2011 was the first year that the iPad finally had some competition. The top competition came from fire-sale pricing, cool factors and innovation.
Although the iPad 2 was the most popular review for the entire year, the following tablets received honors for trying, pricing and other factors:
Wireless and Mobile News' Hottest Tablet of 2011
We called the HP TouchPad the "tablet that would not die." It's fire-sale pricing was so hot that after HP blew out the 16GB models for $99 and the 32GB models for $149, the tablets showed up on eBay for higher prices. Employees then depleted the TouchPad stock and retailers used the low-priced tablets as promotions to HP computer buyers.
Wireless and Mobile News' Coolest Tablet of 2011
Although the stock was low and only a few lucky preorderers were able to get an Asus Transformer Prime quad-core tablet in time for Christmas. The cool factors of the Asus Transformer Prime are its docking keyboard that transforms the tablet into metal clad notebook and it is the first quad-core tablet on earth. It is so popular preorders were sold-out because full stock is delayed until January 2012
Wireless and Mobile News' Most Gifted-Promoted Tablet
The Kindle Fire although its name should make it hot, Amazon's aggressive pricing and marketing made it the top seller on Amazon this year. The Kindle Fire works as a Amazon.com "cash register" to fuel Amazon Sales. Although plagued with a clunky user-interface and the lack of high-end features, the operating system has been updated with improvements. Kindle Fire sales are predicted to beat all other tablets in 2012.
Wireless and Mobile News' Carrier-Supported Best Deal Tablet
When Verizon Wireless for Black Friday reduced the price of the Motorola Xoom down to $199, it sold like HP TouchPads. It was first time we saw large 10.1" tablet with 4G LTE cost less than $200. When it was originally launched the Motorola Xoom had a faster processor than the original iPad. The Motorola Xoom received good reviews and there are some neat tips and tricks for it. After the sale the price went up to $299 with a contract, we'll keep watching to see if it returns.
The best part of deal was that the Motorola Xoom has 4G and 3G data and will be upgraded to Android 4.0 Gingerbread when it comes out. Because Google now owns Motorola, you can be sure that the Xoom will continue to be supported. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich combines tablet and smartphone functions and adds advanced features to Android such as face unlock, multitasking and ability for tablets to use smartphone apps in a smaller windows (see all features).
Wireless and Mobile News' Most Durable to Those Who Like to Surf or Sing in the Rain Tablet
Verizon Wireless sells Motorola Xyboard tablets that can withstand water pouring over them, as well as scratches. Buyers of data contracts get a $50 discount. For a limited time only, buyers of the Droid RAZR receive $100 off a Droid Xyboard tablet and $50 off select Motorola accessories.
Wireless and Mobile News' Best Rated But Not Best Buy Tablet
Wireless and Mobile News' Most Meh Tablet of the Year
The BackBerry PlayBook didn't get much media-play until the Black Friday/Weekend blow-out sale for $199.99. The 7-inch (1024 x 600) touchscreen tablet runs the new BlackBerry Tablet OS on a 1GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM. The PlayBook supports Wi-Fi and Flash. It weighs less than one pound.