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Tablets: your next computer is your site for tablet computer news, reviews and deals. Tablets are the next computing wave - more portable and easier to use than a laptop, more computing power and features than a smartphone, with an intuitive touchscreen interface. There are lots of reasons why tablets are cool.  Is this the ideal product for you?

What's so good about tablets?

Dell Streak tabletTablets are the new computers, TVs, media players, video phone, and web surfing devices, all rolled into one. Soon they will be your video phone, your in-car GPS, your game console, and even your daily newspaper.

There are all kinds of different types of tablet computers, from simple ebook readers to the consumer masterpiece Apple iPad to new dual touchscreen devices that rival your laptop for power. Anyone who is anyone in the technology world is getting into the tablet action, with BlackBerry trying to carve its own niche in the business tablet market.

Tablets have actually been around for a few years (no, Apple did not invent them). Previously called Tablet PCs or Tablet Computers, now they are more commonly just called "tablets" as they don't try to be like a poor version of your other devices. They should be appreciated for what they are, and the new possibilities for mobile fun and functionality that they provide.

The Apple iPad tablet

Apple iPad tabletApple's tablet computer is called the iPad, the first version of which went on sale in April 2010 and the second in early 2011. It has quickly become the tablet computer that most people would know, even though it is by no means the first tablet on the market. Various versions are available, with either WiFi connectivity or (in the more expensive models) both WiFi and 3G network access (4G where available). The current version, now just called iPad instead of iPad 3, went on sale in Australia in early 2012 with processor upgrades and the ultra hi resolution Retina display.

A Google tablet

After years of speculation, Google has entered the tablet market with its 7 inch tablet, the Nexus 7. Manufactured by Asus and made for Google Play (Google's version of iTunes), the Nexus 7 looks more like a direct competitor to the Kindle Fire than the iPad. Pricing is also closer to the Kindle, with the 8GB version starting at $249.

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The future

What will really kick tablet PCs into the mainstream is cloud computing, where you only need a browser and an internet connection in order to access all the computing power you used to get on a fully functioned laptop. cloud computingGoogle's Chrome OS and Open Office products, Apple's iCloud, and Microsoft's Office 365 are steps in this direction, as is HTML5 as a new standard for dynamic websites. Our prediction is that this trend will only accelerate from here.