I SAW many tablets at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at Las Vegas. They were from established brands like Samsung, Hewlett-Packard and Dell.
But so far only one major tablet has hit the market, the iPad from Apple which was not an exhibitor at CES. More than 2 million iPads have been sold in several countries like United States, England, France, Japan and Australia. In Singapore, the iPad will make its appearance in July but no date has been set yet.
One other tablet which may be sold here is from the Chinese telecom supplier, Huawei. Its touchscreen 7-inch tablet runs the Android operating system and is powered by Qualcomm’s 1Ghz Snapdragon processor. The tablet is being exhibited at Huawei’s booth at CommunicAsia which started June 15.
It has both 3G and Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth and a microSD card. In the few minutes I had with it today at CommunicAsia, the user interface feels smooth. To move from one screen to another, just swipe with a finger from left to right. Apps opened quickly and the video was crisp. At 7 inches, it is a good size for surfing the Web. Weighing in at 500 gm, it is light enough to hold in one hand. Unfortunately, it feels hot after a few minutes of use.
Androinica, a Google Android blog, reported last week that this tablet will be launched in Australia on June 24. Mr Alan Wong, Huawei, product marketing director, Terminal (correct) for South Pacific, said yesterday at CommunicAsia that the company would be interested to market the tablet with telcos in the region.
For users who do not want to wait for this tablet or the iPad – expected next month – they can look at the Archos tablets as an alternative. However, they run Windows 7, so they need to boot up and are not an instant-on device like the Huawei’s tablet or Apple’s iPad which power up instantly.
Archos, which is sold here by Memory World in Sim Lim or Funan, comes in either 5, 7 or 9 inches. It is relatively new in the market and was recently launched in England.
The tablet world has been consumed with the iPad since it was launched on April 3. So the pending arrival of other tablets is good news. Competition gives consumers choice and for those who do not want an iPad, they will have other devices to look at.
I am hoping to see this year the Dell Streak which is a 5-inch Android tablet and Hewlett-Packard which is rumoured to be building a tablet based on a Web operating system.