CES 2011: Lots of Tablets, EVO Shift 4G, & HP/Palm Rise from the Dead

It’s CES time, and that means one thing: lots and lots consumer electronics. While not necessarily Apple, this is a time where many competitors to different iProducts are shown.

International CES

Probably the central item of this year’s tradeshow is the tablet: I estimate that there are around a dozen different tablets that have been announced today (day 1 of CES), running anything in between stock Android and Windows 7.

Read on for a recap of today’s highlights at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show!

One of the more interesting tablets happens to be a Core i5 beast: the Asus Eee Slate EP121, which features an IPS display, a Core i5 processor, and boasts the ability to use a Wacom stylus for input, something that is useful for drawing diagrams and such. Also nice is the starting price: $1,000, which is a whole lot cheaper than I would have thought it would be. Asus is also taking the time to show off two tablet computers with built-in keyboards, which are fairly interesting as well: they will run on a Tegra 2 chip, and host Google’s unannounced ’Honeycomb’ Android 3.0 operating system. These two little guys are the Eee Pad Slider and the Eee Pad Transformer. The keyboards act as a dock of sorts, and besides just adding some heft and a keyboard, they double as an external battery pack. Nifty, eh?

Preceding these announcements, though, is a form factor that was shown off at last year’s show, but quickly turned into vaporware: the Lenovo LePad and the IdeaPad U1 Hybrid. The interesting part about these two is that the LePad is an Android-based tablet (running 2.2, for those of you keeping track), and that the U1 Hybrid is, more or less, a dock station with keyboard and touchpad, as well as a Core i5, that allows for Windows to be run on the LePad when in place. The LePad runs a skinned version of Android — yes, it’s LeOs… LeSigh — which is powered by a 1.3 GHz Snapdragon processor.

Another Android smartphone is hitting Sprint soon, and it goes by the name of the HTC EVO Shift 4G. While the name is… erm, questionable, the hardware looks to be pretty solid. Running HTC’s Sense UI atop Android 2.2, a full slide-out QWERTY, and 800 MHz Snapdragon processor, and (of course) 4G support.

On the HPalm side of things, they’ve got something small to announce. And something big. And even something beyond. What does that sound like? A small, ‘teen’ phone, along with some kind of larger device (think of it as a high-end competitor), and they may even throw in a tablet. What’s that? The first truly compelling all-purpose tablet since the iPad? Why yes, yes it is! Everything is set to go down February 9th (which may or may not be right after an iPad 2 announcement), and will take place in an event in San Francisco.

Should be interesting to watch; after all, Palm was one of the first to offer an OS experience on par (and some would argue beyond) that of iOS, though their hardware was always lacking, and they seemed to perpetually be on the brink of bankruptcy. Most of that changed when they were purchased by HP in summer of 2010. Hopefully they’ve been putting the buckets of cash that HP could throw their way to good use!

And that’s the end of the first day of CES 2011. Tomorrow should be even more chaotic interesting, as Microsoft will have their annual press event, along with a nonstop torrential downpour of device announcements.

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