We are on the brink of a tablet outbreak, folks. The iPad has been around since April, the Galaxy Tab and BlackBerry PlayBook are both market-bound, and as of Thursday, we have the HP Slate 500. Android tablets are about to storm the market, and we should see plenty of them in the beginning of 2011. But how does the Slate stack up to the current competition?

The iPad and Galaxy Tab seem to be on the same page, for the most part. They are both heavily driven by applications, media, and primarily portals for fun. The Slate is predominantly aimed at enterprise users for the functionality of a netbook or a laptop on the go. The PlayBook appears to be hovering somewhere in the middle with moderate application support and heavy enterprise roots. This is where I think the market will split, and the PlayBook seems to bridge that gap before it's truly made. Now, take all of that away and look at the specs.

Below, I have composed a series of spec sheets for all of the tablets. The Slate, though in between the PlayBook or Galaxy Tab and the iPad in size, weighs just as much as the iPad. It also has a faster processor, but is running a full operating system versus the competing tablets' mobile operating systems. It doesn't have the ability for an "instant on" option (you press the power button and it's ready to be used), but the iPad, PlayBook, and all Android tablets will have this luxury as it is part of the mobile experience. While the other three will offer great web browsers, now with flash support (save the iPad), the Slate will operate just like your computer browser. So, while it does have some rather large drawbacks, the benefits of the extra functionality really pay off.

Probably the biggest turnoff of the Slate is its price tag. The iPad will range from $500-830 based on what capacity you buy and whether it has 3G or not; the Galaxy Tab will set you back between $400-650 max depending whether you buy it on or off contract; and the PlayBook hasn't even been priced yet, but I would expect it to stay in the same range. The Slate, on the other hand, is a whopping $800 with no 3G capabilities. It is a Wi-Fi only tablet, so in that department, you're getting much less bang for your buck. In a market that is moving towards everything having wireless capabilities, application support, and quick access to everything at the push of a button (having to wait for a device to boot up is preposterous), the Slate is a PC in a tablet world. It does have its place though, however small that demographic may be. 

Windows is heavily used worldwide. Industries all around will probably have their eyes fixed on this sexy little piece of technology, but it isn't likely to be consumer's best friend. It is a little more robust and isn't  exactly going to be fun to use. It has its key benefits, and to tell you the truth, before I saw that price tag, I was excited about this thing. I understand their need to price it higher than the other tablets, but it seems they have missed the mark. Poor battery life, being somewhat clunky (weight), and running a full operating system are really detrimental to what would have been some really nice specs. Let's hope HP lets us see that webOS tablet before long, until then we can all agree that they didn't completely botch the Slate. I'll leave the rest of the clashing and comparing to you guys. There's only so much that can be said about these devices without them running side -by-side. Sound off below, tell us if you think it can pull its own weight.

The Apple iPad:

  • 9.7" LED Multi-Touch capacitive display (1024 by 768 pixel resolution)
  • Weighs 1.5 pounds (Wi-Fi model);  1.6 pounds (Wi-Fi + 3G model)
  • 1GHz Apple A4 processor
  • 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB capacities
  • Apple's iOS ver 3.2.2; lots of applications and games
  • No camera
  • 25 WHr battery; up to 10 hours of web surfing on Wi-Fi
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) and Wi-Fi + 3G models;
  • Proprietary charging/data transfer port
  • Starts at $499.00 and goes up to $829.00

The HP Slate 500:

  • 8.9” WSVGA capacitive touchscreen with a (1024 by 600 pixel resolution)
  • Weighs 1.5 lbs
  • 1.86 GHz Intel® Atom™ Processor Z540
  • 2GB RAM; 64 GB SSD
  • Windows 7 Professional installed, laptop capabilites
  • 3MP  rear-facing camera with a front-facing VGA webcam
  • 2-cell (30 WHr) polymer battery, up to 5+ hours
  • Wi-Fi only; Integrated 802.11b/g/n
  • Standard USB 2.0 port
  • $799.00

The BlackBerry PlayBook:

  • 7” LCD display with multi-touch capabilities (1024 by 600 pixel resolution)
  • Weights 0.9 lbs
  • 1 GHz dual-core processor; multi-processing
  • 1GB RAM; Will be offered in 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64GB capacities
  • BlackBerry Tablet OS with QNX technology, huge enterprise backing, some apps
  • 5MP HD rear-facing camera and a 3MP HD front-facing camera
  • 5300mAh battery, should make it through one day
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) and 3G models
  • microUSB port
  • Price yet to be determined

The Galaxy Tab:

  • 7” TFT touchscreen display (1024 by 600 pixel resolution)
  • Weighs 0.8 pounds
  • 1GHz Hummingbird processor
  • 32GB on-board memory with a microSD card slot
  • Google Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system, apps and games, highly customizable
  • 3MP camera on the back (with flash, DVD-quality video) and a 1.3 MP front-facing camera.
  • Battery rated for 7 hours of video playback
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) and 3G model only; Wi-Fi only coming in the future
  • microUSB port
  • Roughly $399.99 on contract; $650 contract free

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