"Apple's iPad faces some serious competition this year, with scores of Android and Windows tablets about to hit the market that offer several features the iPad lacks. Analyst firm Yankee Group believes the global market for tablets will almost triple by the end of 2014 from $US16 billion in 2010 to $US46 billion in 2014.
The iPad has dominated the market - over 12 million sold so far - and Apple has clearly set the tone in terms of design but several of the newer Android and Windows 7 tablets announced at CES contain features not found on the iPad, such as dual cameras, higher screen resolution and slide-out keyboards.
A 10.1-inch tablet based on the latest "Honeycomb" iteration (version 3.0) of Google's Android platform.
Has a full QWERTY keyboard, a 10.1-inch and runs the regular version of Windows 7.
Asus Eee Pad Slider and Transformer
Slider has a slide-out keyboard while the Transformer has a clip-on keyboard. They run Android 3.0, have 10.1-inch screens.
Another Windows 7 tablet, the slate has a large 12.1-inch screen.
Panasonic Viera Tablet
This is not designed to be a portable computer but rather a companion to Panasonic's new Viera Connect TVs.
Dell Streak 7
7-inch screen and an Nvidia Tegra dual-core processor and the sturdy Corning Gorilla Glass. The tablet, running Android 2.2, runs on 4G networks and there are no plans yet to launch it in Australia.
Another smaller 7-inch tablet but this one runs Android 3.0.
Lenovo IdeaPad U1
Has a detachable 11.6-inch screen that then becomes a tablet with a more touch-friendly interface. Runs on Android.
10-1-inch screen, runs Android 3.0 and offers built-in Wi-Fi but no 3G support.
LG tablet and glasses-free portable 3D TV
8.9-inch tablet running Android 3.0 and using an Nvidia dual-core processor.
Already launched in Japan, the Galapagos will hit the US in the second half of this year but it is not clear if it will reach Australia. There will be two models - 5.5-inch and 10.8-inch.
I have also read about new tablets being released from Acer and Research in Motion (Blackberry playbook). So we are definitely not out of choices. But how on earth should a normal person ever be able to investigate this market and pick the tablet that suits individual needs? Android? Dual-core? 3G support? UH?Marketers of technology seem to completely have forgotten the consumer!