Five available alternatives to the Apple tablet
With the world pretty much accepting that we're not going to see the Apple Tablet at what is undoubtedly an iPod refresh conference on 9th September, it's looking as if another eon will pass before we can get excited about UMPCs again. Not so says Pocket-lint. If your fingers are twitching at your wallet, there's no need to wait. Here are five internet tablets you can buy right now:
Dimensions: 295mm x 325mm x 227mm
Screen Size: 13.3-inch resistive
Probably a little larger than what Apple has in mind but you never know how it might match up in terms of price. They're MacBook conversions with largely similar specs, running OS X Leopard and with a bit more in the graphics department. The screen becomes touch-sensitive so that you can draw directly onto it with the stylus and there's also a virtual keyboard for full tablet control. Ruled the roost at Macworld 2009.
Price: £449.99 (80GB) and £499.99 (160GB)
Dimesnsions: 16mm/0.63" thick
Screen Size: 9-inch capacitive
Ok, it's not quite available to buy just yet but we've seen it, we've held it, it's real and we know it works, so that's good enough for this list. Running Windows 7, presumably the hold up is waiting for Microsoft to officially release the new platform but otherwise the 80GB and 160GB HDD versions are ready to go. No 3G for proper on the move connectivity but there's Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.1 and a digital TV tuner to get excited about. There's a virtual keyboard to help you out with all the typing and it all runs nice and quiet on a Intel ATOM Z515. A 12-inch version is due for release in early 2010.
Dimensions: 225mm x 164mm x 25.2-28.4mm
Touchscreen: 8.9-inch resistive
It may seem like a bit of a cheat getting a keyboard involved but the idea of the Asus T91 is that it gives you the options of a netbook and portable tablet in one. It runs Windows XP on a Z520 Atom CPU with 1GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. You can run the platform side by side with Linux and word has it that Asus will convert the current 8.9-inch resistive touchscreen into a capacitive one in time for the release of the multitouch capable Windows 7. Until then, you can be content with the Wi-Fi, 3G, GPS, Bluetooth and TV tuner that are also built in.
XPlore iX104C Lite
Dimensions: 284mm x 210mm x 41mm
Touchscreen: 10.4-inch resistive
Not the most portable of the five but it would certainly eat them all for breakfast in the ring. Designed with Chuck Norris and pals in mind, it's humidity proof, crash proof, you can repeatedly drop it onto concrete from over four feet just for laughs. It's also quite happy to operate anywhere between -20 and 60C. Naturally, it's sealed against any attacks from dust and sea water too. Granted, it's not going to earn you much street cred, unless used as a weapon, but it is Wi-Fi enabled, has USB and Ethernet ports and runs with an Intel Core Duo, 2GB RAM and 120GB of space.
Dimensions: 75mm × 144mm × 13mm
Touchscreen: 4.1-inch resistive
The smallest, lightest and cheapest of the lot is the Nokia N800 internet tablet. Released in 2007, it's attained a certain cult following with its user-friendly, Linux-based Maemo OS. No 3G but there's Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0, a USB port and slots for both micro and full size SD cards. It only needs a titchy 400MHz CPU to keep it going and has an impressive 64GB of flash memory for all your storage needs. It comes with a stylus for poking round on that 4.1-inch touchscreen and a 5-way d-pad for all other navigation. Rumours of a new Nokia internet tablet might be the only thing to end its life but for now it receives continued software support and recently got going with both Skype and Flash 9.