What’s Next For Tablets: The Mega Rumour Roundup

Earlier this week I asked if Android fans actually prefer iPads when it comes to tablets. Many of you said you’re still waiting to see what tablets may be around the corner, so let’s take a look at what 14 of the biggest tablet makers have up their R&D sleeves.

Acer: Right now, Acer is all about its 10-inch Iconia Tab tablets — available with Android (Honeycomb) or Windows 7. Acer also has that swanky (but $2500!) dual-screener, too. Next in the pipeline looks to be the delayed 7-inch A100, and the Iconia Tab Slider, rumoured Christmas competition for Asus’ Eee Pad slider.

Amazon: I wish Amazon would just release its tablet already. Current ETA is well before Christmas, and this week there was heavy suggestion it’d be a 9- or 10.1-inch iPad rival, more than a Kindle replacement. I also wonder if Amazon might finally come to Australia.

Apple: Won’t spend too much time here, you’ve heard it all before. Most notable recent rumour is the iPad HD suggestion from the former editor of Engadget.

Asus: So what comes after the Eee Pad Transformer (Android) and Eee Slate EP121 (Windows 7)? Asus Poland recently let slip that the 10-inch Eee Pad slider tablet/laptop should arrive in August (no word on Australia yet), and let’s not forget that cool Padfone concept we shot at Computex.
BlackBerry (RIM): The Playbook has arrived and it’ll run soon run Android apps. There were rumours of a 10-inch follow up, but they’ve been nixed, possibly in favour of a 4.3-inch phone. Meanwhile, here are 10 reasons why BlackBerry could be screwed.

Dell: I actually liked the 5-inch Dell Streak a lot, so I’m curious what Dell has up its sleeve. The 7-inch Streak never really made it out here, but we do know Dell is working on a 10-inch Windows 7 tablet codenamed “Peju”. Yes, that means sperm. Current speculation suggests it’ll be called the Latitude ST and will arrive in October. We also know that Dell is on board with Microsoft for Windows 8 tablets.

HP: I don’t want to hear a single word out of HP until it answers one question: When will the TouchPad arrive in Australia? And is there a faster version in the works? OK, that’s two questions. I’ve been invited to a special HP event on July 26, so let’s hope it’s the TouchPad. I’ll keep you posted.
HTC: Over in the States, HTC has two 7-inchers: The new Evo View 4G Gingerbread tablet and the Flyer. In Australia? Neither. I’ve reached out to learn if either model we be localised for our shores, and I’ll update you here.

Huawei: Definitely considering Australia more and more in its plans, and will release a 7-inch MediaPad with Android 3.2 here by September.

Microsoft: Shh. They’re called slates not tablets. And Microsoft knows that Windows 7 tablets pretty much suck, so it’s putting a lot of R&D into a tablet-centric UI for Windows 8. I’m actually really optimistic about what they could come up with. The only problem is that we won’t get to play until 2012. Will they have missed the boat? Here’s a video of Windows 8’s cool new touch interface.
Motorola: Could Motorola’s next tablet, possibly dubbed the Xoom 2, ditch the 16:9 ratio in favour of iPad-like dimensions? Current rumour is that the 10-incher will have a high-res display and run Android Ice Cream, too.

Samsung: The next tablet will arrive either in or around August. The exact date is in flux, but that’s the official word from Samsung Australia. My guess: It’s the 8.9-inch Galaxy Tab, and it’s very likely to arrive as part of an exclusive carrier agreement.

Sony: See: Hands On With Sony’s Gorgeous New Android Tablets. No Australian dates yet, but wow. Looking very interesting.

Toshiba: Toshiba’s new Honeycomb tablet, the AT100, has only just arrived for $579. I’m actually sitting next to it right now. Stay tuned for thoughts.

Over to you guys. Anything listed that you have your eye on? Have I missed any juicy rumours? Let me know in the comments.

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