8 Companies Aiming to Dominate Tablet Computing

The day is soon coming when tablets will dominate the world of computer usage as the chosen device.

Users wanting to check out all the advantages of a tablet (lighter weight, lower power, easier navigation, ability for use without a keyboard and mouse, enhanced and more realistic painting and editing, easer and faster entering, independent universal input, and more natural clicking by using a stylus) should take note of this list of recently released and upcoming computers by companies hoping to dominate the market:

1. Apple iPad

In April of 2010, Apple Inc. (AAPL) released the Apple iPad. With a screen size of 9.7 inches, this tablet computer features iBooks (eBook reading application), iWork (suite of office applications for the Mac), and comes with a Keyboard Dock, Picture Frame, and iPad case.

Having full Wi-Fi capability but unable to connect to a 3G network, the iPad is priced at $499 (16 GB), $599 (32 GB), and $699 (64 GB). Prices for the 3G-enabled iPad are $629 (16 GB), $729 (32 GB), and $829 (64 GB). AT&T offers two different data plans: $14.99 a month with a 250 MB monthly limit, and $29.99 a month for an unlimited plan. Both allow free use of AT&T (T) hot spots, and neither requires a contract.

With is unique design and portability, the iPad could replace PCs that are too heavy to carry, or occupy too much travel space. Handy for Internet browsing, reading eBooks, accessing email, playing games, listening to music, browsing photo albums, or watching videos, it is predicted to change the use of PCs, and introduce an entirely new area of integrated technology.

2. DELL Streak

Dell Inc. (Dell) came out with the Dell Streak (smart phone/tablet hybrid with an Android operating system) in August 2010. Featuring a 5 inch screen and two cameras capable of video, it is equipped with three capacitive Android buttons for Home, Menu, and Back, as well as a Dell skin and cradle adapter with HDMI out.

AT&T, which is the carrier for US customers, prices this item at $299.99 with a new two-year contract, and $549.99 without a contract.

One of the world’s largest technological corporations, Dell Inc. has its own online outlet, one full store located in Dallas, and sells its products through major US retailers, such as Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart (WMT), Staples (SPLS), and Best Buy (BBY).

Despite its awkward nature, the Dell Streak is the best device for those looking for more screen and capability than a smart phone, but do not want to always carry around a tablet PC. Creating choice and freedom with the ability to Talk, Watch, Surf, and Connect, people are discovering new ways to enjoy connecting with friends, navigating their lives, and online browsing.

3. SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab

The release of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, an Android-based compact tablet computer, is scheduled for October 2010. A 7 inch screen, Wi-Fi capability, 1.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A8 (“Hummingbird”) processor and Swype input system are featured on the Galaxy Tab, which is equipped with two cameras (one 3.2 MP rear-facing camera for photos and apps, and one 1.3 MP front facing camera for video chat).

An official price has not been confirmed for the Galaxy Tab, but pre-order is available from the Carphone Warehouse for $850.

The Galaxy Tab represents a new category of mobile products, as the first tablet computer made by Samsung. Users are able to enjoy PC-like web-browsing, all forms of multimedia content, and communicate through email, voice and video call, SMS/MMS or social network with the optimized user interface.

4. RIMM BlackBerry PlayBook

Research In Motion (RIMM), the telecommunication and wireless device company responsible for designing and manufacturing the award-winning BlackBerry smart phone has unveiled the Playbook tablet. It will feature a 7 inch screen, built-in camera and wireless link capability to cellular networks through the capability to link wirelessly to cellular networks through BlackBerry smartphones.

This tablet carries a rumored price-tag of $499. Playbook tethering lets BlackBerry customers take advantage of their current cell phone plans.

RIM provides solutions for access to information (email, messaging, Internet and intranet-based applications) through development and integration of hardware, software and services.

Ideal for games, media, apps and Internet use, Playbook’s design is a combination of BlackBerry and Apple iPad. 3G and 4G models will become available in the future.

5. Acer Tablet PC

Acer Incorporated (ACID) a Taiwan-based computer technology and electronics corporation, will unveil the Acer Tablet PC in 4Q 2010. Features on this tablet include a 7 inch screen, 2.2 FroYo, an ARM processor, great multimedia options and Adobe Flash support. Tablets with 5 or 10 inch screens are also available.

Pricing will be $299-$699, according to size.

This Android-based tablet PC (portable personal computer equipped with touchscreen) can be used by any individual, has a wireless adapter and local network connection, and provides software applications (office suites, web browsers, games and a variety of applications). Negotiations for cellular connectivity are currently taking place.

6. ASUS Eee Pad

ASUSTeK Computer Inc. (ASKD), a computer product manufacturer centered in Taiwan is releasing its Eee Pad (tablet computer using a Nvidia Tegra 2 chip and 3G wireless connection) in 1Q 2011. It will feature the following: a 10 or 12 inch screen, 1024 x 600 pixels of resolution, 0.3 mega pixel camera, 1GHz nVidia Tegra 2 dual-core CPU, 3G connectivity, Wi-Fi capability, Windows 7 operating system ,16GB / 32GB of capacity storage, SD, SDHC, MMC card reader support, and Bluetooth 2.1. The Eee Pad has two docking stations, one for a keyboard, and one turning the device into a laptop.

Pricing for this unreleased tablet is reported to be $399.99. From June 1-5, 2010 it debuted at Computex, an annual computer expo held in Taipei, Taiwan.

Leading the IT Hardware category of the 2008 Taiwan Top 10 Global Brands survey, ASUSTeK Computer Inc. was ranked number one in quality and service by Wall Street Journal Asia, and appeared in the rankings for “Asia’s Top 10 IT Companies” and BusinessWeek’s “InfoTech 100.” 2009 revenues reached $21.2 billion.

Designed for Internet access, watching videos, other multimedia uses, computing and e-reading, data can be inputed on this tablet by using the on-screen keyboard, or typing on the keyboard it docks into. Eee Pad will run for 10 hours without needing to be recharged.

7. Lenovo LePad

The Lenovo LePad will be released in 1Q 2011 by Lenovo Group Limited (LNVGY). The tablet features Android 2.1 Éclair OS, a 1.0 GHz Processor, Wi-Fi capability, Bluetooth support, a 10.1 inch screen, Display resolution: 800 x 480 pixles, and a camera with LED flash. The LePad is both a tablet and a netbook, able to be used as a standalone tablet, and neatly placed inside a special dock /case offering a full keyboard and additional ports.

No pricing details are available at this time.

Originally founded in China, Lenovo is the leading global manufacturer of personal computers. Its products are marketed through chain retailers, company-owned stores (in China only), major technology distributors and vendors, and online sales.

Like most tablets, browsing, eBooks, games, and video are all available on the LePad. The combined unit is stationary, but if mobility is desired, all you have to do is pull out the tablet.

8. Cisco Cius

Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO) will release its Cius (Android-based mobile collaboration business tablet) somewhere in 1Q 2011. Featured on this tablet are a 7 inch screen, front-facing camera (for multi-party video conferencing, recording and streaming 720p video at 30 FPS), Bluetooth 3.0, and support for Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and 3G/4G wireless networks. Accessories include an HD media station, Charging dock, and Carrying case.

Pricing for the laptop is still to be finalized.

Cisco Cius combines on-the-go access with virtual desktop integration, offering mobile computing, collaboration and communication services. Available browsing, email, HD video streaming and real time video, messaging, and multi-party conferencing give users the ability to produce, edit and share content.

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