Not since the MP3 Wars of the last decade has there been as much excitement over the launch of a new type of hand-held device. It's a little odd to be talking about the Tablet Wars in advance of these products actually hitting market. - but in today's digital world, that's how fast things are moving. Which makes our job of forecasting a front-runner - a wee bit of a challenge. Pre-orders would be an indicator, but those numbers are being held under close wraps.
So, the best we can do is lay out the facts currently released to the public, and leave it up to the reader as to what product makes the most sense. So based on the specs that have been announced, here's some of the key differential stats that distinguishes these multi-task-multi-media devices:
- Apple iPad and HP Slate has storage capacity up to 64GB
- Apple iPad is the lightest at 1.5 lbs.
- Apple iPad is the only one that doesn't have a camera or webcam
- The Dell Mini 5 has the smallest screen at 5 inches
- Joo Joo has the largest screen at 12 inches
- JooJoo weighs the most at 2.4 lbs
- JooJoo is only tablet to have no demonstrated way to read ebooks
- Archos 7 Android is the least expensive
- Notion Ink Adam has the longest battery life
And here is a Gizmodo's Guide that lists all of the known specs:
Gizmodo's Guide to Tablets
As you can see, they have different strengths and weaknesses, some of which will become more evident in the coming months as we learn more from the consumers who actually purchase them.
HP Slate versus Apple iPad
Many feel the two tablets that will scale the fastest and fight for dominance in the marketplace will be HP Slate vs Apple iPad. Here is how to these two shake down going head to head according to RedmondPie.com
When HP releases their Slate later this year, we do know that the product will act more like a computer complete with a Windows 7 operating system that will be able to handle desktop-level apps and Flash support which means you will be able to view most of the videos on video-sharing Web sites that stream videos online. Major Downside: HP is unproven in convincing the public that it can produce a quality hand-held device.
Here Phil McKinney CTO at Hewlett Packard, walks us through the HP Slate.
The iPad has the time-tested iPhone OS and its mountain of apps, and a serious amount of Apple marketing juice behind it. Major Downside: Not featuring a camera is thought by many to be a major flaw with the Apple iPad. So much so, that I think Jobs and the boys might add one to an upgraded version of the product in the very near future.
For some additional insight regarding the Tablet Wars, Duncan33303, who as a self-proclaimed 'tablet' aficionado provides us with his critique. While a bit of a rambling discourse, he does hit all the hot buttons and answers some additional questions regarding the iPad, the Slate, JooJoo and Dell Mini 5.
Hard to pick a winner? Well keep this in mind, all of these products offer color displays versus a device like Kindle. Kindle, as an eBook reader only features grey-tones. If and when that changes, we might be adding Kindle, Sony Reader and Barnes & Noble's Nook to these Tablet Wars. (for more on that topic, see "Kindle, Sony, Nook vs Apple, Google, Microsoft - One Trick Ponies vs Multimedia Devices")
So while I'm sure we can all remember the MP3 Wars, does anyone still own a Microsoft Zune? Why have Zune media players failed to make even the tiniest of dents in iPod’s market dominance? There are multiple reasons, but one stands out - They’ve been stuck in a hopeless game of catch-up while "iPod" became synonymous with "MP3."
Is that what's going to happen to one of these multi-task, multi-media devices? Might the Dell Mini 5 or the JooJoo go the way of other digital dinosaurs of the past? Time will tell when the Tablet Wars kick into high gear later this year.