It's the last day of the Mobile World Congress 2011 today, and we thought we'd wrap up what we consider the most enticing tablet offerings we set sight on at the Expo.
Except for the tablets already announced at the CES show last month, some of which were present here as well with more polished versions, there was another influx of Android slates, so lets recap what we found most worthy of attention, we've linked our hands-on articles in the names, if you want to preview the tablets in-depth:
1. HP TouchPad - a refreshing step away from the "me too" world of Android tablets, the first tablet with the excellent webOS mobile operating system was showcased once more at the MWC Expo, and we came away impressed how fluid and natural to navigate webOS has become when grown up to a tablet size. Not to mention the dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon chipset. A real disappointment here is the summer release, as well as the lack of a rear camera and HDMI port, but the HP TouchPad has the rather cool Touch-to-share function.
2. The Toshiba Tablet - it might not even have an official name yet, but it has all the reference Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet, the Motorola XOOM, is offering, like 800x1280 pixels 10" screen, Tegra-2 chipset, HDMI port, and 5MP rear camera, capable of Full HD video recording, but also adds a full USB 2.0, as well as miniUSB ports, which the XOOM is lacking. Add the ability to swap the battery yourself, and buy EasyGrip back covers in different colors for the Toshiba Tablet, and we have one of the best, if not the best Android slate announced so far.
3. Acer Iconia Tab A500 - another underdog that turned out one of the most compelling tablet offerings at the MWC this year. Slated to appear on Verizon in its LTE reincarnation, the Acer Iconia Tab A500 boasts aluminum enclosure, and all the high-end specs cited above. The only thing missing in comparison with the Toshiba Tablet is the miniUSB port, but full USB and HDMI are still here.
4. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 - Samsung takes all high-end specs above, save for the HDMI and USB ports, and bumps the rear camera resolution up to 8MP. Resolution doesn't mean much for good photos and video, though, and is even less so important on a tablet. Besides, it has an uninspiring all-plastic build, but what the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 brings to the table is its rather slim and light design for a 10" slate - it is less thick and is lighter than all of the above offerings, which might make it the tablet of choice for some, if you can make do with only Samsung's proprietary connector and DLNA.
5. HTC Flyer - last but not least is HTC's first attempt at a tablet device, and we only tell about it last because it comes with a 7" display, and the rest were 10-inchers. It is much easier to carry around in this size, though, and looks and feels better than the first brand-name 7" Android tablet - the Galaxy Tab. It is the only one with a single-core CPU, but it goes way up to 1.5GHz, so don't worry it is underpowered. HTC brings in its usual unibody aluminum shell design to the HTC Flyer, so it looks like a true product from the company that won the "Device Manufacturer of the Year" award at the MWC Expo. Moreover, HTC managed to tailor its excellent Sense UI to the tablet experience, which, considering all the stock Honeycomb offerings (it runs Gingerbread), will differentiate it even further. Did we mention it also has a capacitive stylus for doodling and note-taking, as well as OnLive cloud gaming pre-installed?
All of the above tablets are due in the Spring, save for the HP TouchPad, which will most probably hit the shelves in the summertime. With most tablet offerings already announced, we are waiting for the last major contender, Apple's iPad 2, so that the tablet wars can truly begin.
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