Tablets, Real and Rumored

A quick look at tablets on the market today and that might be available soon.

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http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2010/051810-tablets.html

The iPad is popular, but it's got lots of company

With more than a million units sold in less than a month, it's pretty clear that Apple's iPad touchscreen tablet has been a success so far. But Apple isn't the only company out there to develop a tablet, as there are several iPad alternatives on the market or in the works right now that could give the iPad a run for its money.

Three Ways the iPad Will Change Industries

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The iPad

We might as well start off with the iPad since it's the most popular tablet and it's the standard to which other tablets will be held. The iPad's specs are indeed impressive, as it includes a 1GHz Apple A4 processor, a 9.7-inch screen with a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels and connectivity with both Wi-Fi and GSM-based 3G networks. Combine this with the wide variety of applications available in the iTunes App Store, and you've got a tablet that presents a strong standard for the competition.

Operating system: iPhone OS

Price: $500 for 16GB Wi-Fi model; $629 for 16GB Wi-Fi/3G model.

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The Archos 7 Home Tablet

As an Android based tablet whose price starts at a mere $199, the Archos 7 Home Tablet has significantly less impressive specs than the iPad. The tablet features a 7-inch screen with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels and has flash memory of 2GB to 8GB. Obviously not as strong as the iPad, the Archos 7 does provide a low-budget alternative.

Operating system: Android

Price: Starts at $199.

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The Dell Mini Streak

The Mini Streak is a much smaller touchscreen tablet than the iPhone, checking in at only 5 inches with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. At the same time, the Streak will have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1GHz processor that will give it equal processing power to the iPad. The device is expected to make its debut on AT&T this summer and it will support both Wi-Fi and 3G GSM connectivity.

Operating system: Android

Price: Unknown

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Lenovo IdeaPad U1

What makes the IdeaPad U1 so interesting is that it's really a hybrid tablet that can be plugged into a keyboard terminal and used as a more traditional PC. The device runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor as a tablet and on an Intel Core 2 Duo SU4100 processor when attached to its terminal. Like other tablets, it has both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. The IdeaPad U1 is due out this summer.

Operating system: Windows

Price: Suggested at $999.

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HP Hurricane

This tablet will be closely watched when it's finally released as it will be the first tablet on the market to feature Palm's webOS operating system. This device will be the first test of HP's acquisition of Palm and will go a long way in telling us whether webOS has a strong future ahead of it.

Operating system: webOS

Price: Unknown

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The BlackBerry tablet

Boy Genius Report first broke news of RIM's BlackBerry tablet last week and reported that RIM is looking at the tablet more as a "companion device" rather than a direct competitor for the iPad. Per BGR, it seems that the device will have an 8.9-inch touchscreen and will not feature any 3G connectivity — in other words, it will have to connect through Wi-Fi or through tethering it to your existing BlackBerry device. BGR also reports that the device is slated for release in December.

Operating system: BlackBerry OS

Price: Unknown

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The Verizon-Google tablet

Unlike the other tablets mentioned here, we have no real details on this device other than it's a joint project between Google and Verizon and it will feature Android as its operating system. Although there's no firm timetable for when the tablet will be released, Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam hinted in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that it would be released next year and could feature 4G connectivity with Verizon's LTE network.

Operating system: Android

Price: Unknown