Tablet and Phone Updates for Fall 2010

Amazon Kindle 3, Dell Streak, 7-inch iPad, and much more

The smartphone and tablet spaces are literally changing every day, and the folks here at Windows IT Pro have a lot more important things to talk about, so at times it can be hard to keep up. However, we understand that you still like to keep abreast of what's going on in this space. So, modeling Paul Thurrot's WinInfo Short Takes, here's a quick update on the latest in the phone and tablet markets.

Samsung Galaxy Tablet looks great, except the data plan. I've been reading a lot about the Samsung Galaxy Tablet, the first Android tablet (depending on how you count Dell's Streak) to make much of a splash in the news. With a front-facing camera, the tablet offers video chat; it also offers Flash, thanks to Android 2.2;  and most of the other features are fairly comparable to the iPad. But this 7-inch tablet has been rumored at only a few hundred dollars when it releases late this Fall, making it pretty compelling. Except…wait. You have to purchase a carrier plan with it? Meaning, after two years, it'll cost more than the iPad.

Apple 7-inch iPad coming soon. That's right, the iPad 2 is slated for early 2011, and it'll offer pretty much everything the Samsung Galaxy Tablet has except Flash. The 7-inch iPad will have front and rear-facing camera, will utilize FaceTime (like the iPhone 4) for video chat, and will probably be a lower price point than the original iPad. In other words, until an Android tablet with market presence and no subsidized plan hits the market, Apple will continue to monopolize the new tablet space.

Dell to launch 7-inch and 10-inch Streak tablets. The Dell Streak, more of a big phone than a small tablet (but it's all just semantics), is coming soon in 7 and 10-inch formats. Those seem to be the magic numbers, evidently because a 7-inch tablet fits pretty comfortably inside one outstretched hand and can fit in a bigger pocket, while the 10-inch offers a full-size view for viewing articles and videos. In any event, there's not enough detail out to have much of an opinion, but I hope the bigger Streak versions make more of a splash, for Dell's sake.

Amazon's Kindle 3 barely over $100. It's hard to believe that Amazon pioneered the eReader format less than three years ago. In addition to being a very successful device, Amazon has managed to rapidly cut costs of the Kindle, now offering the latest version of the Kindle (called Kindle 3 by some) at only $139. At that price point, I think Amazon will have no trouble keeping eReaders a niche not to be engulfed by tablet PCs. But we'll see. Now, if Amazon could just work on getting cheaper eBooks (and more rentals), I think many more consumers would head over to the eReader format.

Amazon is (intelligently) taking a stab at tablets (iPad specifically) in this new ad, which highlights the latest Kindle's price point and the common opinion that e-ink is much better for reading:



Doubts about the Facebook phone. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced that Facebook will be developing the software for a handset that deeply integrates with the Facebook social networking platform. I'm curious how exactly this will look, since it seems to me most of the latest smartphone OS's already integrate pretty well with Facebook and Twitter. And if the UI is too annoying (see Motorola's CLIQ or Microsoft's KIN), won't it just be a nuisance?

There's plenty more going on in this ever-changing space, so stay tuned for more updates. Or continue the conversation with your thoughts on Twitter


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