Thursday, April 14, 2011

notes from the tablet symposium

I recently attended a Tablet Symposium hosted by the ATLE (Alberta Technology Leaders in Education) where a number of vendors presented their current or upcoming tablets. While there we added information to a specifications spreadsheet, and what follows are my personal impressions from that symposium, in the order that the presentations occurred.

HP
WebOS is very cool, and I think they will be a major player. Good integration with their smart phones, similar to RIM. I'll be interested when these products finally come out. I really like their inductive charging.

Toshiba
They seemed to say, "We'll also be making tablets in the future, both Android and Windows."

Asus
Eee Pad Transformer is awesome. $400, decent specs, and a keyboard dock that turns it into a laptop and doubles the battery life. My favorite of the event. The Slider and MeMO look decent too, but I'm not interested in their Windows 7 tablet, even though it's available now.

RIM
Integrates with your BlackBerry, works without it too. Committed to the seven inch size for thumb typing and portability, which I like.

Dell
I'm not impressed with the Dell Streak 5 and 7. Android 2.2 and relatively low resolution makes them seem like big phones. The convertible Inspiron Duo netbook/tablet is not bad if you're wanting a Windows netbook anyway.

Samsung
The current Galaxy Tab is overpriced and not competitive any more, there's not much information available about the attractive upcoming Android 3.0 tablets.

Acer
Android 3.0, Windows 7, decent specs, not much information on price or availability.

Motorola
The Xoom is nice, good specs, Android 3.0, cheaper than the equivalent iPad, and available now.

So if I had to rank my favorites, off the top of my head based on my impressions, I'd say:

  1. Asus Eee Pad Transformer
  2. Motorola Xoom
  3. HP TouchPad
  4. BlackBerry Playbook
A number of the things we saw were pre-production, so don't hold me to this list, but I just wanted to write some quick off-the-cuff remarks.

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Edit: One of my colleagues wanted to add that although his overall impression was positive, it would have been beneficial for us to have more play time with the devices, rather than just passing them around the room. He also wanted to note that he too was impressed with the Motorola Xoom and the Asus Eee Pad.

2 comments:

John said...

You didn't look at iPads, too?

Mr. Hay said...

Apple was invited, but didn't show up. The iPad was the elephant in the room, though. I have to say that using Android 3.0 makes iOS seem a little childish and slow.