At the 2011 International CES in Las Vegas, Nevada the trend seemed to be on what new tablet was going to be the proverbial iPad Killer. That is, a tablet that is going to be superior in just about every way to Apple’s breakthrough juggernaut.
Panasonic is getting into the tablet business aggressively in 2011 with a line of VIERA Tablets. While no release date or price was given, the tablets do have a set of features that are pretty impressive. The VIERA tablets feature such things as “content on-the-go” which is a way for you to easily take your PC content on the go, a visual remote control and being able to chat while viewing content. Mostly, these tablets seemed focused on bringing the content you view on the tablet to your home HDTV. Whether or not this would translate well for games is yet to be seen, and the units being demoed at CES were only prototype models.
Other companies focused on already released products such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab. The Tab features the Android operating system and a smaller form factor than the iPad, along with a few other Samsung specific features. Microsoft was also showcasing Kinect and Windows Phone 7 at the show, in an attempt to rope in new potential buyers. Each of these platforms are very interesting in the gaming sense, as they do bring a lot to the table. I was especially impressed with how Windows Phone 7 sports a single sign-on for on the phone and the Xbox.
I hate to sound jaded, but there were a few misses along the way as well. Coby was showcasing their Kyros tablets that have resistive touch screens and work better with styluses. These screens are generally old fashioned and are generally only found in much cheaper devices. Running at only around $150, these tablets may be alright for very light internet use but definitely not recommended for gaming.
Intel had a bit of gaming news as they were showing off the Intel AppUp Store. This store looks and acts much like the iTunes App Store and Android Markets. The difference is that these games can be purchased and played on the PC, rather than on a mobile device. Angry Birds had just launched on the service, so I was able to snag a quick session at the booth. The game played well on the small netbook touchpad, and the entire AppUp experience is apparently optimized for the netbook user.
All in all, CES was a very interesting and promising show that usually defines the trends that will make up the majority of technology over the next year. If you are looking to buy a tablet but aren’t sold on an iPad, this may be the year you finally make a decision.