Beyond iPad: Top 10 tablets to watch this year

Summary:The tablet space is going to get smoking hot this year, with some compelling devices hitting the market that will crank things up. These are the top 10 tablets to watch this year.

Tablets are hot, thanks to the original iPad and now the iPad 2. Long lines to buy the iPad prove that the tablet concept is here to stay as it is proving popular with consumers. The tablet space is going to get really smoking hot this year with some compelling devices hitting the market that will crank things up a notch. Here are the top 10 tablets to watch this year.

Check out the top 10 tablets to watch this year.


Image Gallery: Check out the top 10 tablets to watch this year presented in photos.
Image Gallery: Top tablets
Image Gallery: Top tablets

1. Apple iPad. No list would be complete without the tablet that started the whole craze. The second generation iPad is thinner, lighter and more capable than the original version, and should keep dominating the sales charts in 2011. The iPad has a 9.7-inch screen.

2. Motorola XOOM. In spite of a rocky start out of the gate, the premiere tablet running Android Honeycomb optimized for tablets is a tablet to watch. Motorola and Verizon should be adding the free 4G upgrade soon, and the WiFi-only model will be hitting store shelves shortly. The XOOM has a 10.1-inch display.

3. HP TouchPad. The TouchPad is the first webOS-based tablet, and when presented last month showed to be a compelling device. The webOS platform is well designed for tablet screens, and HP is adding special wireless interaction with the upcoming Pre 3 smartphone to set the TouchPad apart from the pack. It is expected to hit the market in the June timeframe. HP is also rumored to be working on a 7-inch version of this tablet, but has not confirmed it officially. The TouchPad sports a 10.1-inch screen.

4. HTC Flyer. The top Android phone maker is bringing its first tablet to market with a unique feature that sets it apart. The Flyer will sport an HTC-optimized Android interface much like its smartphones, and adds Scribe technology for handwriting and drawing onscreen with an optional pen. It will work with cloud-based Evernote for handwritten note-taking. The Flyer has a 7-inch display that supports both touch operation and pen input.

5. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Samsung is following last year's popular Tab with the Tab 10.1. This model is roughly as thin and light as the iPad, and will ship with Android Honeycomb. Samsung is making a serious effort to compete with the iPad in both form and price. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 has a 10.1-inch screen (get it?).

6. Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9. The second model in Samsung's tablet line this year is similar to the other Galaxy Tab on the list, but in a smaller package. It is a thin tablet that is priced to give the iPad a run for the money in the tablet space. The Galaxy Tab 8.9 has a 8.9-inch display.

7. RIM PlayBook. The folks behind the BlackBerry are poised to set the PlayBook loose on the masses, and it is a tablet to watch. Running its own QNX operating system, the PlayBook is designed from the ground up for intuitive touch operation. While a standalone tablet, the PlayBook will gain additional capabilities when used in conjunction with some BlackBerry phones. The PlayBook has a 7-inch screen.

8. Sprint View 4G. The View 4G is basically the HTC Flyer above, but makes the list due to the addition of Sprint 4G connectivity. It has all of the features of the Flyer including pen capability, at Sprint WiMAX speeds. It has a 7-inch display.

9. Asus Eee Pad Transformer. The inventors of the netbook are entering the tablet space with an Android device that has some unique features. Primarily, the Eee Pad will work with optional accessories such as a keyboard dock that turns the Eee Pad into a full Android notebook. The Transformer has a 10.1-inch IPS display.

10. LG G-Slate. LG will be releasing a mid-size Android tablet with a 3D camera. While the 3D video capture is a gimmick, the G-Slate has a solid set of features that make it a capable tablet worth watching. It will be released in the U.S. on T-Mobile shortly. The G-Slate has a 8.9-inch screen.

See related coverage:

Topics: iPad, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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