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iPad Wi-Fi+3G will air April 30.

HP Slate, running Windows 7 on a dual core 13 watt Intel Atom processor will be among the first tablets to compete with the iPad.
Tabletsphere continues to heat up

Love it or hate it, Apple has made the tablet seem cool -- to some at least.  The company has basically merged the iPod, iPhone, and foreign eBook reader designs into a single product that offers some of each world.  While it's certainly not for everyone, the device seems poised to help spawn a new personal computer fad akin to the netbook movement, assuming Apple can get its quality issues under control.

The tablet movement will get a boost on April 30 when Apple releases its second iPad variant, the iPad Wi-Fi+3G across the U.S.  The iPad Wi-Fi+3G will retail for $629, $729 and $829 for 16BG, 32GB and 64GB models, or $130 more than their Wi-Fi only counterparts.  

AT&T, the nation's fastest data network, in independent speed tests will be supporting the device in monthly pay-as-you-go plans.  An unlimited plan is $29.99 per month, just like the iPhone's data fee; the 250 MB per month plan (that's both downloads AND uploads, mind you) is just $14.99 per month.

Apple reaffirmed that the international launch of the iPad Wi-Fi and iPad Wi-Fi+3G variants will be at "the end of May", with pre-orders starting May 10.  Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK will be the initial nations to be receiving the trendy tablet.

The popular electronics firm promises a "magical" experience, that includes personal setup in-store for those who purchase iPads from an Apple store.

Apple will soon have competition from the HP Slate.  The upcoming Slate will also come with Wi-Fi and 3G options and will be priced at $549-$599.  It may not have the app store, but it runs full fledged Windows 7 Home Premium edition, so it should have a vast software library, including superior Office software to the iPad.

It also offers upgradable (via SD card) flash memory, and 1 GB of DDR2 RAM.  The unit will pack a 2 W 1.60 GHz Intel Atom Z530 processor, a single core, dual thread design with 512 KB of L2 cache.  Intel will be providing integrated graphics for the device.  The device will also feature two cameras (one front-facing, one on the back) -- something the iPad lacks.  And it has a USB port -- another thing missing from the iPad.  The downside is a rather mediocre "5+ hour" battery life.

For those willing to wait, the iPad clearly has an edge in battery life, and earns a draw in terms of apps.  However, it loses to the Slate when it comes to size/weight of packaging, processing power, ports, cameras, and memory expansion.

Dell and Amazon are also crafting tablet entries.

It should be an interesting year as the tablet market leaps further into the spotlight.





"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner







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