Top tablets exhibited at CES 2012
At CES events in years gone by it was probably cutting edge enough to just have a tablet on show...
At CES events in years gone by it was probably cutting edge enough to just have a tablet on show.
"Oooh, look, it's got a touchscreen and I can download apps," we all cooed. But we're now a much more sophisticated bunch when it comes to tablets and collectively we ask companies why we should choose to buy their gadget.
A good starting point is to accept there will be no 'iPad killer'. Apple's market-leading device runs its own operating system and has built up a formidable app store. It will be topping the tablet charts for years to come.
But there's room for other tablets, plenty of room, in fact. Google's Android is now up to version 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) on many tablets, while RIM is about to release an update to the BlackBerry PlayBook operating system.
BlackBerry Playbook 2.0 has been on show at CES all week and includes a number of real benefits for users. Tabbed email is a big improvement, meaning you can be halfway through composing an email and have a sneak peak of your inbox - all without saving a draft or stalling your progress.
RIM claim the new PlayBook operating system will be able to run 70% of the most popular games on Android Market, which is a huge plus for any non-business users of the tablet.
But the show-stopper is the ability to use your BlackBerry smartphone as a remote control to your tablet. So if you've got the PlayBook hooked up to a big screen for a presentation, you can comfortably control proceedings from anywhere.
For Android tablets, the big news is the 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. While not all of the new devices on show were running it, they are likely to be upgraded within the next couple of months.
Samsung used CES to show off its Galaxy Tab 7.7, which is says is the thinnest and lightest model it has ever released. The 3mp camera is complemented by a geotagging function, while it also packs a battery which can stand 10 hours of video playback - enough for even the longest commute.
If variety is the spice of life then Toshiba had the hottest stand, showing off four tablet options from a 5.1" 'gaming tablet' to a 13.3" model, which is probably best for watching films on. While it's difficult to get a good handle on tablets from outside their Perspex box, it certainly seems Toshiba is taking tablets seriously over the next year.
And with just under a year to go until CES 2013, it's a safe bet that tablets will be top of the agenda once again.