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A leaked picture has lent credence to rumors about an upcoming mini counterpart to Asus' 10-inch Transformer Prime. It's still unclear whether there will be one or two 7-inch devices with speculation surrounding both a 7-inch Transformer Prime and a refresh to last year's Eee Pad Memo. Regardless, the grapevine is convinced at least one or perhaps an amalgamation of the two will debut during this year's Consumer Electronics Show.
Published by Notebook Italia, the picture reveals a tablet with similar aesthetics to the Transformer Prime and less so of the Memo, which has a bulkier bezel. That particular site is convinced the mini Transformer will be a separate device, though it doesn't have any specifications besides those dictated by common sense: a hardware keyboard attachment, Android (presumably Ice Cream Sandwich), and an affordable price ($299ish).
Notebook Italia believes the revamped Eee Pad Memo will carry a 1280x800 capacitive display, a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 16GB to 64GB of integrated flash memory, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, as well as Ice Cream Sandwich being a distinct possibility at launch. Additional details are sparse, but considering its name, it's probably safe to assume the device will support pen input accompanied by handwriting software.
Asus' products will compete with countless other second-gen units in the 7 and 10-inch form factors. Unfortunately, it seems little has changed from last year's landscape. The market should be slightly less cluttered with some PC makers focusing on Ultrabooks instead of tablets, but the first half of 2012 is bound to be dominated by Apple's iPad and Amazon's Kindle Fire with an array of marginally successful Android devices.
The BlackBerry PlayBook features a 7-inch display with 1024 x 600 pixel resolution. The sides of the PlayBook are coated with a soft-touch rubber that has a quality feel and provides some grip. A 3.5mm headphone jack is present as well, on the bottom of the tablet are three ports: micro-HDMI, micro-USB, and a three pin accessory dock connector.
Amazon sent a wave crashing through the mobile industry when it announced its Kindle Fire would land with a price of $199. This is likely the best value in a tablet on the market, and will make tablet computing accessible to many people that either couldn't afford an iPad or couldn't tolerate Honeycomb tablets.
The iPad 2 improves on the original in many ways, including a significantly faster dual-core CPU, improved graphics and a thinner footprint. The iPad 2 also manages to shave off 0.2 pounds for a total weight of 1.33 pounds on the Wi-Fi only model. Apple has included two cameras on the iPad 2 – a VGA-quality front facing lens for FaceTime and a rear-facing camera capable of recording 720p video.
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