After a decade of shaky starts, tablet computers have finally arrived. Unlike their bulky, expensive parents, this current generation of slates boasts trim frames, gorgeous screens, and power-house specs. So, here are the 10 most intriguing tablets of 2011, in order of screen size.
1. Samsung Galaxy Tab
Let’s start with the smallest. The Samsung Galaxy Tab is one of three entries on this list with a 7-inch screen – about the size of a paperback novel. While not quite pocket-size, the Tab is perfect for purses or briefcases.
The tablet runs on Google’s Android operating system, and connects to the 3G network of most major wireless providers. It has a zippy 1 GHz Hummingbird processor and runs on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth 3.0, and has up to 7 hours of battery life. While there’s no physical keyboard, this tab is equipped with Swype, a text input that allows for quick and easy typing. Plus, take your pick from the more than 100,000 apps in the Android Marketplace. With the tab’s successful launch, rumors are swirling that a Samsung Galaxy 2 is in the works.
Screen size: 7 inches
Price: $249 with contract, $599 without
OS: Android 2.2
Network: Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T