Samsung and ViewSonic will unleash tablets to the masses on 1 November, and other manufacturers are set to follow as the buzz around portable devices reaches fever pitch.
November is shaping up to be the most important month for tablets since the iPad was launched at the end of May. Apple's device continues to enjoy a high uptake in the enterprise sector, and other manufacturers will also be looking to entice business users.
V3.co.uk is on hand to give an overview of all the devices on offer to help establish which tablets are worth investing in.
Samsung Galaxy Tab: starting at £499, available from 1 November
The Galaxy Tab is a hybrid device capable of making regular phone calls, making it similar to the Dell Streak. However, the Samsung device has a 7in WSVGA screen with a resolution of 1,024 x 600, and ships with the Android 2.2 operating system.
The Tab is one of the first tablets that commentators believe could realistically challenge the iPad. Aside from having a smaller screen, the Tab outmuscles the Apple device in a number of key areas that could make it particularly attractive to business users.
With 3G, HSUPA, HSDPA, Wi-Fi and DLNA connectivity, the Tab is shaping up to be one of the most highly connectable tablets on the market.
Other key features include 16GB of internal memory, and the option to expand this by an extra 32GB via micro-SD cards. The ability to play full HD 1080p videos, front- and rear-facing cameras and Adobe Flash 10.1 support is also included.
The device will be powered by a 1GHz processor, as is becoming standard for high-end portable devices.
The Tab also comes with ThinkFree document writing and editing software, and is capable of functioning as an e-book reader. It can be synchronised with email accounts including Microsoft Exchange, and will allow users to browse the web and check emails on the move.
On the battery front, Samsung has claimed seven hours of movie playback. Users will also have access to Samsung apps and over 100,000 apps in the Android Market.
The one area that could put off potential customers is the price. A standalone Tab will cost £530, but this is reduced to £499 when purchased with a rolling data contract.
The Tab will be offered by major operators including O2 and Vodafone, and Carphone Warehouse will be stocking the device along with major online retailers.
Samsung may also release a Wi-Fi-only model in the future which could make the device considerably cheaper, but nothing has been confirmed.
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