ASUS Eee Pad Slider: Real Keyboard
The ASUS Eee Pad Slider is a good little touchpad with a slide-out keyboard, a nice option for people who want it all. This is a biggish tablet with a 10.1-inch 1,280x800-pixel screen, protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. ASUS claims the Slider provides 8 hours of battery life.
You get a full complement of hardware: a high-quality color screen, USB, Bluetooth, SD card slots, HDMI output, Bluetooth, wireless networking, two cameras, and sensors that detect position and orientation. It comes with the Polaris Office productivity suite, multi-media software, and access to the squillions of Android applications.
Polaroid Smart Camera: Cameras Are Computers
The line between mobile phones and cameras has been blurry for a long time, to the point that the Android-powered Polaroid SC1630 Smart Camera looks like a smartphone with an extra-large camera lens. It has a 16 megapixel sensor, a 36-108mm zoom lens, and a beautiful 3.2-inch touch screen display and viewfinder.
Figure 2: Polaroid's instant digital camera that looks like a smartphone.
It comes with geotagging, face and smile detection, image editing software, and it is designed for easy editing and sharing. Photos are stored on a 32 MB SD card. It comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and an optional a 3G/4G data connection, but no voice capability. However, it is equipped with a microphone and speaker, so you could probably set up Skype or other VoIP service over Wi-Fi.
This could be a good tool for people who require better-quality instant photos than the usual dark blurry smartphone pictures, such as realtors and surveyors. It is scheduled to be released later this year.
Sony Tablet S: Comfort
The Sony Tablet S stands out from the tablet crowd with a unique wedge shape designed for comfort. It puts more of the weight in your hands, and when it sits on a table it naturally lies at a comfortable typing angle. If you do a lot of reading on a tablet, the Sony is nice to hold for extended periods of time.
It is powered by a dual-core processor, comes with 16 or 32 GB flash storage, USB, SD slot, two cameras -- in other words, pretty similar to all the other Android tablets. It's marketed as a multimedia entertainment device, but there's no reason you couldn't install a complement of useful business applications, and at 1.5 pounds it's easy to tote around. It'll set you back about $375.
Xperia Active: The Tough Smartphone
The Xperia Active is a tough smartphone for active people. It is dustproof, water-resistant, and you can use the touchscreen even when it is wet. It's a nice-looking phone that comes in a range of colors. It supports all cell networks, Wi-Fi, and comes with the usual goodies -- camera, USB, Bluetooth, GPS and geotagging, auto-rotate, multi-media features, and a batch of productivity applications.
And of course you can download additional applications just like any Android device. Battery life is average, with a talk time of around 5 hours and standby of up to 350 hours. It costs around $300 unlocked. This could be a good travel phone because it is tougher, and you simply pop in a new SIM card when you're in a different country.
Carla Schroder is the author of The Book of Audacity, Linux Cookbook, Linux Networking Cookbook, and hundreds of Linux how-to articles. She's the former managing editor of Linux Planet and Linux Today.
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