HP-Slate-2-1 iPad, iPad, iPad. TeleRead readers can be excused for thinking that we perhaps focus on the iPad a little too much these days—but on the other hand, when it comes to a large-screen color e-book reading experience, there’s the iPad, and then there’s…well, what is there?

A few months ago, TechCrunch’s CrunchGear section listed 14 possible alternatives to the iPad that were then under production. Writer Matt Burns has now gone back to ask “Where are they now?”

Of the 14, only 7 have made it to release, and most of those proved to be subpar experiences in one way or another. The ones that get the closest to approval are the Axiotron ModBook (a $1849 Macbook kitbashed into tablet form factor) and the $600 Viliv X70 Windows XP tablet (which still has some problems).

Others have been scrapped (the Lenovo Skylight Smartbook), delayed (the Notion Ink Adam), or are simply missing (the HP Slate, the WeTab nee WePad, the Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid, the ExoPC).

We’ll certainly be happy to cover the e-reading experience on any tablet-style device. The problem is, there just aren’t that many to choose from right now.


  1. Be patient. They are coming. There is already a 10.2″ Android 2.1 tablet available on e-bay for $299. Last month, there were only 7″ models (those have fallen from $200 to $49 …!). The industry is on track to release a number of 1st, 2nd and 3rd tier units in time to have stores well stocked for October. The models available today are somewhat under-powered so they’ll have a somewhat shaky start but once the industry gels a bit more, there will be a lot of choice heading into 2011.

  2. I have no doubt that they are coming. It is a brand spanking new market.

    However what people should take from this slow response to the iPad is that this is a VERY difficult thing to create. It’s not just an incredible hardware creation but the magic is in the software and UI. Competitors aiming at bolting XP or W7 or another normal desktop OS onto a tablet are now realising that it just won’t work. The tablet is not just a small laptop – Apple have introduced a completely new simplified way of interacting with the device and users love the simplicity.
    There are too many techies obsessed with multitasking, printer interfaces, file management etc etc etc… they lose the wood for the trees.

  3. A decent new entry (although ti requires a bit of fine-tuning) is the Pandigital Novel. More than decent 7-inch touchscreen LCD eReader than can be easliy turned into an Android tablet. Performance is a bit underwhelming, but firmware updates are solving issues pretty quickly. And for the price (under $120 with a 20% off coupon – not a typo!) you can’t really go wrong with one.

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