Apple's rivals scramble to match the iPad

Dell, HP, and Lenovo are rushing to compete against the Apple iPad in the tablet PC market.

Fusion Garage JooJoo

Apple's rivals scramble to match the iPad

Available now, the notorious CrunchPad-turned-JooJoo tablet has a big 12.1-inch capacitive multitouch display, runs Ubuntu Linux with a custom interface and supports Flash video. Early reviews have criticized the choppiness of its Flash video playback, and noted that $499 is pricey for a browser-only 4GB tablet (its apps are all Web-based). Key specs include a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, nVdia Ion graphics, 1GB of RAM, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.

Microsoft Courier

Apple's rivals scramble to match the iPad

Microsoft's Courier--a folding dual-screen digital journal--has the potential to match Apple in user interface innovation...if it ever makes it off the drawing board. The Website Engadget cites an "extremely trusted source" as saying that the Courier is on track for the second half of 2010. It will reportedly use nVidia's Tegra 2 chip, and the same OS platform as Microsoft's Zune HD and Windows Mobile 7 phones.

Lenovo IdeaPad U1

Apple's rivals scramble to match the iPad

As a laptop, the IdeaPad U1 runs Windows 7 with a 1.3GHz Core 2 Duo SU4100 chip. But pop the screen off, and the machine instantly becomes a multitouch tablet running its own widget-style Linux interface. And get this: Some tasks, such as open Web pages, automatically continue between both modes. The keyboard base can operate independently, the screen includes 3G, and Lenovo rates the unit's battery life at about 8 hours. It sounds great, but the U1's popularity could hinge on its price and on how responsive its resistive display is to touch. The Lenovo IdeaPad U1 is expected to arrive in early June for around $1000 without carrier subsidies.

Notion Ink Adam

Apple's rivals scramble to match the iPad

Everything about this device screams innovation. Designed in India, the Adam uses a multitouch-enabled 10.1-inch "transflective" screen from Pixel Qi that switches between sunlight-friendly e-paper and color LCD modes as needed. It also has a 3.2-megapixel, 180-degree-swivel camera; a high-def-video-capable Tegra 2 processor; an HDMI port; 3G; and GPS. It has been previewed running Android 2.1. A cheaper (and thinner) standard screen version will also be available this summer when the Adam launches in June or July for between $327 and $800.

Netbook Tablets

Apple's rivals scramble to match the iPad

If you'd like to flick through Web pages or e-books by touch, but you don't want to give up your physical keyboard, a netbook equipped with a swiveling screen may be a good compromise. Over the next few months, several new "netvertibles" will emerge, including the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3T (available now), the Viliv S10 Blade, the Asus Eee PC T101MT, and the Gigabyte Touch Note T1000P. Each will have a 10.1-inch multitouch display, will run Windows 7, and will cost around $500 bucks. That's cheaper than standard 12.1-inch convertibles such as the HP Touch­Smart tm2t and the Lenovo ThinkPad X201T--both of which are multitouch capable.

ExoPC Slate

Apple's rivals scramble to match the iPad

The ExoPC Slate--a Windows 7 slate with a custom touch interface, an 8.9-inch (1366-by-768-pixel) multitouch screen, netbook-like specs, and Flash support--was scheduled to arrive at the end of March, but Exo­PC postponed the launch to June or July. To check in on the rival HP Slate, perhaps? Whatever the reason, the ExoPC Slate will include a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB or 64GB of storage, Intel GMA500 graphics, a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for videoconferencing, 802.11n Wi-Fi, two USB 2.0 slots, and a mini-HDMI output. The unit is due in the summer of 2010, with prices starting at $599 (32GB).

ICD Ultra

Apple's rivals scramble to match the iPad

Innovative Converged De­­vices' Ultra is expected to start at just $250 (without carrier subsidies) when it reaches the market at midyear. Verizon used an Ultra in January to demonstrate its next-generation 4G LTE wireless network; and the Ultra's big brother (the 15.6-inch ICD Vega) is headed to T-Mobile in the UK before the end of the year. Specs include a 7-inch resistive single-touch display (with a resolution of 1024 by 600 pixels or 800 by 480 pixels; capacitive versions are expected as well), a 1GHz nVidia Tegra 2 (Tegra T20) CPU, 256MB of RAM and 512MB of ROM, 4GB of internal flash memory (nonremovable), 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, mini HDMI output, FM radio, and 3G and GPS options.

Archos 9 PC Tablet

Apple's rivals scramble to match the iPad

On paper, the Archos 9 looks impressive, thanks to a 1.2GHz Atom Z510 CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 60GB hard disk, Windows 7, a front-facing Webcam, Flash support, and a price of $549. But its 8.9-inch display is resistive and lacks multitouch, and the company hasn't made Windows 7 any more finger-friendly. Archos also sells 7- and 5-inch Android-based tablets/mobile Internet access devices, and recently announced the Archos 8 Home Tablet--essentially, an 8-inch touchscreen photo frame that runs Android.

PCWorld senior news editor Tom Spring contributed to this report.

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