Even if if the Apple Tablet/iSlate does not get released, this year is gearing up to be the year of the tablet. With many tablets about to be released this year and many more simmering in labs all around the globe — we are going to see a deluge of touchy-feely devices this year. Here’s a list of the things that you can expect this year. Most of them are new entrants or little-known companies but some of the devices are pretty attractive.
Do remember that these are first generation devices, so the core design philosophy is what actually counts here. Get over to other side for the whole list.
Camangi Webstation is from a new entrant into the entire fray. This is an Android based tablet that has already reached several reviewers for some hands on review. To cut a long story short, the reviews have not been good.
Camangi also has a Camangi Market for the Webstation. Yes, the little known company actually expects developers to tear their attention away from the iPhone and the actual Android to focus on this start up with their custom Android specifications. But hey, it never hurts to dream and we now know more about how not to make an Android Tablet.
Across most of the reviews, the device scores badly in terms of responsiveness, app selection, video performance and ever documentation. There seems to be a serious lack of proper development on the device and woe to any third party developer who spends his precious time creating an app for such a malformed device. Sure, I have not laid my hands on it and now I know that I really don’t want to. Sorry Camangi. The company is currently filling pre-orders and will soon accept online orders via their own store and Amazon. [read]
Hikari NTT iFrame
This is another Android tablet device. Heck, most of these Android devices. It is the best OS around. So anyway, this device is a from NTT Hikari, a joint venture. This will be out in Japan some time later this year and it is expected to be popular with young women in their 20s. This is a simplistic MID with photo-frame like functions along with internet access over WIFI and chosen apps for things like weather, calendar and also recipes. It’s called the iFrame (in keeping with its photo frame capabilities).
Akihabara news got a hands-on with the concept unit and in their opinion it is more like an overgrown phone without the phone capabilities. With a nice 7” screen, it has all the promise to become the thing that you want that is in between your phone and your PC. That is in fact the prime target area for most tablets in the market today. Android was primarily chosen to make the device cost effective and it will sadly be locked out of the Android Marketplace. That is because NTT is looking to make its own marketplace and make money with it. Even though it is Android, it will be fairly simple to use and will be meant for the average person.
This one was covered on this blog last year when it made the rounds of the blogosphere. This is yet another start up that is centered around yet another Android-beased tablet device that is not meant to leave the home. Yes, this is a tablet that is meant to be your companion indoors and replace your PC. It will basically provide you with functionality that is currently tied to your desktop/nettop/Laptop and will be a better furniture than the devices it will be replacing.
As talked about earlier, it will occupy that grey area in our gadget cravings that we all know we have but aren’t quite sure how to describe. Thankfully, the concept of couch-surfing is in vogue now and that comes pretty close to what I am talking about.
So Vega looks really great and sleek and all and it is from a company called Converged Devices. Must’ve taken them a really long time to come up with that name. Nevertheless, this looks slightly more promising that the Webstation for sure. If anything, they have their design aesthetics pat down. Just look at the renders. But this won’t be good for carrying around. It is meant to stay indoors and a lot batter life will ensure that you keep it that way. The three sizes – 7”, 11” and 15”(!) do sound promising but the pixel count is not as high as it should be on the 15”. Plus, it has not in-built memory — you will need to put in SD cards for it to use. Supports up to 32GB as usual. Another special thing about the Vega is that it is powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra SoC (System on a Chip), which means great video and graphics performance.
So if you want a large, digital MID for your kitchen and may be drawing room for recipe look ups, casual surfing, etc, this will be good. Anything beyond that is just that — beyond Vega’s capabilities.
Fusion Garage JooJoo (CrunchPad)
This one has been mired in almost everything you can imagine — hype, suspicion, shame, stigma, litigation, mud-slinging and it has even been termed vaporware (of the year I think for 2009). Meet TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington’s brainchild turned child kidnapped by company called Fusion Garage — the CrunchPad AKA JooJoo tablet. This tablet has been crowd sourced and built according to the specifications given by the readers of TechCrunch. It is probably the most exposed-during-development tablet ever made and just might become the most hyped tablet that was never sold.
FusionGarage is still mum about the actual details of the device but those who have seen it hands on are of the opinion that it isn’t much to get excited about unless they do some serious development before release. For a good tablet experience, you really have to get the basics of touch and responsive-ness right and from the videos it is apparent that JooJoo lacks in those departments like any beta stage device. It may be officially out of beta (or is it?) but it still needs a lot of work if they plan to sell them in decent numbers. And this isn’t a book that will sell more when there’s a controversy around it.
It may do good video and have a nice form factor but I am still skeptical. If I am not sure the company that made my device will still be around after the first month, I am not going to make that thing my device. That is to say, I still think this might the biggest vaporware of the past decade. [read]
This was supposed to be one post but now it has become too long so I am breaking it up into two posts. Next Part up soon!