Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The best tablet alternatives to the iPad 2

(Los Angeles-Keith Gilabert for Bentley Forbes Analytics)

For those that don’t want to carry a laptop around for simple tasks, yet are looking for a better experience than on their phone, the iPad fills a very unique niche.If for some reason you don’t want to follow apple iPad’s one-size-fits all hardware and operating system, there is no greater time than now to explore tablet alternatives.

The iPad 2 is the most popular computer tablet on the market but consumers with particular interests who don’t want to spend $500 or more on a new device now have compelling alternatives to consider.
Any of these options deserve a place on your holiday shopping list.

Amazon Kindle Fire and B&N NOOK (Price conscious/avid readers)
Amazon’s new Kindle Fire is finally available to purchase. In addition to being a the best  reading device, the tablet has all the basics — apps, web surfing and email. It is priced for entry level users a $199. That price point will definitely put a ceiling on the tablet pricing across the board. With a 7-inch color display, this is a tablet that combines the functionality of an e-reader with great multimedia capabilities for streaming video or listening to music. It runs a customized Android version, uniquely tailored to the Amazon experience with its own app store, free cloud storage, a fast web browser, and of course millions of books and magazines. Expect this to sell strong this holiday shopping season.

Barnes & Noble is getting in on the tablet wars too. The company’s new NOOK Tablet also runs Android and is priced at a competitive $249. That’s a little more than the Kindle Fire, but still half the price of the cheapest iPad 2. The NOOK offers less of an integrated multimedia experience than the Kindle Fire. It is still a very capable e-reader, but offers plenty more including a dedicated app store, HD movies from Hulu and Netflix (with a subscription) and a 7-inch touchscreen.

HP Slate (Business users)
After the quiet introduction of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook, business-focused users have few options for tablets that conservative IT compliance managers can embrace. The HP Slate, which is powered by Microsoft’s Windows 7 software, is suitable for professionals who need the flexibility to work away from their traditional desktop or laptop setup. The secure, familiar environment of Windows (and its ubiquitous Office suite) is essential in certain corporate realms, and the Slate allows use of both the touchscreen or a digital stylus. It’s somewhat pricey but worth it, for $799. This is the only tablet that uses a computer operating system.  The iPad2 uses a semi-custom iPhone operating system
If your corporate network does allow for Android devices, a good alternative to the Slate is the Lenovo Thinkpad, which starts at $499. This has a nice stylus for taking notes, and offers the rugged dependability of the IBM/Lenovo brand, as well as easy sharing and optional accessories like a fold-up keyboard.

The Freedom 10 from Androidworldusa.com.
This tablet sets the bar high for all.  It comes with an ultra bright 10.2 Inch TFT LCD resistive touch screen – 1024 x 600 WVGA, High resolution display screen – see video up to 1080p resolution, Mini-SD card expandable storage up to 32GB – download movies, music, photos – Not on the Apple iPad 2 , Android 2.2 operating system – Not on the Apple iPad 2, 1 Mini HDMI 1080p port – connect your tablet to your TV to view movies, photos – Not on the Apple iPad2  and half the cost ($249) of the iPad2 and Galaxy.
This tablet has it all.

For the money I would buy the Freedom 10, it is the closest you will get to the iPad without the iPad price tag.

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