Top 10 Android Tablets: Dell Streak Pricing, Sale Date Set
Google's open source mobile platform Android just surpassed Apple's iOS in the smartphone operating system market in terms of sales for the second quarter, and the next big battleground looks to be the tablet market -- where Android-based mobile devices will come up against Apple's impressive iPad.
Right now the only readily available Android tablet is the Archos 7 Home Tablet, a low cost 7-inch, touchscreen device with no accelerometer and an outdated resistive touchscreen that lacks the ability to download and run mobile apps from the Android Market.
But all that is about to change as a whole raft of new Android tablet devices hit the market in the coming weeks. Here are the top 5, not in any order, that are due to launch, plus a few more that have been announced but about which relatively little has been revealed.
- Dell Streak
Just about the only Android-powered tablet apart from the Archos device that's already been released, the diminutive Dell Streak has a 5-inch 800x480 screen, front and rear cameras and built-in 3G connectivity, making it more of an oversized phone than a direct competitor to the iPad. Its Snapdragon processor runs a customized version of Android with Dell's custom UI enhancements, and the device can also access apps on the Android Market. Dell announced today that it will be available for $299 with a new, two-year contract on AT&T, $549 without. It goes on sale Friday, with orders for pre-sales beginning tomorrow. The Streak will ship with Android 1.6, but will be updated to Android 2.2 with an over-the-air upgrade "later this year."
- Acer 10-inch tablet
Expected some time in Q4 2010, Acer's as yet unnamed iPad competitor will run Android 2.2 -- which means support for Adobe's Flash -- powered by and ARM chipset. The device will also have built-in 3G connectivity, like the iPad, which suggests that it may be available through one lucky carrier at a subsidized price.
- Samsung Galaxy Tab
As the name suggests, Samsung's Galaxy Tab tablet will be a larger version of its Galaxy S Android smartphone, sporting a 7-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen and 16GB of storage, expandable to 32GB using a memory card. The device will have 3G built in, and will be powered by an A8 processor when it is released towards the end of Q3 2010.
- Velocity Micro Cruz
Velocity Micro is best known for its top range gaming PCs, but the Cruz is a 7-inch Android tablet that looks like a mini iPad. It has a 800x480 pixel screen, 4GB storage expandable through an SD slot, and also includes an accelerometer and USB port. It's not clear yet what version of Android it will run, but it is due out this month for just $299.
- Cisco Cius
Targeted at business users, the new Cisco Cius -- which is slated for customer trials in the third quarter and full availability in the beginning of 2011 -- includes a number of features designed to appeal to on-the-go information workers. For example, the Cius offers both front- and rear-facing 720p HD cameras to enable full video collaboration. It will also integrate with Cisco's suite of collaboration software including the Cisco Quad, WebEx and instant messaging platforms. The device is also designed to be lightweight, tipping the scale at 1.15 lbs. The Cius includes a docking/recharging station that resembles a traditional Cisco IP phone, complete with handset. The Cius device itself has a 7-inch screen and is Wi-Fi enabled with 802.11a/b/g/n connectivity as well as Bluetooth and 3G wireless capabilities.
On the horizon:
- Asus Eee Pad EP101TC
Asus has switched horses with this tablet device -- it was originally slated to run Microsoft's Window Embedded Compact 7 but will now be powered by Android 2.2, or possibly Android 3.0, when it is released. Not much more is known about it, except that it is likely to be available some time in early 2011.
- Motorola Android tablet
So far all that is known about this Android-based, touchscreen tablet is that it's being developed for Verizon's network, and will have a large 10-inch screen. It's thought that it will offer Verizon's FiOS television service when it is launched some time in Q4 2010. Motorola already has a successful range of Android cellphones under its belt, including the Droid X, so launching a larger tablet device is a natural move for the company.
- LG Android tablet
The Korean giant has said it will have and Android-based tablet by Q4 2010. Not much else is known for the moment.
- Toshiba Slates
Toshiba's SmartPad was announced in July, but little is known about it yet. The device will probably have HDMI and USB ports, and will run either Android or Win7. It could be released before the end of October in some form or other.
- HP Android tablet
Following the acquisition of Palm in April for $1.2 billion, HP has delayed the launch of an Android-based tablet until next year -- or perhaps forever. In the meantime HP is working on a webOS-based slate -- thought to be called Hurricane. If it's a success then don't hold your breath for an Android device.