I’ve been a tablet-fan since the now-infamous CrunchPad was announced, long before the iPad. As much as I love my iPod Touch, it’s small screen makes it less than ideal for casual surfing on the couch. In my opinion, five or seven inch tablets make little sense if portability is not a requirement, so I’ve been keeping an eye out for nine or ten inch tablets, preferably with Android.
Let me be very clear about this. I think the iPad is a very well-designed and made product. If anyone but Apple had made it I’d already have one. But I don’t want to be tied to iTunes, and I certainly don’t want the manufacturer controlling what I can and can’t do with it. That’s why I’m glad that a couple of interesting competitors were just revealed at CES.
The best options so far were the Archos 101 and the Advent Vega (or it’s identical brother POV Mobii). The Archos comes with a UPnP client installed, but according to most reviewers, the screen is terrible. That leaves the Vega/Mobii, but I’m hesitant to buy from unknown brands. One thing you want to be sure of when buying an Android tablet is that updates will be made available through the manufacturer.
The new Toshiba tablet
It doesn’t even have a name yet, but it looks like this one ticks all the boxes. Besides all the usual stuff like USB, it has a large, high resolution screen, a fast dual-core processor, and two camera’s. And except for the silver thingy around the camera, it’s not an eyesore either.
The Xoom boasts pretty much the same specs as the Toshiba, but seems to be focused more towards mobile use. It has 4G networking, which leads me to believe that, like the 7″ Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Xoom may be unaffordable without a contract. That would be a real shame, as I like the subdued looks and thin bezel.
If one of these two newly announced tablets becomes available at price point lower or equal to the iPad, I may very well get one. It seems like there finally are some viable non-Apple options in the tablet market, and I can’t wait to see what they’re like.