Eee Pad, WeTab, S-Pad, WindPad and TouchPad: how the rivals are lining up to take on Apple's tablet

It's based around a 1.66gHz Atom processor with 1GB of RAM, the 16GB of onboard storage can be supplemented using SD cards, and there are two USB ports along with Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth and GPS.

Meanwhile Asus, the makers of those very inexpensive Eee PC netbooks, has shown two EeePad tablets in the run-up to Computex. The larger Eee PadEP121 has a 12in screen, is powered by a power-efficient Intel Core 2 Duo processor, and runs Windows 7 Home Premium, meaning it can handle standard Windows software, not to mention multitasking.

Asus Eee Pad EP121

Hanvon's TouchPad

Hanvon's TouchPad

Two models will be available, both with 10.1in touchpanels and 1024x600-pixel resolution. The B10 model will have a 120GB hard drive, 1.3megapixel webcams front and back, and will run Windows XP.

While it's expected that these domestically-made products will be more expensive on the Chinese market than the current unofficial iPads available there, at around 6000yuan, or just over £600, it's expected to be less expensive than the official Apple models when they start arriving in China.

And content deals are falling into place involving some of the world's biggest consumer electronics companies: Sony's deal with Google is expected to be the first step in a process to create Android-based products, and the establishment of a content-delivery service such as that recently set-up in the US to provide movies, games and books to such products.

Sony will launch a similar service back home in Japan next year, and has already signed up Japanese telecoms country KDDI, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper and book publisher Toppan.

In Korea, it's thought LG Display is planning a partnership with iRiver; it already supplies E-Ink displays for iRiver's Story e-book reader.
And Taiwan's Acer is also getting into the content game, partnering with giant US bookseller Barnes & Noble and in Germany, and looking to do similar deals in France and Italy. It's already planning to sell its LumiRead device, with a 6in E-Ink display, at prices expected to be less than £150.

As well as e-book capability, the LumiRead will also allow web browsing and content display via a wireless network link.

It seems that it's not just the form-factor of the iPad that's likely to be under attack from rivals offering extended capability: the wider consumer electronics industry seems to have adopted the Apple model that while attractive products will sell, content is king.

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.