There's no doubt the Android tablet market is heating up much like the phone market was a few years ago. Where before there were relatively few choices, manufacturers are now rolling out new models left and right - sometimes, it seems, with reckless abandon. It's almost like Newton's third law in action: for every great tablet released, an equal but opposite tablet is released.
According to Amazon, the original (2011) model of the Kindle Fire (KF) captured 22% of the tablet market. Whether or not you believe that figure, it was almost certainly the most popular Android tablet of the year. When compared to the often-times much more expensive tablets on the market, it was easy to see why: the Kindle fire offered 90% of the experience for 50% (or less) of the price.
Considering we're a little late to the game on our review of Amazon's newest Kindle Fire, you've probably skimmed through the thoughts of various blogs and news outlets, finding quips like "not a great general computing tablet," or "no match for the Nexus 7's / iPad's performance." And they're right.
The Fire HD is not a good "tablet" in the sense its competitors are (yet), and it's not really a match for the hardware horsepower of its Google-born arch-nemesis, the Nexus 7.
"Unique" is the name of the game with the Archos 101 XS. Just about every design decision goes against the status quo. Most tablets are made out of aluminum or plastic, but Archos went with stainless steel and a plastic rim. It's a tablet-laptop hybrid, but there's no hinge, everything is held together with a kickstand and some magnets. The included keyboard dock also doubles as a magnetic cover. At a time when some Android OEMs are
accused found guilty of doing little more than firing up a photocopier, some out-of-the-box thinking is very much appreciated.
A little over a year ago, before I was hired at AP, I wrote about the things I wanted my new Honeycomb tablet to be able to do in the next version of Android. Multitasking on tablets was (and still is) non-existent, and I wanted my tablet to be less of a big phone, and more of a small computer. I wanted split screen, and floating apps, and really, I wanted to just make use of this nice, big screen I had.
Android tablets, for the last year plus they've existed, haven't been anything to get excited over. At least that's my opinion on the matter. And even if you've wanted one (a good one), most of them have been sort of expensive. But now that Google has unveiled the first true Nexus tablet (XOOM who?), for a mere 200 of your dollars, you can get in on the computing revolution.
Just over a week ago, Aaron and I (Cameron) each received a review unit of the Excite 7.7. While I will largely be taking the reigns on this one, Aaron wanted to throw in his thoughts as well. Thus, while the bulk of the review was written exclusively by me, you'll also see his (clearly labeled) thoughts at the bottom of every section.
Cameron: I have to be honest: after using the Excite 10 and coming away feeling "meh" about it, I didn't have high hopes for its little brother.
With the flagship Transformer Pad Infinity (TF700) release right around the corner and the release of the budget-oriented Transformer Pad (TF300) a few months ago, Asus has filled out it's line-up of 10" quad-core Android tablets. Obviously, most people would opt for the highest of the high-end (that'd be the TF700) if they were just looking to blow money. Unfortunately, most people aren't just looking for ways to spend as much money as possible, so instead, they spend enough to cover their needs.
Fun fact: a 1080p display packs 2,073,600 pixels. The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity (or TF700)? 2,304,000 - or 230,400 more. Most 1080p HDTVs are somewhere around 40-60 inches. The TF700 checks in at just 10. Compared to a 40" HDTV, that's 111% of the pixels in a package that's 6.25% of the size.
The screen may be the real headline feature with the Infinity, but it's not the only one worthy of note.