CNET Top 5: Tablets to beat the iPad
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CNET Top 5: Tablets to beat the iPad

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When most people think "tablet" they mean "iPad". Here are five that should make you think twice.

Something like 82% of people who are considering a media tablet are aiming for an iPad. Pretty stark numbers from a recent survey by ChangeWave but you�re more creative than that. I�m B.C. with Top 5 Tablets To Beat the iPad, listed by ecosystem. #5 Nook Color. Yep, off to a hoppin start with an e-book reader. But if you root this Android-based device and bump if up to 2.2 - Froyo - you get a very credible Wi-Fi tablet that only costs around $250, even less if you �root� around eBay. And unlike the rest of the tablets in our list, it�s also a real e-book reader. No access to 3G for data, it might be a little unstable, and rooting voids the warranty, but, hell, you can afford to buy two for the price of most �real� tablets. #4 Blackberry Playbook. This is another category of one. They Playbook has been impressive in our hands, is compact enough that it doesn�t require you go bag shopping right after you get it, and it uniquely pairs with your BBerry to inherit contacts, calendar and email. So its like a Blackberry that does media well, which is something we weren�t sure RIM would ever figure out. #3 Windows 7 tablets, from many of the big netbook names like Asus, Lenovo and Samsung. Some think Win7 tabs are carpetbaggers since tablets normally don a light OS with apps. And with Apple and Android blotting out the sun right now, Win 7 tabs are dark horses of a sort, but 7 gets love for its performance on netbooks, you know how to use right out of the box, and Microsoft has the guts of a great tablet OS already in Windows Phone 7 � to bad its trapped on phones. #2 The HP Touchpad running WebOS. Everyone loves this OS, but previously none of the hardware it lives on. The TouchPad seems to give WebOS the sort of space it was always meant for and remember HP is the biggest seller of PC�s to both consumers and business � they�re spillage is more than many companies actually sell. Before we get to #1, a look at where tablets are going in 2011: After 18 million tablets � nearly all Apple � sold in 2010, the predictions for 2011 are that Apple remains in the lead role by a long margin as tablets soar to 45-58 million sales. #1 tablet to make you think twice about the iPad is � anything Android from a Dell Streak 7 to a hefty Motorla Xoom, this platform�s breakout success on smartphones greases the skids with consumers and developers alike. The 3.0 version of Android is hot and tablet-centric. And most of the new tablets coming out are Android, they have multi carrier support and hey, they can display a Flash web site. Now, those are the families to watch. The specific tablets are breaking out weekly, so stay on top at CNET�s Tablet section, the busiest burner on our stove these days. And for more Top 5�s like this, head to top5.cnet.com I�m Brian Cooley, thanks for watching.

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