.
Screen: 10.1in, 1280x800
Processor: NVIDIA Tegra 2
OS: Android 3.0 (Honeycomb)
Cameras: 5MP rear, 2MP front
Release date: Q2 2011