Tablets are perhaps the most exciting computing platform available today. Manufacturers are scrambling to come up with faster, sleeker, more visually spectacular models that will make their tablet the next big thing. Industry watchers are looking closely at the slate of tablets to be released in 2014 and making their predictions as to which one will come out on top. Here is a look at three contenders and a pick as to the likely winner:
Google Nexus 8: Scheduled to be released around July, this Android-based tablet will be running Android 4.5, which has yet to be officially named. Specs are still hazy at this point, but the tablet is said to be powered by the newest Intel 64-bit mobile chip, the Moorefield.
Intel has been working hard to earn a place in the booming mobile chip market, and the Moorefield represents their most impressive offering to date. It is a quad-core, 64-bit chip that runs at 2.33Ghz, which should make it an instant leader in its segment. Add in the improved graphics power and the ability to work with faster memory, and the chip should help make the Nexus 8 a mobile powerhouse.
Rumors surrounding Android L hint that it will improve speed, lengthen battery life, and use a non-compiling app system that translates code to machine language upon installation. This should help to make processing faster while at the same time using fewer computing resources. It will be interesting to see how mobile app developers utilizes these new features.
LG Tab-Book 2: Many tablets have taken to incorporating physical keyboards into their design, and this device from LG is no exception. Rumored to hit stores later this year, the Tab-Book 2 utilizes a sliding hinge to roll out the keyboard from under the tablet. While this is not new, the LG version of this setup seems to have succeeded where others have failed.
The tablet slides out smoothly and can be locked to avoid accidental opening. Like most products from LG, this feels quite sturdy and is relatively slim considering that the chief version sports an Intel i5 chip. The Tab-Book 2 will be running Windows 8.1, which Microsoft hopes will foster interest in Windows-based mobile computers. There are plenty of business people and Microsoft loyalists that have been waiting for a serious non-8.0 version of Windows that will handle all PC applications.
While all the hoopla surrounding the purported “fixes” of version 8.1, only time will tell if consumers are willing to embrace a Windows-based tablet that can serve as a true notebook replacement. Users looking for such a machine may will find that the Tab-Book 2 satisfies every need.
InFocus New Tab F1: Attempting to not get lost in the shuffle, the folks at Firefox have come up with a tablet operating system, and the F1 will be the first tablet to run it. While the platforms of iOS, Android, and the Kindle OS are the main mobile operating systems available, there is a market for an inexpensive tablet running different OS, providing it is simple and quick.
While it is still early, the Cortex A-7 processor should easily power this 10-inch tablet. Specs are still slim, but there are a sizable number of tablet aficionados who don’t want to spend the money to buy an iPad and who are disappointed with Android-based tablets. If the F1 and subsequent Firefox tablets prove popular, they may carve yet another niche in the already crowded tablet market.
Each of these three tablets has something unique going for it: The Nexus 8 will feature the latest version of Android, the Tab-Book 2 will be a Windows 8.1 powerhouse, and the F1 will introduce an entirely new operating system to the tablet world. However, when push comes to shove, the Nexus 8 will likely dominate the pack in 2014 due to its combination of price, power, and usability.