An epic battle between the ruler of the tablet universe and the tablets of Android-land is about to begin once more. In other words, it is that time of year again when Apple shows to the rest of the world what the company has been cooking in its minimalist kitchen – which is often followed by the usual praises, bickering and back and forth arguments amongst critics and users. In case you didn’t receive the memo, we should inform you that Apple is expected to unveil the upcoming iPad 3 on March 7. (If rumors are to be believed, it may be known as the iPad HD instead).
Now would be a good time to take a breather after the Android assault that was Mobile World Congress 2012 — and enlist the army of Android tablets that the Apple iPad 3 will be up against.
In order to capture the attention of the general public, a couple of tablet manufacturers have decided to take the path less traveled. Instead of coming out with same ol’ same ol’, companies like Samsung, Asus and Toshiba added unique capabilities and designs to their tablets. It remains to be seen if these distinctions would be enough to cement their positions in the market. Nevertheless, let’s give it up for the Samsung Galaxy Note, Asus Padfone, Asus Transformer Prime and Toshiba AT270.
We don’t mind singing the praises of Samsung Galaxy Note on Sunday – if only for being ever so bold to create a hybrid of phone and tablet that actually works. Since the South Korean company doesn’t even know how to call it, let’s just call the Galaxy Note a phablet. Taking a leaf from Dell and HTC, the Galaxy Note is a 5.3-inch monster of a phone or a slightly smaller tablet that comes with an active stylus for note-taking purposes. It seems people are digging the Galaxy Note. Samsung reports that they have shipped over 2 million units of the phablet worldwide.
The Asus Padfone – and a host of accessories that you can buy for it – is an interesting bunch. It really is an Android phone with a 4.3-inch screen. But slide it in the proper slot, and boom, you have a working tablet that utilizes the Padfone as its brain. The 10.1-inch screen certainly is more ideal to play Cut the Rope. Connect the tablet to the station dock – and boom – you have a working notebook.
It would be a crime not to mention the stunningly beautiful Asus Transformer Prime / Infinity Pad and its metallic spun design. Fitting 10.1-inch super IPS panel, Nvidia quad-core CPU, and 12-hour battery life in an ultra slim 8.3mm casing that weighs 586gr is no small feat. A mobile dock is also available for it — offering a full chiclet QWERTY keyboard, USB port and an added battery life that makes the whole unit last 18 hours. The Apple iPad 3 certainly finds a formidable foe in the Transformer Prime / Infinity, especially in the looks department.
As for Toshiba AT270 – the tablet merits a place on this prestigious list for its dazzling 7.7-inch AMOLED display, 1280×800 resolution, and Tegra 3 quad-core processor. Like a phoenix rises from the ash, the AT270 is a significant departure from Toshiba’s old ways. Another thing that the tablet has got going on for is its extremely thin figure. It is possibly the thinnest tablet in the world, not just of the Android persuasion. At more or less 7.7mm (to be confirmed) – it is a feat that the tablet shares with the Toshiba Excite X10.
Rumors are aplenty when it comes to the Apple iPad 3, but we don’t know for sure what the final model would be. If it’s true that the iPad 3 will feature a 2048×1536 Retina display, then hats off for Apple for bringing something truly new to the market. Of course, there have been rumors about a certain Asus tablet that will match that higher-resolution display soon. We are also looking forward to the flagship Android tablet model that Google is expected to release in the next six months.
One of the advantages that Android tablets have over Apple iPads is that they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and prices. Like your ICS-flavored Android tablet to come with a sub-$100 price point? There’s an Ainol tablet for that. Want a high-end 10.1-inch model that costs an arm and leg? Plenty to choose from here too. No wonder rumors are rife about the intention of the Palo Alto company to release a mini model of the iPad, which may or may not come at the end of the year.
Folks, we are only at the start of the war of the tablets. While Apple has so far won the battle(s), the war is far from over.