Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tablet PC's for Tweens? What are the alternatives to the iPad?

Apple iPad 2 MC769LL/A Tablet (16GB, Wifi, Black) NEWEST MODEL
Apple iPad 2 for your tween?
Are there some alternatives?
The most wished for item in Amazon's tablet computer offerings is...no surprise...the Apple iPad 2.  Many tweens have high hopes of owning the latests and greatest in tablet technology, and when it comes to tech gifts, it's often a battle to keep our budgets in check, with the costs of some of the most trendy gadgets tweens can find.  Nevertheless, there are plenty of tablet PC's out there.  Following, we will take a look at some of the bestselling tablets.

Amazon's top selling tablet is the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer:

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101-A1 10.1-Inch Tablet Computer (Tablet Only)
ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101-A1 10.1 inch Tablet Computer
Click image for current pricing and availability at Amazon
Generally sells at $399.99, for 16 GB version, $499.99 for 32 GB version

  • Operating System: Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) Platform
  • Display: 10.1-inch WSVGA IPS capacitive multi touch display built with durable and scratch-resistant glass; 178° viewing angle(1280 x 800)
  • Chipset: NVIDIA® Tegra 2 Mobile Processor
  • Memory: 1GB DDR2
  • Wireless: 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR
  • Storage: 16GB eMMC Flash (Memory expansion via microSD card slot with support for optional cards up to 32 GB (functionality requires future software upgrade)
  • Camera: 1.2 megapixel (Front); 5.0 Megapixel (Rear)
  • Speakers: SRS Sound
  • Card Reader: Micro SD Card Reader
  • Input / Output: 1 x Mini HDMI, 2-in-1 audio jack (head phone/mic-in jack), internal mic
  • Battery Pack: 24.4 W/h Li-polymer battery (up to 9.5 hours)1
  • Dimensions: 10.67" x 6.89" x 0.47" –inches (W x D x H)
  • Weight: 1.5lbs
Another top selling option:  Samsung Galaxy Tablet (wi-fi)

Samsung Galaxy Tab (Wi-Fi)
Samsung Galaxy Tablet with wi-fi
Retails at $349.99

  • Android Froyo (2.2); CPU: 1GHz A8 Cortex Processor;
  • Battery: Li-Polymer, 4000mAh
  • Memory: 16GB Internal Memory; Up to 32GB Expandable Memory (microSD)
  • WiFi: 802.11 a/b/g/n; USB 2.0; Bluetooth 2.1 Connectivity
  • Display: 7.0" WSVGA Display; 600 x 1024 Pixel Display Resolution; 3.54" x 6.05" Display Size; 16M TFT Display Technology
  • Video: Codec: Mpeg4, H.264, H.263, Divx/XviD Format: 3gp(mp4), wmv(asf), avi(divx), mkv, flv

ViewSonic gTablet with 10" Multi-Touch LCD Screen, Android OS 2.2: 5th best selling tablet at Amazon

ViewSonic gTablet with 10" Multi-Touch LCD Screen, Android OS 2.2
ViewSonic gTablet

  • CPU: Nvidia Tegra 2 T20 Dual cortex A9(1Ghz) OS: Android OS 2.2
  • Browser: Android Browser Adobe Flash support
  • Video Support: MPEG-4/H.264/VC-1,1080P Multitasking Multitouch
  • Webcam No Phone support No I/O: 1 mini USB,1 mini HDMI Base Storage 16G
  • Expandable memory: Micro SD card slot support up to 32 GB Sensors

  • Superpad 10.2" Tablet PC, Google Android 2.1: 6th Bestselling Tablet at Amazon
    Superpad 10.2" Tablet PC, Google Android 2.1, Webcam, GPS, HDMI, USB, WIFI, 2 micro SD card slots
    Superpad 10.2" Tablet with Google Android 2.1
    $199.99 (or less, on sale)

    Product Features

    • 10.2" Android 2.1 Tablet PC Touch
    • Screen+WIFI+3G+GPS+Camera+HDMI+RJ45
    Processor, Memory, and Motherboard
    • Hardware Platform: PC
    • Processor: Unknown
    • Number of Processors: 1
    • RAM: 256 MB
    • RAM Type: DDR DRAM
    Hard Drive
    • Size: 2 GB

    As tablet PC's go, they may seem a little bit pricey, compared with tween gadgets such as iPod Touch, and Netbooks.  As a parent of tweens, and an educator who has worked with this age group, as well, there are some definite concerns with this type of device.  My first reservation would have to do with judgement and responsibility issues.  This is a device that could be handled rather carelessly, to say the least, and if my tween were to use a tablet PC, it would be under careful supervision.  Even my most responsible tweens have had some mishaps.  Misplaced glasses?  Handheld gaming systems?  If you've experienced these with your tween, then it doesn't take much to think through the ramifications of such a mishap with an iPad, or any other tablet.  

    On the other hand, when it comes to an iPod or smartphone, the size stresses my own eyes, and I don't like the idea of encouraging eye strain in my tweens.  Given the choice of an iPod touch, or an inexpensive tablet PC, I prefer the size of the tablet. 
    Apple iPod touch 8 GB (4th Generation) NEWEST MODEL
    8GB iPod Touch

    If you are considering a tablet as a means of equipping your tween with an amplified ereader device, the cost of Kindle, particularly the Kindle with special offers, is much safer, should a mishap take place.

    Kindle Wireless Reading Device, Wi-Fi, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers
    Kindle with Special Offers
    The latest generation of Kindle choices
    includes a basic Kindle, priced as low as $79.

    In recent months, Amazon rolled out the new Kindle Touch, a touchscreen tablet ereader which also includes web browsing, email, and apps.  In conjunction with the announcement of Kindle Fire, a tablet that costs $199, the other members of the Kindle family have seen price adjustments.  The Kindle Fire promises to be a great tablet choice, at 40% of the cost of the most basic iPad.  There will be digital streaming of video and music, ereading (in color), web browsing, and android apps.

    Meanwhile, in staying competitive, Barnes and Noble has introduced the Nook Tablet, costing $249, and has lowered the price of the Nook Color to $199.  The simple Nook Touch is now $99.

    If you want more function than that of an ereader, a netbook is a great choice, and I'm much more comfortable with what I've seen in the ASUS versions.  Not to be handled haphazardly, of course, the ASUS netbooks still feel and appear as if they can withstand the close calls a tween will inevitably have.  Setting ground rules is essential, but I would prefer the combination of functions, size, and casing, to the fragility of a tablet.
    ASUS Eee PC 1001PXD-EU17-BK 10.1-Inch Netbook (Black)
    ASUS EeePc 10.1 inch Netbook
    $249.99 at Amazon

    If you are intent on any tablet PC for your tween, serious discussion about responsibility is important, as well as protective casing.  An extended warranty is highly recommended for any tween device.