Apple's iPad 2 went on sale to rave reviews today, but it's facing a much more crowded market than the first iPad, which debuted last year. What's more, many of its rivals can best Apple's baby in a few areas. We already told you about the existing iPad alternatives on the market, and now we cover the tablets to come later this year. The HTC Flyer and LG G-Slate look particularly exciting, but all offer something to consider. For upcoming products, check out Eric Franklin's full list of the iPad 2's competition.
Announced at Mobile World Congress, the HTC Flyer has a 7-inch Super LCD touch screen encased in a sharp aluminum design. The feature set is respectable. It doesn't run Honeycomb, but we're intrigued by the 1.5GHz processor, and the digital ink technology that lets you use a pen to take notes and draw pictures right on the tablet. We don't know U.S. availability just yet, but it should go on sale in June.
The PlayBook's 7-inch screen is undeniably gorgeous and BlackBerry fans will appreciate the operating system and its compatibility services and apps. Other features include a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, symmetrical dual-core processing, support for 1080p HD video playback, and the two cameras. The PlayBook is destined for Sprint's 4G network this summer.
The G-Slate also will come to a U.S. carrier when it arrives at T-Mobile later this year. Sporting a "Goldilocks" 8.9-inch display, the G-Slate offers a dual-core processor, Android's Honeycomb OS, support for T-Mobile's HSPA+ network, and a premium feel that's on par with the iPad. What's more, it stands out from the competition with 3D video recording on its rear camera. The effect won't blow you away, and we don't know how much we'd use it, but it's still pretty cool.
Also announced at Mobile World Congress, Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 has a, you guessed it, 10.1-inch display. Powered by Honeycomb, it has a thin and light body, but a textured surface on the rear side is an improvement over the original Galaxy Tab series. It has a dual-core processor and comes in 16GB and 32GB models. We don't know U.S. availability quite yet.
Vizio's VIA tablet differs from its competitors by dispensing with the widget-based home screen. Instead, it opens up to the app listing by default with a customizable space for favorites at the top. You'll also find Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, an accelerometer, an ambient light sensor, and a VGA-resolution front-facing camera. We could see it in stores by April.
Nominated for CNET's Best of CES award, Toshiba's tablet runs Honeycomb on a 10.1-inch display. Inside are an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor, 1080p video decoding, smooth Adobe Flash support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, stereo speakers, GPS, and a digital compass. It's due out the first half of this year.
HP's TouchPad features a 9.7-inch multitouch display, a virtual keyboard, instant-on access, support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta, and the ability to integrate with HP's other WebOS devices, including the newly announced Pre 3 and Veer. Due out in the summer, it runs WebOS 3.0.