As you've undoubtedly heard, 2010 is being hailed as the year of the tablet PC (yes, again). That may come as a shock considering the fact that very few big-name tablets are currently available and forthcoming works are mostly shrouded in secrecy. Unless you follow tech news closely, you're probably only familiar with Apple's iPad which launched this weekend and perhaps HP's Slate that was showcased during this year's CES.

While the market might seem barren, there are a handful of options currently or soon-to-be available. Analysts predict dozens of companies will pile into the market with similar devices of every shape, color and creed – ARM alone expects its chips to appear in over 50 tablets this year. Such an upwelling begs the question: Are tablets here to stay, or will the bubble burst in 2011 as quickly as it's growing in 2010?

No matter the answer, tablets are coming, and many of you seem to have your credit cards ready. With that in mind, we've charted out seven of today's most popular slates, complete with available specifications, pricing, and availability. Naturally, the data is subject to change as many of these have yet to reach stores, but it's a starting point for narrowing down your purchase.

  Apple iPad Archos 9 JooJoo HP Slate Notion Ink Adam Dell Mini 5 MSI Tablet
Operating System iPhone OS Windows 7 Starter Proprietary Linux Windows 7 Home Premium Android Android Android
Display 9.7" 1024x768 IPS 8.9" 1024x600 12" 1366x768 10" 10" 1024x600 5" 800x480 10"
Processor and Graphics Apple A4 Intel Atom Z515 Intel Atom N270 + Nvidia Ion Intel Atom Z530 Nvidia Tegra 2 Qualcomm Snapdragon Nvidia Tegra 2
Storage 16GB-64GB 60GB 4GB 32GB-64GB 16-32GB SD Flash Memory N/A
Wireless Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G (optional) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Other Connectivity Dock connector     Dock connector, multi-card reader HDMI N/A N/A
GPS Yes (3G only) No No N/A Yes Yes N/A
USB No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Battery Life 10 hours 4.5 hours 5 hours 5 hours Longer than iPad N/A N/A
Camera No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Multitouch Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Multitask No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Flash Support No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
App Marketplace iTunes No No No Android Market Android Market Android Market
Weight 680-730g 900g 1100g 670g 600-650g N/A N/A
Price $500-$830 $550 $500 $550-$600 $330-$800 N/A $500
Availability Now Now Now Q2 2010 Summer 2010 2H 2010 Late 2010

The Apple iPad is undoubtedly the most popular tablet right now and despite its shortcomings, the device has numerous things going for it. Running the proven iPhone OS, it's backed by a swarm of dedicated developers and most existing iPhone applications are compatible with the iPad.

The Archos 9 and JooJoo are also available now, and both are entirely different beasts. The Archos runs an Atom processor and Windows, while the JooJoo is powered by proprietary Linux software and features an Nvidia Ion graphics chip along with a 12-inch 1366x768 display for media playback.

It doesn't take an expert to see that neither of these is half as attractive as the iPad. In this sense, most folks are waiting for HP to challenge Apple with the Slate, and that seems to be shaping up nicely if you're looking for a more traditional computing experience in a tablet form-factor. The Notion Ink Adam is another polished contender with its low starting price, lengthy battery, and other desirable niceties. We'll certainly be looking forward to this and other alternatives in the reborn tablet market.

If you currently own or are interested in a specific tablet, let's hear about why it meets your needs better than competing solutions.