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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Ever since Steve Jobs announced Apple's tablet computer in January, tech companies large and small have been trying to place the forthcoming iPad in a headlock and deliver an agonising nuggie to its shiny skull. Florida-based OpenPeak is the latest contender, with the OpenTablet 7.

The OpenTablet looks to exploit some of the iPad's shortcomings by offering Flash support, two cameras for capturing videos and photos, a USB port and an HDMI output, so you can hook it up to your high-definition TV. It also has a microSD card slot but, unlike the iPad, no internal memory. 

Running on Intel's Moorestown processor, like the LG GW990 smart phone, the OpenTablet presumably also offers the multi-tasking chops the iPad notoriously lacks, although OpenPeak is curiously quiet on the matter. It runs on OpenPeak's own platform.

Like the iPad's 9.7-inch capacitive touchscreen, the OpenTablet's 7-inch display supports multi-touch gestures. OpenPeak is, once again, silent on whether the OpenTablet's touchscreen is of the resistive or more responsive capacitive type. Both the iPad and OpenTablet have LED-backlit LCD screens, which may give you eyestrain if you spend too long staring at them, as opposed to the more easygoing E Ink type found on the Kindle, for example.

As with the iPad, the OpenTablet offers Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support, as well as 'cellular connectivity' -- presumably the use of that term indicates it doesn't offer the 3G support found on higher-end iPad models and relies on EDGE or GSM. It also has built-in speakers, a microphone and a headphone jack, like the iPad. 

The OpenTablet sounds like a fairly decent proposition for those who think there's a gap that needs filling between smart phones and laptops. It's due for release in the US in the second half of this year, but its US pricing and UK availability are still to be revealed, and we file that kind of information under 'critical'. We've dropped OpenPeak a line on the matter, as well as on the subject of the OpenTablet's touchscreen type, multi-tasking ability and battery life, and will update this article once we have an answer.

What do you make of the OpenTablet? Can it inflict a punishing Chinese burn on the iPad? Will either Apple or OpenPeak be the eventual victor in the tablet arms race? Or are all tablets doomed to suffer a collective Gallic shrug from their intended audience? Spill your beans in the comments section below, and click 'Continue' to see more of the OpenTablet.

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Here's the OpenTablet sitting on its charging base, in a rather well-appointed kitchen.
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There's the charging dock again.
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The OpenTablet measures 229 by 127 by 15mm, and weighs 522g. The iPad is wider and taller but thinner, at 243 by 190 by 13mm. It's also heavier, at 680g.
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In this photo, the OpenTablet has turned its back on us, that we may gaze upon its posterior.
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