Tablets have come a long way, baby, and the flood of portable devices isn't slowing down anytime soon. With new, speedy processors, razor-sharp HD screens, and ample apps for working or playing hard, tablets are the gadgets PDAs always wished they were.
Competition in the tablet market is becoming fiercely saturated, however; the available devices run the gamut from big-league sluggers to bush-league slackers. The good news is that, along with the greater, varied selection of tablets, prices are becoming more competitive. Buying a tablet has never been more on the consumer's side.
Initial product announcements sometimes lack details, and we're left reading the tea leaves to guess if the device will actually perform well or not. We've outlined some of the available information on upcoming tablets and our impressions of their place in the current tablet landscape. We'll update this blog regularly as more tablets are announced.
What's special? The 7- and 8-inch Alcatel models are a pair of typical budget-centered tablets. They sport a subdued plastic build and rock-bottom pricing.
When's it coming?The 8-inch is already shipping, while the 7-inch Wi-Fi and 3G models will ship in May to Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
What's special? This aluminum-wrapped 10-inch tablet runs on Windows 8.1 and ships with a cover, keyboard and stylus.
When's it coming? It's expected to go on sale in April in select European countries.
What's special? For tablets, thin is still in, and the HaierPad971 embodies the trend. The skinny 9.7-incher rocks a sharp HD screen and houses a micro-HDMI port for connecting to your TV.
When's it coming?It should hit stores in select European countries in April.
What's special? It's a phone! It's a tablet! It's both! The MediaPad X2 is the skinniest 7-inch phablet, and its list of powerful specs sounds promising.
When's it coming? Availability has yet to be announced.
What's special? The Jolla tablet runs on a unique operating system that offers an alternative to Android and iOS tablets. Sailboat has a simple user-interface that uses a variety of gestures for navigation. Jolla also makes a phone that uses the OS.
When's it coming? The tablet will ship to early backers in March
What's special? Windows tablets are starting to become more affordable, and the IdeaPad Miix 300 is one of them. The 8-inch tablet runs Windows 8.1 and comes with a one-year subscription to Office 365.
When's it coming? It goes on sale in July.
What's special? The Lenovo Tab 2 A8 ships with the latest Android operating system, Lollipop 5.0, and it's one of the most inexpensive to do so.
When's it coming? The Tab 2 A8 is expected to go on sale in June.
What's special: This affordable 10-inch tablet houses Dolby powered speakers, which are typically some of the most powerful you can find on a tablet.
When's it coming: Lenovo states the Tab 2 A10 will hit stores in April.
What's special? This security-focused tablet encrypts your messages. It's still in the development stages, but Silent Circle also sells a similar phone so we expect it to eventually become consumer ready.
When's it coming? Silent Circle hopes to release the Blackphone+ in autumn.
What's special? Sony follows up last year's skinny waterproof tablet with another similar, beefed-up version. The Z4 sports a 2K screen and houses an octa-core CPU.
When's it coming? The Xperia Z4 is expected to go on sale in June.
Can't wait? Check out our list of the best tablets you can buy right now.
Editors' note: This post was originally published on September 6, 2013 and is frequently updated.