At CES, tablets stole top honours



CES 2011 — the International Consumer Electronics Show for this year — had a number of dedicated technology zones focused on niche themes, ranging from 3D-for-home to digital health, but there were some things in the device category that are clearly in growth mode. Tablet PCs, for instance.

The hardware industry is full of reports about the Tablet PCs eating into sales of other types of computers in the last quarter of the year gone by. The iPad started it all and the Samsung's Galaxy Tab followed, recording significant sales. There are more on the way. So when the big names in the business came to the CES with new gadgets to show in this category, they were a natural magnet for visitors. It's worth noting that analysts at Gartner expect price-cutting in the coming months.

The BlackBerry's PlayBook is a serious contender for top honours. With an impressive high definition LCD display of 1024 x 600 screen resolution, this 7-inch 400 gram tablet, capable of playing flash 10.1 and HTML 5 content, stands out for its silken touchscreen performance. The BB has its own operating system built on QNX technology, and sports multitasking capability.

What should invite a closer look from productivity-focused corporates is the syncing capability. When synced with an existing BlackBerry enterprise account, it creates a secure window into the account to perform all functions. Once unplugged from the enterprise environment, it exits completely, without saving any of the information locally.

Wireless connection to a BlackBerry phone allows for what the company calls an ‘amplified' experience of email, calendar, task list, address book and Messenger. There are front and rear cameras, micro-USB and micro-HDMI ports in the tablet. Connectivity options are 3G using BlackBerry phone as modem, and 4G through network access. (Catch a glimpse of the PlayBook at http://bit.ly/cesbbplaybook)

In the Android league, the spotlight is on the Motorola's Xoom. This tablet made an appearance at the CES and grabbed attention as the first device to run the Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system. This 10.1-inch HD screen tablet can run flash, so there are innumerable websites, videos and games that are fully accessible (and made attractive by a gyrometer and accelerometer). Two cameras, 720p HD recording (and 1080p playback/streaming), 3G connectivity upgradeable to 4G are among other features. At the heart of the machine is an NVidia Tegra 2 dual core 1 GHz processor. There is 32 gb of memory available with SD card support to be available with a software update.

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