IPhone this, iPhone that. There are other smartphones available, you know. This is from prolific Taiwanese manufacturer HTC and certainly gives Apple’s device a run for its money. It now runs Android 2.2 (also known as Froyo) and has all the features you’d expect from a smartphone: 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, camera (5MP) and more. It supports Adobe’s Flash platform and has a microUSB v2.0 for easy and quick PC connectivity. It, of course, takes advantage of the Android Market app store, which may lack the sheer number of apps that Apple’s version has but still offers enough to keep you occupied.
Dell isn’t just about beige computers in a box anymore. The 5-inch Streak is either a very big phone or a very small tablet, depending which way you lean. It’s a full-function 3G phone with IM and SMS/text capabilities and also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth installed. It has integration with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Gmail built in. Google integration continues with Google Maps, offering navigation and text-to-voice, turn-by-turn directions in Street View. The screen is made from something called Gorilla Glass, which is so strong that Dell claims it can withstand pretty much anything humans can throw at it.
Acer Aspire One D250
Many have predicted the death of netbooks due to the increasing popularity of tablets. But those of us preferring a real keyboard, more durable case and more at a much lower cost may well stick to these stripped-back laptops. This offering from Acer is a dual boot, meaning it runs two operating systems, Android and Windows 7. The Android OS is zippy – the system can boot in about 15 seconds. It lacks some of the apps that are available for the mobile space but we understand Android is working on that. In the meantime, you can switch over to the Windows OS (a cut-down version of 7) for all your productivity needs.
Samsung Galaxy Tab
Tablets are the hottest tech kit going at the moment. Apple, Research in Motion, Dell (see below left) and many more are leading the charge, and this 7-inch offering from Samsung is a worthy competitor to others on the market. It is, essentially, a bigger version of the Galaxy S smartphone. That raises the question of how well Android performs on a bigger device, and the answer is… quite well. There are a few things that need to be ironed out but this is a decent stab at it. The Galaxy Tab has a rear 3MP camera with flash and a front-facing 1.3MP camera, which along with 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity means there are plenty of options for making video and phone calls.
Barnes & Noble Nook eReader
EReaders are a hot topic. This device from the book shop giant sits alongside similar offerings from Amazon and Sony as well as tablets (see above) with eReader capabilities. The advantage standalone eReaders have over iPads is their use of electronic ink designed for reading text on-screen, reducing eye strain. The version of Android used on the Nook offers a web browser, games and improved performance when turning pages.