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Apple, Samsung or BlackBerry

With the official announcement of the BlackBerry Playbook, the tablet war has officially begun. While a horde of tablets have been launched ever since Apple came up with its iPad, there are only a few that can claim to have made as much impact as the iPad. These include Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and the just launched, BlackBerry PlayBook (known as “BlackPad” earlier).

Let us take a look at each of these tablets and see how they fare when pitted against each other. We will compare these three tablets on various fronts – so that you can decide for yourselves as to what is the best out there!

Screen Size

If you are the kind who believes in the “the bigger the better” theory, you can completely overlook the Galaxy Tab or the BlackBerry PlayBook and pick the iPad – no comparison required. With a humongous 9.7-inch display that can display stuff at a not so eye popping resolution of 1024*768 pixels no other tablet can boost your ego as much as the iPad. And add to it the fact that it has that cool, half bitten Apple logo at its rear – and you have the single most important reason to buy the iPad. As for the Galaxy Tab and the PlayBook – both have a 7 inch displays with a resolution of 1024*600. While it might be a lot smaller, the images would be considerably sharper because of the smaller size. These two would also be a lot easier to lug around – unlike the iPad.

Hardware
There are two types of gadget freaks – those who buy them for the sheer capability of the device and the others who are just bothered about its ease of use. Most Apple products seem to be the toast of the latter. However, of late, Apple has put itself right up there when it comes to hardware. The iPad is an example of such a product. It has the highly capable Apple A4 Processor apart from 256MB of RAM and a battery rated for 10 hours of usage. This is not bad at all for a product that is almost a year old. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab uses an ARM Cortex A8 processor clocked at 1Ghz. It has double the amount of RAM when compared to the iPad and offers decent multitasking abilities.Its battery life is rated at 7 hours – which is considerably lesser than the iPad. But then, the iPad is bigger and can hold a larger battery. The PlayBook is the most advanced amongst these three tanks to its dual core ARM Cortex A9 processor running at 1Ghz. With a full GB of RAM at your disposal, the user experience should be slick as well.

Operating System

We have three contenders here today – the tried and tested iOS on the iPad, the well known Android on the Galaxy Tab and the relatively (or rather completely) unknown BlackBerry Tablet OS on the PlayBook. The iPad, as you might already know, is for most an enlarged iPhone – and basically runs the same Operating System as the phone – and for the same reason, is undoubtedly the most intuitive and classiest OS you would ever come across on any mobile device. The problem with the iPad is that it’s still on the older version of iOS (which cannot multitask). However, an update scheduled in November is set to fix all that. As for Android, the platform has matured over the years and is currently able to offer an experience comparable to iOS – without doubt. The only underdog here is the new BalckBerry Tablet OS which is yet to see a “hands on” review. It does look quite good on the promotional video that BlackBerry showed us. However, showcasing the same experiencing in real world conditions is something different. The new BlackBerry OS, known as the QNX (pronounced Qinnix), supports full fledged multitasking and is touted to be highly secure and reliable. Thanks to the dual core processor on the PlayBook, the overall user experience, at least on paper, looks promising.

Browsing

One of the primary objectives behind people buying a tablet is the need for a full fledged Internet experience on the tablet. With the exception of the iPad, which has chosen to forgo support for Flash, both the Galaxy Tab and the PlayBook offer support for Flash 10.1. The iPad’s Safari browser, however, supports HTML 5. While Apple fans might claim they do not actually feel the need for Flash to be integrated on the iPad – the fact that most websites on the World Wide Web still use Flash based content cannot be disputed. So, if you are the kind who prefers the “full Internet” on your tablet, the iPad is not your device. But then, let’s not forget that the larger screen on the iPad can deliver a far more engaging Internet experience.

App Store
While the iPad may lose out on portability and hardware, the availability of apps for the platform is one of the biggest reasons the product has been such a roaring success. The iPad has access to Apple’s app store which is arguably the largest application store any tablet on the planet can boast of right now. The Galaxy Tab has access to the Android Market- which, though not as large as the Apple App Store, is still huge. RIM’s PlayBook is the virtual underdog here with far lesser applications that would be available for the tablet whenever it’s launched in 2011.

Other Bits

Some other things that you may be worried about include the availability of a camera. The iPad doesn’t come with a camera at all. The Galaxy Tab, on the other hand, has dual cameras – one for video calling and the other for general photography. The front camera is a 1.3 megapixel unit while a 3 megapixel unit adorns the rear. BlackBerry has upped the Ante when it comes to tablet cameras with the PlayBook boasting of a 5 megapixel camera at the rear. The front camera, however, is a VGA affair. All three devices support 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth – with the PlayBook being even 4G ready.

Conclusion
BlackBerry’s PlayBook is a product that would only be launched in early 2011. Until then, Apple has enough time on its hands to deliver the next generation iPad which would obviously be much better than the current iPad (in terms of the hardware). The Galaxy Tab seems the best poised amongst the trio – thanks to its Android origins. What might put off users is its price which, in India, is expected to be around Rs. 40,000. That price, for a device based on an open source OS, is outright criminal. The price of the PlayBook is yet to be revealed – but considering RIM is also targeting the corporate sector with it, we wonder if they would price it nominally. Anyway, lets wait and watch how all this ends up!


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