I Don’t Want an Apple iPad
There are two main types of tablet on the market, the Apple iPad and devices running the Android Honeycomb operating system. One is a second generation device that has the support of a single manufacturer and access to a massive marketplace of apps, while the other has the support of multiple manufacturers but offers fewer apps.
Choosing the right tablet for you is tricky business, but if you have already made your mind up to choose one of the Android Honeycomb tablets rather than an Apple iPad, you will have quite a large selection of devices to choose from.
What Are You Looking For?
Android tablets come in all shapes and sizes, from large 10 inch display devices to the smaller 7 inch slates, although Honeycomb seems restricted to the iPad-style 10 inch form factor at present.
If you want a device that you can type on for email and chat, browse the web or play the latest games on then you should certainly be looking for a Honeycomb tablet. These devices feature the latest in video graphics for mobile devices, typically the NVIDIA Tegra T20 processor, and as such gaming and video in are superior on Honeycomb than on the majority of devices released previously.
The Android Market is also present on Android Honeycomb slates; those previously released don’t have the Market by default.
Work, Browsing or Gaming?
The Honeycomb device you choose might appear to be best suited to working (such as the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer with its removable keyboard), browsing (a low-cost device like the Advent VEGA, which uses Android 2.1, see below for more) or gaming (the Motorola Xoom springs to mind here) but in actual fact Honeycomb enables the host device to be flexible and equally adept at each task.
Thanks to the minimum hardware specification of a 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra T20 processor, 512 Mb RAM and 8 GB storage, the Honeycomb slates are highly versatile. Their use is dictated not by the operating system but by the needs of the user and available Market apps.
Honeycomb Tablets Price Range
With such a wide selection of devices all running the same operating system, you won’t be surprised to find that different Honeycomb tablets are available for a range of budgets.
For a Motorola Xoom, arguably the current king of the Honeycomb Tablets, prices in the US start at $579 for the Wi-Fi version and $629 for 3G and WiFi. In the UK, prices start at £439 for Wi-Fi and £599 for 3G and Wi-Fi.
Meanwhile the Acer Iconia Tab A500 is a Wi-Fi only device exclusive to Best Buy stores in the United States for the low price of $449. Of the other notable devices that are currently available, the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer is available in the US at just $400 for the Wi-Fi only model. Please note, however, that all of these options will offer various memory and storage specifications.
If you want a true budget device you should consider purchasing a suitably-equipped device such as the Advent VEGA. While released as an Android 2.1 device, the VEGA is upgradable to Honeycomb thanks to the efforts of solo developers on the XDA-developers.com forum and other online locations. If you’re looking for a tablet that you can spend time upgrading as a fun project as well as using for work, this option is recommended. In the UK, the Wi-FI only VEGA can be purchased for just £249; other devices with the same specification are available around the world, such as the $500 Shuttle tablet in the USA.
Author’s own experience.
Prices via Google Shopping.
Image credit Motorola Mobility Media Center, https://mediacenter.motorola.com.