9 Real iPad Alternatives

A look at some products that have features missing in the iPad and are slated to ship this year.

SLIDEFEATURED PRODUCTS
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Even since Apple released its "magical and revolutionary" iPad, other vendors have been scrambling to deliver products that go Apple one better. Here are nine that are expected to hit the stores this year. They feature multi-touch screens that are larger than the iPad's 9.7-inch screen. And while they might not have Apple's buzz, they do offer capabilities not available in the current version of the iPad.

Slideshow: Slate Wars: 15 Tablets That Could Rival Apple's iPad

Slideshow: Tablets, Real and Rumored

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Product Name: 2goPC Slate

Screen Size and Resolution: 10", 1024x600

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium

Communication: 3G and Wi-Fi

Ship date: Summer 2010

The 2goPC Slate is a typical netbook running on an Intel Atom processor, minus the keyboard which has been replaced with a multitouch screen. The Windows 7 OS provides multi-tasking, which the iPad doesn't have. Like most netbooks, and un-like the iPad, it comes with a built-in Webcam. And what's most impressive is a price of $499.

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Product Name: Adam

Screen Size and Resolution: 10.1", 1024x600

Operating System: Android

Communication: 3G and Wi-Fi

Ship date: Q3 2010

The Adam will use NVIDIA's Tegra 2 (a graphics processor specifically designed for tablets and other mobile devices). Notion Ink will offer this tablet with a "dual mode" LCD; this means you'll be able to switch between a normal color screen to a black-and-white one, with the backlight turned off, which is meant to simulate the "e-ink" screen of e-book readers like the Amazon Kindle. Also setting the Adam apart will be its built-in camera, which can swivel to point at the tablet's user or away, thus, letting you shoot pictures.

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Product: ExoPC Slate

Screen Size and Resolution: 11.6", 1366x768

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Edition

Communication:v Wi-Fi

Ship date: September 2010

Like the 2goPC Slate, closer scrutiny of its technical specs suggests this tablet will basically be a larger-screen netbook with a touchscreen in lieu of a keyboard. The ExoPC's upcoming release will lack 3G, but it will still have a bigger screen and higher resolution than the iPad, and it will use Windows 7.

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Product: Gemini

Screen Size and Resolution: 11.6", 1366x768

Operating System: Android

Communication: 3G and Wi-Fi

Ship date: August 2010

The feature list for the Gemini by ICD reads like a wish list of almost everything you could ever want right now in a dream tablet: Like the Adam, it will churn out graphics and video with a Tegra 2 chipset, and it will have the same screen size and resolution as the ExoPC Slate. But it will also communicate via 3G and Wi-Fi, and include things you don't get on the iPad such as GPS, and two cameras -- separate front-facing and rear-facing ones. You'll even be able to make cellular voice calls with it. (So does this make the Gemini a giant smartphone?)

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Product: JooJoo

Screen Size and Resolution: 12.1"; 1366x768

Operating System: Based on Linux

Communication: 3G and Wi-Fi

Shipping now

Originally known as the CrunchPad and still the subject of an ownership dispute among its creators, the JooJoo was the first slate/neo-tablet device to be released, although in very limited quantities only to those who pre-ordered it online in December 2009. The JooJoo sports a large screen, but an early review faulted its software — built on a customized version of Linux — for being unintuitive. Fusion Garage intends to press on with a 3G version. The original Wi-Fi version of the JooJoo is also being offered for online pre-ordering for $499.

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Product: M1Touch

Screen Size and Resolution: 10.1"; 1024x600

Operating System: Windows 7 Starter Edition or Home Premium

Communication: 3G (optional) or Wi-Fi

Ship date: Summer 2010

The M1Touch looks a little like a giant iPhone, or maybe a thicker, longer version of the iPad. But this sorta-look-alike tablet has what the iPad lacks including USB ports, a built-in camera, flash memory card slot and video output. And it runs Windows 7, so we can assume you get Flash support.

The cost of the basic version of the M1Touch will be the same as the entry level iPad: $499.

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Product: WindPad 100 and 110

Screen Size and Resolution: 10"; 1024x600

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium (WindPad 100); Android (WindPad 110)

Communication: 3G and Wi-Fi

Ship date: End of 2010

MSI has two tablets that have been revealed to the tech news media, the WindPad 100 and 110 -- both with 10-inch screens. The 100 runs Windows 7, while the 110 runs Android and includes the NVIDIA Tegra 2 graphics chipset. MSI says it wants to release the WindPad 100 for $499 sometime this year, but aren't sure what it will do with the WindPad 110, if anything at all.

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Product: Touchpad BC10

Screen Size and Resolution: 10.1"; 1024x600

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium

Communication: Wi-Fi

Ship date: Summer 2010

Other than for having USB ports and a front-facing camera, the BC10 doesn't look like it will stand out much from the iPad, or the other comparable tablets we're featuring in this slideshow. Even less remarkable is that the BC10 runs on a mobile Celeron 1.3GHz processor.

The CEO of Hanvon smashed an ice sculpture of an apple at a press conference to celebrate the announcement of the BC10 -- but the device's reported price of over $600 may make doing the same to Apple's iPad sales numbers difficult.

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Product: WeTab

Screen Size and Resolution: 11.6", 1366x768

Operating System: Based on Linux

Communication: 3G and Wi-Fi

Ship date: August 2010

First called the WePad before renamed to something we presume sounds less infringing than you-know-who's tablet, the WeTab looks to be like a scaled back version of the Gemini, with fewer features. But it still has the major things that the iPad lacks (camera, Flash support, GPS).

For now, it's unclear as to whether the WeTab's OS is Android. (Its product details Web page says cryptically the WeTab supports Android apps.) Even more perplexing, when German company Neofonie showed off the WeTab at a press conference, the prototype was running some version of Windows — which was revealed when its user interface crashed.

Howard Wen reports on technology news, trends and products as a frequent contributor to Network World and Computerworld.