Tablets: your future tech prescription

CES-2011 In Las Vegas right now, the Consumer Electronic Show 2011 (aka CES) is in full flow and the big news again this year is tablets. In this post-iPad world, tablets are the must-have product for every company in town and because Android is an open source operating system there’s a gold rush of tablets out there. 

 

Vizio-Tablet While the current kings of the hill are the iPad and its nearest challenger the Samsung Galaxy Tab, there’s a whole slew of tablets coming from big companies (such as Sony which has promised an as yet unnamed tablet later this year) and less well-known ones (such as Vizio which has shown the 8in Vizio Tablet, pictured right, with universal remote skills, HDMI, micro-USB and 4GB of onboard storage). 

That’s great news but only if those devices arrive at an affordable price rather than creating a whole new confusing mass of pricey products that don’t do what you want them to. 

Tablets are really exciting. Larger tablets like the iPad make watching movies, catching up on email and playing games like Angry Birds really fun while smaller tablets like the 7in Samsung Galaxy Tab give you a pocketable but powerful touchscreen computer. However, with a huge spread of devices, all running different operating systems and offering access to different selections of apps, it’s going to get trickier to pick which one is for you.

A key thing to remember with a tablet is that you need a good data deal. The ability to hop onto 3G as well as WiFi with your tablet is a great thing but not if that tablet ends up gobbling up tonnes of data willy-nilly and inflating your mobile bill to pocket-punshing proportions. 

Those data packages will be what counts most whether you grab the intriguing new Blackberry Playbook (which runs the same QNX OS as some Porsche cars and a few tanks besides), Android tablets like the newly announced Motorola Xoom (which comes packing the tablet-optimised Android Honeycomb) or the as yet unannounced Palm webOS-packing Palmpad or devices with Google’s cloud operating system Chrome OS.

Ultimately, no one tablet prescription will suit everyone. It’s important that manufacturers produce a wide range of affordable and feature-filled tablets with different options and form factors to suit a wide range of uses. One tablet will not and cannot rule them all and O2 will make sure it offers you a good selection of the best of the new devices.

Now let us know: what tablet are you craving? Are you committed to the iPad or have other options caught your eye?

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