The new generation of tablets



I’m not normally one to make bold predictions, but I’m going to stick my neck out and say tablets are no fad. They’re here to stay.

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Suzi Perry certainly seems to be a fan of the Apple iPad

The mass love-in for this previously forgotten concept began with the Apple iPad and has since continued with clever slate-like devices from RIM, Motorola and Samsung.

But now they’re an established part of the computing market, people want more from their tablets. Since the launch of the iPad 2, more consumers are buying their second tablet and want to know that it’s a real improvement on their initial purchase.

So what has this new generation of tablets got to offer and can they tempt us to upgrade?

Aesthetics

Despite cramming more power and features inside their casing than ever before, the new tablets are generally slimmer than their predecessors. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is going to be just 8.4mm thick, about 3.5mm thinner than the original device.

You can also expect to get better value from your bezel. Just being the bit round the edge where you held the tablet is no longer good enough. RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook lets you navigate by swiping the bezel, while you may not have to wait long for a tablet that’s all screen and no bezel.

Operating systems

Google’s Android Honeycomb 3.0 operating system was the first to be tailored for tablets, now they’re fine tuning it. Motorola Xoom owners in the US are getting the first taste of version 3.2, which includes a new “zoom to fill” viewing mode. Get ready for the new Honeycomb to appear on tablets over here in the next few months (hopefully).

Other new players in the tablet market have decided to make their own operating systems. The HP TouchPad runs WebOS, while RIM developed an operating system just for the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Processors

Speed is another great improvement in the new generation of tablets – dual-core processors have become the standard. The Motorola Xoom and the Asus Transformer Eee Pad are powered by Nvidia’s 1Ghz dual-core Tegra 2 processor, while the HP TouchPad has got Qualcomm’s Snapdragon dual-core 1.2Ghz processor inside.

In short, more demanding operating systems and apps have been met with faster processors. The new generation of tablets is rapid.

Unique features

The marketplace is so crowded that it takes something special to stand out. Many of the new tablets have unique selling points, or at least one identifiable feature that the competition doesn’t have.

RIM hopes people with its smartphones will love the idea of seamlessly linking them up with the BlackBerry PlayBook. Audiophiles could well be drawn to the Beats by Dr Dre features on the HP TouchPad.

But can any of these new tablets match the Apple iPad’s ‘cool factor’?

Which of the new generation of tablets are you most impressed with? Comment below or tweet @DixonsinTheKnow