iPad

Slide show: 20 iPad competitors to watch [UPDATED]

Will the iPad get surrounded?

The Apple iPad has re-energized the market for tablet computers but it has gone nearly all of 2010 without a serious challenger. That will soon change. Here is an updated list of 20 upstarts taking aim at the iPad.

If you'd prefer to view this as a text-only list, see the companion blog post.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

58 comments
nrobin
nrobin

So, everyone...what's the 2nd best compared to the iPad?

roger.wilkerson
roger.wilkerson

What about the Pandigital Novel Color Multimedia eReaders. Features full color, touch screen displays and bring dynamic multimedia to the eReader world. Read, surf or play. The Pandigital Novel is much more than just a good book. It's Android O/S based. Has wifi and a usb port.

SuperGecko2000
SuperGecko2000

Runs as customized version of Android, so a decent OS for a tablet. PixelQi screen is necessary for use as an e-book reader; many other advantages, besides. Also they have an informative blog to keep prospective customers informed, so we know more about it than any other not-yet-existent product. Complaints about 'vaporware' are silly - the article is about the best tablets of 2011. The whole year is vaporware.

kevinf
kevinf

This whole thing kind of jumps over the expanding e-reader market. Stuff is still a little sketchy on the Barnes & Noble Color Nook, but as an e-reader, it runs the android OS, modified for the Nook, supports web browsing, web-based email, wifi, and B&N is developing an app store, similar to Amazon's efforts to develop their own application market for Android. I actually ordered two of the Color Nook, one for my wife, one for me. Seeing as how I would most likely use a tablet like the iPad, the Color Nook seems a likely alternative at half the price ($250).

umzain
umzain

Shame you missed the Fujitsu Lifetouch. It's an awesome machine. I was glad to see toshiba also has offered a keyboard with the touch screen. Anyone who does much computing will want a real keyboard at times.

blackjack861
blackjack861

I wonder who the next 20 competitors, will be next year??

iPos
iPos

iPos, a webapp for mobile order in restaurants and bars will work on all showed tablets. Have a look at www.mobielkassasysteem.nl/mob/app/demoe Or visit www.ipod-pos.com or www.cash-care.nl

madion
madion

Heavier than an iPad and lacks the same sleakness. However for me much more functional with dual e-reader and WiFi tablet in one package. Now I don't need to duct tape a Kindle to an iPad for reading and research. Cost is the same as the lowest priced iPad and clam-shell design avoids having to immediately purchase a case to keep it in. Running on the more open Android OS instead of Apple's OS is a plus for me. - iPad tablet interface is more responsive/sensitive. Wins with people who want something in front of the TV or to just view web content. - eDGe leaves the other library patrons drooling with combination low-wattage e-reader and tablet. Almost 3.5# makes it "heavy" but that is still 1# less than my MS Access 2007 Inside Out book; which came with a CD with the book in e-form included. The Nintendo DS showed hand-held gamers the value of a dual-screen mode. I hope the tablet industry continues to recognize this as well.

latala43
latala43

I think it depends on the future of Intel ATOM.

stevethehawk
stevethehawk

I've read far too many reviews that complain of poor quality when it comes to Archos devices. They tend to be cheaper than their competition but there is likely a reason for that.

banarieo
banarieo

I count only 19? Who audited this report?

jasonhiner
jasonhiner moderator

We even numbered them. :-)

ralcocer
ralcocer

Have you evaluated the Gpad from China

Chief Bottle Washer
Chief Bottle Washer

that majority of the products have the same look as the iPad? Apple definitely set the bar on quality of design. Speaks volumes!

tashandrap78
tashandrap78

I'm interested to know what app's will be available with this new 'notepad'. I like the concept of incorporating a split screen, very neat.

rciafardone@gmail.com
rciafardone@gmail.com

Seriously, when are they going to add some biometric sensors, a really tough frame and make it "wearable". Something that you can carry on you on difficult working environments, and different weather conditions. Field workers would love that.

elee
elee

True, all these gadgets are 'seperated' from the user, consumers have to take it out, put it down, close it up, pouches, covers, bumper cases, screen protectors...etc etc. It would be so much easier to wear it, whether it's on wrist, projected onto palm or environment, glasses etc. That is where the future's at. It's not about specifications, MHz, GHZ, GB or screensize, think of mobility that is at the very foundation of this concept of small portable devices.

rciafardone@gmail.com
rciafardone@gmail.com

I personally think "projected" technology is a dead end, is just too dependent on environmental conditions and the available surface. Now "screen goggles" that's really cool, with them you can create the illusion that the image is of any desired size and any "distance", and they are always there in front of you. Heck old school people can get a image encased in a freaking monitor like frame if they want to easy the psychological impact. Remove all the processing power from the goggles themselves and relocate them in another wearable piece (wrist maybe) and use wireless to relay the results. With some analogic controls for special tasks. Combine with audio I/O and voice commands and Bang, the ultimate gadget. While miniaturization could get us to the point when everything could fit in the goggles i would always prefer separated parts for a long list of reasons that i will not add cause this post is already too long :p.

patrick.oosterling
patrick.oosterling

About the 'followers' of Apple; some have a Windows OS that might open up a whole new world of possible apps to come. Maybe open source can go the road of Android. It is fun to see these pads come to real life long after they were introduced in the '80's in Star Trek the Next Generation. The logic of a handheld device giving you control of your environment and providing context related data was just waiting to happen. What a great era we live in!

WhitneyHoffman
WhitneyHoffman

I think the dual screen models miss the fact that the power of the ipad is its social function- I use it to share presentations with clients, hand it to my husband when I'm reading something interesting, play airhockey with the kids- dual screens still fence you off from the rest of the world with the screen barrier. How these machines will interface with apps will be an issue; instant on and battery life are equally important. We have two ipads in the house- one is mine for business and light laptop alternative use for the most part; my child is using one in school as a laptop alternative and it's working out great for him- it's made him more organized and paperless, which makes his teachers incredibly happy since he is a "shove the paper in the backpack and homework looks like mulch" kid most of the time. Also without realistic prices, it's hard to make great side by side evaluations of competition, but I know regardless, I will not regret the ipad choice. It's brilliant.

spaul940
spaul940

Is the advantage that he is automated (makes him more organized and paperless). You say a laptop alternative. No USB ports to transfer data to for flash drives. How does the teacher review his homework now that it is on his ipad? I'm sure these devices have an advantage; however, making up activities that aren't being done is selling the product short.

Rob.Bosch
Rob.Bosch

I think THE challenger for iPad is the NotionInk adam. Look at the specs and the design. It's so thought trhough! If you read about the blog and the comments, you allmost feel like developing together with the team behind NotionInk. The specs outperform the iPad in every single aspect. The readability of e-books is fantastic, even in bright sunlight because of the pixelqi screen. I would advice to search on youtube for some vids featuring the NotionInk adam. It convinced me BIG time and I'm sure, as soon it comes out I just WANT it!.. :)

wolfshades
wolfshades

I like the look of it but couldn't find the specs for it anywhere - including the notionink website. Do you have a link? I mean I know it runs Android 2.2 and everything that was listed here. Looking for things such as: camera, ports, storage, that kind of thing. Update: never mind. I used my God-given ability to google. For others who may be interested, there's an iPad to Adam comparative table here: http://gizmodo.com/5471559/notion-ink-adam-tablet-caught-on-video-specs-finalized Update #2: still no mention of on-board storage though. My guess: nothing on board, just whatever you can squeeze out of an SD card.

dmr80620
dmr80620

There are mentions of on-board storage. Your guess is wrong. Go to http://www.notionink.in/. Click on "specifications". In the specifications, it specifies 16GB or 32GB of eMMC. Last I heard, the device will run Linux, Android, and Chrome.

wolfshades
wolfshades

Thank you for the link. I was going to http://www.notionink.com and couldn't find specs there. (Well can't *easily* find it, as it is set up as a blog site) So...at any rate we have a max of 32 GB,as you said, which can be augmented by an SD card. That makes it quite useful and comparable to the iPad.

vic.valdon
vic.valdon

the APad or some call it iPed.

gmontagu
gmontagu

It's an Android 7" display Apad and it's really awesome.

thegreenwizard1
thegreenwizard1

How is it? I was looking to order one from China. How is the usability and the software?

AzWiz
AzWiz

I've been looking at several devices at www.merimobiles.com/, www.dealextreme.com, and others. There are so many different models using different processors and different versions of android. What make/model do you have? Which store did you get it from? Thanks for any info

chuckb3
chuckb3

We have had a Zenithink ZT-180 October 1st. It has been a blast since the 1020 firmware update. The only aps that have not worked have been those that are phone related (it does not have a phone built in). We are using it has a portable wifi, reader and movie viewer mostly, and it has been excellent in the latter two. The wifi range is a bit short but works well with a strong signal. At $200 shipped, it was a great buy! I would not hesitate to get a second one.

devrockroy
devrockroy

I think the Libertto will be the most competitive, due to the two screens. However, interesting to note is the similar look (of the iPad) most competitors are trying to emulate. Surely the large players can be more innovative and take the design forward.

Hazydave
Hazydave

The iPad is a big iPod.. if anything, its remarkable simply because the shape is so unremarkable. The iPod Touch, like the iPhone before it, was completely predictable in form if not full function. The rumor mills were abuzz with artists concepts of an "all screen" iPod or iPhone over a year before the latter debuted. Many of the units now or near shipping, particularly from small companies, were shown at CES Winter 2010... before anyone saw the iPad in piblic. The main distinguishing feature of the iPad, the retro 4:3 sceen, is not copied.. nearly every other devices is offering a modern 16;10 or 16;9 display.

pivert
pivert

no, the big players don't take risks, they have shareholders to think about... once a design gets momentum, they just buy the technology /company and get rewarded for that "daring move". even the ipad is not an innovation, just a next-generation-slate with excellent marketing. best known is IBM for inventing really innovative stuff but failing each time to market it and selling it then to spin-offs.

ggoddyn
ggoddyn

No they didn't..it's been replaced with the WeTab

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

so perhaps only mainstream US devices can be included. Take his Android device top 10 as another example.

bruno.unna
bruno.unna

Only that it's called now WeTab. It's in one of the last positions of the list.

vdesilva
vdesilva

... did not find it. All the tech-pieces were just that tech pieces. When we real consumers talks about an iPad they don't discuss os, or hardware they just talk applications. That whats missing in the the rest. Or did miss something. Perhaps I did. Sorry, I am loosing my tech edge. I must remember to repeat "speak more tech mubo jubo then I don't speak iPad"

speacock0
speacock0

To be honest I think you may have missed something - Some of these gadgets are Windows 7 devices so there are many, many apps available for them, far more than for the iPad or Android or any other platform.

mikeph
mikeph

...but did not find it. Some are close, but, let's face it, Apple have redefined the market in terms of what the consumer wants in terms of design and usability. The rest are already years behind. Don't get me wrong, I am NOT an Apple fan and have never owned any Apple computer. I just do not like the prison camp approach. However I have played with an iPad, and it is truly impressive...it just works. A punter

human.0.id
human.0.id

So why wouldn't you go and buy Toyota instead of BMW/Mercedes/Infiniti/Lexus only because of more market shares? Bigger market share doesn't make the product better, it makes the product more popular (also read "affordable").

treerod1
treerod1

I'm sorry for the delay ... but anyway, you can purchase the iPad Camera Connection Kit ... http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC531ZM/A or buy at Best Buy or Apple Retail Store ... it gives you two ways to import photos and videos from a digital camera: using your camera???s USB cable or directly from an SD card. iPad supports standard photo formats, including JPEG and RAW. Once you hook up to the iPad, it starts the process automatically. The app I use the most is Photogene ($5), Adobe Photoshop Express (free), Filterstorm 2 ($4) and/or to a lesser degree Sketch Agent (free - although I'm thinking of spending the $.99 for the pro version.) Hope that helps.

crap
crap

treerod1 I'm curious just how you were able to 'download' all of your pictures to your Ipad? You did your pic editing with '... with just my iPad'? Maybe I'm missing something but I don't know of a direct route to 'download' pics to and Ipad (or Touch), so I'm hoping you will enlighten me. Unless of course that you used a computer & Itunes to transfer the pics, which in that case, then a computer of some sort is still needed. Thanks! Brian

MacNewton
MacNewton

Not to sure how old you are, but maybe you seen some of the following products that you would have complained about. now that they are not used by most people. (not in order) 8 inch floppy disk 5.5 Floppy disk 8 track player teletype recored player / not all of them cassette player CRT displays CRT TV's Now on to the next group of soon to be dropped products. gas powered cars Cable TV ethernet cables USB 2 DVD's CD's FLASH media - see Apple computer Apps -on your computer- see Goggle apps computer based data storage - see dropbox Firewire 400 / 800 -see USB 3 All computer DVD/CD players in computers Product based cameras - Galaxy Tab (see note) Well thats all I can come up with / for now back to product cameras that build in. Why would you have a camera in a product like the iPad Why not have a camera that send its photos to the iPad. Thats what Apple will come up with. It may be a detachable unit that you unplug - Right now there is a number of apps that let you send and run your iPhone images on you iPad. Thats my 2 Cents.

pocjoc
pocjoc

IMHO the development tools and delpoytment platform helps you to be faster the first time you use it; but what it is really important is the framework it uses; and on the iPhone I found it strong and good. On the other hand we have microsoft that has one of the better developer platform, but the framework it is used is not so good. What you prefer?

petergiza
petergiza

Apple for sure is the look and feel de facto standard. However having played with it and listening to developers hassle with it and Apple to get a release I don't see it as the king of the hill unless Apple changes their approach. Arrogance will not win this race just as it didn't back in PC race in the 80's and 90's. Steve is an extremely bright inventor but his arrogance (and I've met the man personally) kills his vision. Yes there will always be the faithful around to buy their products but how much Apple will dominate this space much longer remains to be seen. Talk to the development community and just see how ugly iPhone and iPad development is compared to Android. Having to wait days/weeks for Apple to release an app at their convenience is any less than convenient. Control corrupts. Absolute control corrupts absolutely. Apple wants to control everything (need I list the issues?)

luna3716
luna3716

Android beat the hell of iOS in about a year. Now Android phones account for 25.55 market shares and iphone? 16.70% . So much for the " Apple myth " If you take a closer look at the competitors spec, 80% of them outperform what's in iPad at almost the same price. I am gonna pay for what's worth the money.

luna3716
luna3716

Isn't Apple iPhone losing BIG TIME to Android phones in global market shares? 16.7% VS 25.5%. We don't need a consumer electronic tyrant telling us what to think, what to do and how to do it.

treerod1
treerod1

I've been using an iPad for 6 months now - and I don't read books with it. That said, I can use it in bright sunlight and in the dark with no visual problems. I no longer carry my laptop and yet I can still administer our server using the Clear's On-the-Go 4G WiFi modem from pretty much anywhere in the US ... no longer limited to the Clear Service Area. I'll admit though, 3G & 3GS sucks after using 4G. I also use my iPad to perform and update my equipment inventory , as well as track all my customer trouble calls. Once I'm back in the office I sync it with my master database. I also store all my FAQ's and spec. sheets as .pdf files on my iPad. On a personal note, last summer I spent a month in Japan. I took over 1200 pictures (11GB) in Fine JPEG and I downloaded them to my iPad where I edited and cataloged all 1200 pictures ... with just my iPad. So, the iPad is more than a book reader, and if anybody bought an iPad for just that purpose they wasted their money. But once they get an iPad, they'll soon find 10 to 20 different things you can do with the iPad, but not on a smartphone.

Dave Vane
Dave Vane

But what makes it a toy and not a serious alternative to a PC? I remember the first PC I had was used EXCLUSIVELY for games!! I?ve been in the computer industry for 20 years now and don?t play many games at all (my wife sees to that). Is it just that the development tools you use to wash bottles haven?t been ported to the platform yet? The true potential of the device may not yet be realised. Could it not be that the iPad is only ever going to be an end-user device? The point where the application runs as opposed to developed? Or from your point of view does that mean that thin clients are toys, too? Wow ? you must really hate this concept of ?The Cloud? as everything is done somewhere else!

chrisj979
chrisj979

They sure do, updating every year bringing in last years features. It took them like 3 years to add "PICTURE MESSAGING" to the iPhone. They taunted a COMPASS as a feature (it was already an app, plus how many times have you uused it). The iPad has no camera. I got an iPad and within 2 hours i was back on my laptop. I have no time to play guess what site has flash?" I was trying to show it off to some friend so we went to some automotive sites, ohh but we could not 360 view the cars because no support. I had to wait 10 mins for iTunes to back up the iPad before it added the 2 pictures i wanted. The fact that i don't have to rely on a central app to add\remove music is a MAJOR plus. I need to save a paper to it, oh I can't unless I e-mail it. I cannot add\remove video, pics, music, documents on the fly with an iPad. Alot of these devices you can and even edit and resave. I bought a galaxy tab this weekend and gave the iPad to my 9 year old as a kindle. On the Galaxy tab I can make video calls using skype or voice calls with Google Voice. It can take pictures. One thing I have always noticed about Apple is that they leave something out to make you want the next one they release. And besides the apps argument (not really an argument anymore, thanks DROID) there is NO other iPad feature you can't find anywhere else.

MacNewton
MacNewton

No Apple product, I feel very sorry for your loss. It must be hard on you and your family. Good luck with the rest of you're boring life. Take care mikepg@ hope thing work out for you. Now back to the iPad killer. Apple will be ahead of the game from now to the end of time. With Billon's in R&D they can keep updating the product each year, just like the iPhone.

Chief Bottle Washer
Chief Bottle Washer

Bunch of idiots. Still can't see that it's a TOY and not a computer!

johnmckay
johnmckay

If only the truth were so simple... Android is more than capable and the plethora of devices offers us all some real choice. I personally feel the ipad is a great consumer device but quite frankly it's too big to be used daily for work/mobile purposes. I don't believe we should be worrying about killing the ipad. Let's all just use what suits us best. Steve Jobs tells me I need 10", I know I don't, and the Androids will offer me that choice. For work and play I want something that will connect to corporate easier than an app that requires continual password entry (as it is just now). I'm looking forward to the RIM offering to see what that brings me in corporate and consumer space. The ipad can't compete there yet, and the Android is probably similarly crippled. So.. Can we just be happy we've got choices and thank Apple for at least recognising a user need when others were busy being dismissive? Bring on the 7" devices !

Hazydave
Hazydave

AbMakes a fine toy. Sure, it has apps, particularly if you found iPhone Apps running at 480x320. So does every Android and Windows device shown. If course, there will be issued with standard Windows Apps on a small device.. these are likely to feel very slow, and may be hard to navigate, unless part UI Apps become a new Windows thing. Android is another story... lots of apps, and it already supports multiple resolutions. A Tegra2 device will have 2.5x the performance of the iPad, and many of these addresses the iPad's major flaws when going beyond "cool toy". Smartphones caught on only once they started replacing a bunch of simpler devices, and doing those jobs better. The iphone is a prime example... initially, it brought phone and web, good pocket web better than most others. But it also did the joke one better. Today's iPad suffers because it doesn't. Its a book reader, but not in sunlight or even bright indoor light. It doesn't have ports, so I can't replace photo or video preview tablet/vaults with an iPad. Some of these alternatives are much closer. Even without Apple's clout, there may be realty interesting times ahead.