Monday, January 11, 2010

Tablets & Slates of CES2010

Buzz It

Aluratek • $179 • Available: February
More of a straightforward portable media player than a slate or tablet, the Cinepal features a 8.9-inch display with 4GB of built-in memory, an SD/SDHC expansion slot, 720p display and built-in Lithium ion battery good for up to six hours of continuous use. It will tackle your DRM’ed DivX files along with most anything you can throw at it: WMA, MP3, AVI, VOB, DAT, MPEG, H.264, MKV, JPEG and more.

Dash Internet Viewer
Sony • $199 • Available: April
Despite initially looking like Sony’s answer to a slate/tablet, this is not a portable device but rather a Chumby OS-packing alarm clock on steroids. The 7-inch device has touchscreen and Wi-Fi and can run over 1,000 free Chumby apps. Sony will also be adding their own widgets for Sony Music and Sony Pictures properties, including movie trailers and music videos. And yes, you can also use it as an alarm clock.

Paradigm Shift • $369.95 • Available: March
Available with either black or white casing, Paradigm Shift’s EMT-10AB/W tablet is a 1024 x 600 touchscreen running an 800MHz Marvel PX166 processor. 2GB of flash storage is included (and can be upgraded to 16GB) and the clumsily-named device is also packing Wi-Fi, VGA out, and SD card slot for even more expansion, and the option of built-in 3G.

Mio iLet
Haleron • $419 (base price) • Available: Next week
Packing a 10-inch, 1024 x 600 multitouch screen with a 1.6GHz Atom N450 processor, 160GB hard drive, 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi, complete with pleather carrying case, Haleron’s tablet aims to offer a buffet of options. Add 3G data for $100 or even quad-band GSM for $50 more, up to $260 more for a bigger hard drive or even $75 for GPS. It’s running an oddball variation of Windows 7, but it also looks to be one of the first of this bunch to actually get out of the gate, too.

HP Slate
Hewlett-Packard • Price TBA • Available: “Later this year”
Unveiled by none other than Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer himself, HP’s unnamed tablet (which everyone keeps calling a “slate”) is a multi-faceted, Windows 7-based, multi-touch device. “They’re more powerful than a phone and almost as powerful as a PC,” Ballmer explained during his keynote. “Perfect for reading, surfing the web and taking entertainment on the go.” It was demonstrated using the Amazon Kindle for PC desktop application using Stephanie Meyer’s tween sensation “Twilight” and even with some light gaming by way of Frogger. This one has a quick (albeit mostly shrouded in darkness) video demo to tease us with.

Streak (unconfirmed)
Dell Inc. • Price & availability unknown
To quote an infamous kitschy tune from the ‘70s: “Oh yes, they call him The Streak!” Or, maybe they don’t -- Dell showed off this sleek, 5-inch tablet this morning during their CES event, referring to it only as a “slate,” and one of several such devices they’re hard at work on back in Round Rock, Texas. Something similar to this showed up in company documents with the “Streak” name attached, but Dell isn’t saying.

All we do know for sure is that it runs Google’s Android with a touch-screen keyboard, multi-player gaming functionality and media sharing capabilities. Both Engadget and Gizmodo got to peek at it for a minute and a half and reported that the device also features a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash on its rear side, a built-in stand and a SIM slot which in theory enables it to, at the very least, use a 3G connection to hop on the Internet. Could it be Dell’s answer to an iPod touch? Or an all-out media player in the tradition of the Archos 5 Internet Tablet? Only time will tell.

TouchSmart tm2
Hewlett-Packard • Price: $949 • Available: Jan. 17
If you like the tablet concept but prefer things a little more traditional, HP aims to give you both with the TouchSmart tm2. It’s a 12.1-inch laptop packing Intel Core 2 Duo processors, ATI Mobility Radeon graphics and boasting 9 hours of battery life. The screen is capacitive multitouch (friendly to either finger or pen) and the whole thing is convertible so you can use it as a chunky tablet or flip the screen around to use it as a traditional laptop with keyboard and unibutton touchpad.

Vega (aka Tegra)
Innovative Converged Devices • Price TBA • Available: “Before the end of the year”
An Internet-connected, 15-inch Android-based tablet, this one is being groomed as a family device capable of maintaining a household calendar, while being powerful enough to handle 1080p video playback at the same time. All the usual stuff can be found here: Wi-Fi web browsing, on-demand TV, access to social networks, video chat and games, not to mention an FM radio. It’s heading first to T-Mobile UK by year’s end; no word on when it might land in America yet.


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