In a very short two years the tablet market has lit up like a wildfire and business executives have a plethora of options. The iPad still reigns supreme, with an estimated 80 percent of the tablet market. But that could change very soon with Android’s Honecomb platform, built just for tablets and now available on several new devices from makers like Samsung and Motorola. With more big players entering the tablet market and sales moving through the wireless carriers, soon we’ll have as many to choose from as we do smart phones. And with that, if you feel like the iPad is a bit too game or entertainment focused for your work needs, here are three alternatives that will get the job done.
RIM BlackBerry PlayBook
Millions of business executives around the world have held their steadfast loyalty to RIM and their crackberries. And it’s easy to understand why. Blackberry was arguably the first line of smartphones built with the executive in mind. Palm may have kicked off this trend, but Blackberry took a very swift lead when it started churning out smartphones for every kind of business user, leaving Palm in the dust. For RIM devotees, there’s the new Blackberry Playbook and it’s living up to its noble name. The user interface is just as intuitive, the design sturdy and elegant, and the browser is top rate. Like the others mentioned, the PlayBook has full Flash-video support. And it has something the others don’t have yet; it can wirelessly send files between computers on the same network. Synching with your Blackberry smartphone is of course a breeze. RIM hasn’t added a video chat feature yet, which may be a hindrance, but you can bet it’s probably not too far behind. It does have a camera though, and can run apps simultaneously for multitasking. Starts at $499 for 16 GB.
The Motorola Xoom is building quite the little buzz storm as the first tablet to use Google’s new Android Honeycomb system. That and users really love how fast, cool and powerful it is. It too has Flash support, something that’s becoming more and more of a deal-breaker for business tablet users. It also has a growing list of apps, multitasking, a camera for web chat, and you can transport content from the device to an HDTV — this is a great feature for both home and business user. Presentations delivered through the tab are clear and beautiful, and if you’re on the right network, incredibly fast. This tablet also promises a 10-hour battery life, which can be a lifesaver for the executive who chooses to leave the laptop at home and travel just with the tab. Starts at $599, so not exactly more affordable than an iPad.But user reviews indicate that this tablet is totally worth it.
Samsung Galaxy Tab
This might be the most popular iPad alternative yet, especially for executives who like or need to run Flash. It’s designed to be lightweight, slick, incredibly stylish, and users say it’s as fast as it is pretty. It’s a bit smaller than the iPad, which makes it easier to tote around in a small bag or portfolio. The Galaxy has a camera for both pictures and video, and a front-facing camera for video chat. This can come in handy for video conferencing on the go. The tablet is available through all of the major carriers and starts at just $199. That’s a pretty fair price tag for a tablet that can run loads of great apps, fun entertainment features, and supports your business communications and productivity needs.