iPad competitors: The top 20 to watch [UPDATED]

iPad competitors: The top 20 to watch [UPDATED]

Summary: The Apple iPad has re-energized the market for tablet computers but it has gone most of 2010 without much competition. That's changing. Here's an updated list of 20 upstarts taking aim at the iPad.

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The Apple iPad has re-energized the market for tablet computers but it has gone nearly all of 2010 without a serious challenger. That's changing. Here's is my updated list of the top 20 upstarts that are taking aim at the iPad.

The best way to view this list is the companion slide show so that you can get a look at each of the tablets. Otherwise, you can get a quick summary in the list below. I've only featured tablets that have at least 7-inch screens and that have been officially announced (in most cases). The list also serves as a ranking. I've put the ones that are the most promising and the most likely to actually make it to market at the top of the list.

1. Samsung Galaxy Tab

Based on a similar design to the Samsung Galaxy S smartphones, this 7-inch Android 2.2 tablet is loaded with strong specs and will be available on many different carriers, including all of the big four in the US. It is the iPad's most serious competitor to arrive in 2010.

3. BlackBerry PlayBook

Aimed at stopping the iPad's momentum with executives and business professionals, the 7-inch BlackBerry tablet will be built on its own QNX operating system and is flush with power with a 1 GHz dual core CPU and 1 GB of RAM. But, battery life could be an issue and the PlayBook won't arrive until 2011. RIM recently said the PlayBook will sell for under $500, which will make it a tempting enterprise device.

4. Cisco Cius

Primarily an enterprise communications and collaboration device, the Cisco Cius is an 7-inch Android tablet with a heavy layer of Cisco customization on top. Consumers won't be interested, but existing Cisco customers who want a corporate-controlled tablet might be.

2. HP Slate 500

Announced by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at CES 2010 in January, this HP "Slate PC" running Windows 7 was intended to preempt Apple's iPad announcement later that month. It was reportedly canceled in mid-2010 when HP bought Palm and said it was going to create a webOS tablet instead. Then, the HP Slate 500 was revived this fall. HP recently admitted that demand for the Slate 500 has been stronger than the company anticipated.

5. Toshiba Libretto

One of the more innovative tablet competitors is the Libretto with its dual 7-inch multi-touch screens. One screen can be used entirely as a virtual keyboard while you work on the other. It runs Windows 7 acts a little more like a netbook than a tablet but it's an interesting concept.

6. ViewSonic ViewPad 100

This 10-inch tablet dual boots Windows 7 and Android 1.6. It has an LED display, 1 GB of RAM, a 1.66 GHz CPU, and a 16 GB onboard SSD drive.

7. ASUS Eee Pad

Now one of the world's top five computer makers and one of the leaders in design, ASUS has talked throughout the year about launching various iPad competitors (branded "Eee Pad") from 9-inch to 12-inch models, running Windows 7, Windows Embedded Compact, or Android. ASUS has promised a tablet will be coming in the first quarter of 2011.

8. Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid

One of the big hits of CES 2010, the IdeaPad U1 Hybrid is a convertible tablet with a multi-touch screen that detaches from a hardware keyboard. The main system runs Windows 7 but the detachable 11.6-inch screen turns into a standalone tablet running Linux. It has been delayed until 2011, but Lenovo says the standalone tablet will also be released separately as the Lenovo LePad.

9. Archos 10.1

Archos is a PDA and tablet company that has been trying to break into this market for a couple years with several different form factors and operating systems. The company could have a moderate success with its 10-inch tablet running Android 2.2

10. Toshiba Folio 100

This 10-inch tablet runs on the Nvidia Tegra processor and Android 2.2. Unlike the Toshiba Libretto, this is a standard slate form factor. It's a vanilla tablet that Toshiba will try to price as low as possible.

11. LG Android tablet

We don't know much about this one other than it will run Android, have "high-end features," focus on productivity, and LG executive Chang Ma said "Our tablet will be better than the iPad."

12. MSI WindPad 100

This one is expected to come in both Windows 7 and Android versions. The Windows version has heavy specs with an Intel Atom processor, 2 GB of RAM, 2 USB ports, an HDMI port, and a 32 GB SSD drive.

13. Notion Ink Adam

One of the more intriguing iPad alternatives is the Adam from Notion Ink. It features a very slim, attractive design in a 10-inch tablet with a unique Pixel Qi display, Nvidia Tegra2, and Android 2.2.

14. NEC LifeTouch

This 7-inch Android 2.1 tablet is primarily aimed at accessing apps over the network and will be launched first in Japan. It will be sold to enterprises rather than consumers and NEC envisions it being used for health care, sales, and logistics work.

15. ExoPC Slate

This is a minimalistic tablet running Windows 7, an 11-inch display, and an Intel Atom processor. It has its own custom UI running on top of Windows and is focused primarily on multimedia.

16. Motion J3500

Motion has been on the most effective Tablet PC makers for niche industries, even as Microsoft let the Tablet PC platform languish in recent years. The J3500 is a ruggedized tablet that can run up to a Core i7 processor and Windows 7. It has both Microsoft's traditional pen technology as well as capacitive touchscreen. It's expensive but powerful.

17. Viliv X70 EX

The X70 EX looks less like the iPad and more like the Windows Ultra-Mobile PCs (UMPCs) of the past. It's a 7-inch tablet made to operate with two hands. It's a Windows + Intel device that is also made to easily mount in your car as a GPS.

18. EnTourage eDGe

Like the Toshiba Libretto, the enTourage eDGe features dual screens, but the eDGe has an e-ink e-reader on one side and an Android tablet OS on the other side.

19. Nefonie WeTab

This tablet (formerly called the "WePad") runs the MeeGo OS in an 11-inch form factor and is powered by an Intel Atom processor.

20. Augen Gentouch78

Also known as the "K-Mart tablet," the Gentouch78 is perhaps best known for its low price - $150. However, considering this Android tablet is barely functional, even 150 bucks might be too much to spend on this 7-incher.

Don't forget to check out the companion slide show, which provides a look at each of these tablets.

This article was originally published on TechRepublic.

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, iPad, Laptops, Mobility

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72 comments
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  • Personally

    I can't wait to see the HP Slate or the ASUS EEE Pad. Although seeing how the Slate is meant for the enterprise, I have hope for the EEE Pad. ASUS makes some nice stuff.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • How come **$599** Galaxy Tab is "most serious competitor" with that price?

      @Cylon Centurion 0005: I mean <b>does Jason really understand what he writes in such description?</b>

      For these money you can have the real deal -- twice bigger (10") of much better quality (IPS) screen iPad with longer batter life, the only OS that currently optimized for tablet form factor and with 35 000 applications ready. With $30 more than Galaxy Tab price iPad will come with built-in 3G support.
      DDERSSS
      • RE: Watch list: 20 iPad competitors

        @denisrs no flash
        azurehi
      • RE: Watch list: 20 iPad competitors

        @ azurehi - given the reviews of how flash is performing on the Galaxy Tab, what it does to browser performance and what it does to battery life.. no flash is a feature... LOL..

        c'mon, the world has changed.. unless you're heavily into porn, and love banner advertising you really don't need flash.. flash games do not even work on these things for the most part.. or works so slow to be useless.. the only thing we're talking about here is flash video.. if you're heavily into porn i can understand.. lol... other than that, most larger sites have moved on to HTML video.. games... get the app..
        doctorSpoc
      • RE: Watch list: 20 iPad competitors

        @denisrs How is "10 3x the size of 7"? And iOS isnt optimized for tablets either, there are just some apps that were redone to take advantage of the larger screen. The same thing will happen on Android. But the iPad is far from the "real deal", with its lack of format support, making its large screen useless for watching movies unless you want to spend time converting them, it also lacks flash, for browsing the web in its entirety, forcing you to browse only mobile websites or be faced with blank boxes everywhere, and it also lacks multitasking. Also all the Galaxy tabs have 3G.
        Jimster480
      • RE: Watch list: 20 iPad competitors

        @denisrs

        No matter how you dress it up a toy is still a toy. A tablet needs a real OS, not a phone OS (without the phone).
        tonymcs1
    • RE: Watch list: 20 iPad competitors

      [i]I can't wait to see the HP Slate or the ASUS EEE Pad.[/i]

      @Cylon Centurion 0005 Nicholas

      Why don't you get off that wanna-be kick. The Slate is a dead dodo. Vaporwear from the get-go.

      The iPad still has 'em beat.
      ahh so
      • RE: Watch list: 20 iPad competitors

        @ahh so The iPad sucks. Real talk. The Galaxy pad is overpriced. Real talk.
        Jimster480
  • Who cares?

    It's mostly just vaporware. When there is an actual product that I can BUY, come and talk to me..otherwise, stop reporting on products that will "probably" exist.

    You might as well spend time talking about jetpacks and times machines.
    trickytom3
    • yeeep!

      @trickytom3 Absolutely correct statement. It does not matter whether you like Apple or not in this case ... That is the correct state of the market now - there is only one product that is actually available ...
      GeorgeAtha
      • RE: Watch list: 20 iPad competitors

        @GeorgeAtha Actually there are tons of tablets which are available from China. And many of them have some damn good specs too.
        Jimster480
      • spec, but how are they in use.. that's what counts..

        @GeorgeAtha - all this cheap shlock from China has crappy resistive screen, slow processors, flaky software.. no access to android marketplace etc.. look at the fine print..

        look at the not so fine print.. Google even says that android as is, is not appropriate for tablets.. there are only scaled up phone apps running on a scaled up phone OS.. until android gets to 3.0 (honeycomb) these android "tablets" are just big phones that can't fit in your pocket..

        iPad has a specially adjusted iOS for tablets, given dev tools to design for tablets and their are over 35,000 apps specifically redesigned to take advantage or larger tablet screen.. these are apps that really provide utility and usability gains over the phone version.. not just scaled up phone apps like you get on android..
        doctorSpoc
    • Jetpacks and Time Machines . . .

      @trickytom3

      They've done that topic on occasion (It IS a tech site, after all . . .)
      JLHenry
  • a joke, right?

    ok, the wetab is already on the market and i had the honor to try it out last week. it is a complete and utter joke.

    what else have we got? a huge, and very expensive smartphone (galaxy tab).

    and the joojooo? are they still producing it? after even the 50 geeks that ordered it out of pure apple hatred had given it back.

    did i forget something? is any other of this "competitors" real?

    ok, some windows tablets that have been on the market for ages and that no one cared about maybe.
    banned from zdnet
    • RE: Watch list: 20 iPad competitors

      @banned from zdnet
      Since nothing seems satisfactory, consider it a list of top 10 things to rip instead of the iPad.
      DannyO_0x98
  • iPad competitor or iPad WANNABE

    Wish that list was of competitor. In reality, they are just iPad wannabe products from companies that were caught by surprise when the iPad actually succeeded where most failed miserably in the past.

    Unfortunately, most are just rushing junk out to see if they can get a little of what the iPad is getting. But they don't realize that 1st impression can kill a brand name from the beginning. If the 1st generation is pure junk, it will be label junk for the rest of its lifespan (and any other similar product from the same company).
    wackoae
    • They're hardly rushing

      @wackoae

      Nothing is even out yet.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Watch list: 20 iPad competitors

      For the tablet fad to continue there will need to be devices with good hardware and low prices. Not much of what is other there can hit the shelves at $200. They will need to get close to that.
      Schoolboy Bob
    • RE: Watch list: 20 iPad competitors

      @wackoae I'm still not sure how the iPad is a success. It has sold under 10M units WORLDWIDE. Thats less than 1% of population. Meaning basically nobody has one.
      Jimster480
      • You mean there's a world outside the US & EUrabia? :P

        @Jimster480
        It always amuses me how the Euros & the Yanks think so 'locally'. Sure, if I personally sold millions of units of a piece of hardware, I'd be pretty pleased with myself. But considering the proportion of the world's total populace that DOES own any sort of 'pad' - or will ever have the disposable income to do so - we are really talking about peeing contests in the local pond. May the best pee-er win... ;)
        naibeeru