Staples to offer a host of Android tablets in 2011

The office supply store looks to offer at least eight Android tablets in the first half of the year.

Plenty of Android tablets on tap for the first half of the year. DroidLife

Office retail giant Staples appears to be getting serious about tablets as evidenced by two leaked roadmap images. Coming from two separate sources, they confirm the company's plan to offer at least eight Android tablets from a variety of manufacturers. While some devices are a few months old and currently offered through carriers, other products have yet to be announced and have been treated only as rumors until now.

The first tablet expected to arrive at Staples is the 10.1-inch Motorola Xoom. While previously listed with a price of $599.99, PreCentral's documents show a $649.99 sticker, which is slightly higher than the $600 price Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha mentioned back in February. Staples also could get the Wi-Fi-only Xoom.

As to when the Xoom will arrive remains a mystery. DroidLife lists April whereas PreCentral taps the tablet with a launch on March 17. Both are different from DroidLife's previous listing of March 27 but still on track for the next few weeks.

Other tablets expected at Staples in the short term are the 7-inch Dell Streak, currently on sale through T-Mobile. With the price marked at $449, this Android 2.2-powered device looks to carry the same off-contract cost as T-Mobile. As is the case with the Xoom, there are conflicting release dates with one indicating late March and the other calling for early April.

Best Buy gets serious tablet competition in Staples. PreCentral

One tablet that piques my curiosity is a possible Samsung device that should arrive over the next month. While PreCentral predicts a 7-inch model, DroidLife makes reference to the 8.9-inch Tab, which is expected to be unveiled at CTIA. It's possible that Staples could land the midsize tablet, but I somehow doubt they'll offer it right out of the gate.

Then again, Samsung has been making its Galaxy lineup readily available. Given the $499 price, I'm leaning more toward the larger-size tablet than the Galaxy Tab that has already been out for nearly six months.

The other product that caught my eye is a 10-inch Honeycomb tablet from HTC. Expected to arrive in June, this Honeycomb tablet should be one of the three models we first heard about in January. Thus far, all indications are that we may be a few months away from an announcement as the only official HTC tablet is the Flyer. The 7-inch model was recently unveiled at Mobile World Congress and should be coming stateside through Sprint. The carrier is rumored to be pulling the curtain back on an HTC Evo View 4G at CTIA on March 22.

Rounding out the list of tablets on tap for Staples are 10-inch models from Toshiba, Acer, and Dell. Each should run Android 3.0 and carry a price in the $450-$500 range. Although exact models are not called out, the Acer should be the dual-core Iconis while the Toshiba is most likely the same unit announced at CES back in January.

One of the notable features for this tablet is that it offers support for full-size SDHC cards, something lacking in every other model. As for the Dell model, it's very probably that we'll be seeing the Streak 10 which first hit our radars nearly one year ago.

Hopefully we'll see the kinks ironed out between these two leaked roadmaps and nail down some more concrete pricing and availability. One thing is for certain, Best Buy won't be the only retailer in town offering tablets.

 

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