Posted on 27th February 2013
It all started with the 7" tablets, the smaller versions of the traditional 10" tablets, and from there more variants of the tablet size and design were spawned. Then Asus jumped in with the PadFone, a smartphone that could dock into a 10.1" screen creating a smartphone that could turn into a tablet. But at MWC 2013, there have been a couple more entrants, so here's the complete list of what's new in tablets.
Most people have heard of the 7" tablets, such as the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD. They're super light and easy to carry around, without cutting back on specs - the Nexus 7 still packs a quad core processor after all.
There really is now a divide between the cheaper examples of smaller tablets (above) and the full on high powered, feature packed 8" tablets. Don't let the size confuse you, 8" tablets are every bit as portable as 7" tablets, it's just that the two tablets that make up this category, the iPad mini and the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, have screens of 7.9" and 8" respectively. They are the premium smaller tablets, with processing power, built in apps and screen quality that's right up there with the best. They cost a bit more than the 7" tablets, but you do get more functionality and quality.
This is what started it all off, the most typical example being the iPad (although technically that has a 9.7" screen, but it's very close to the 10.1" size of the Android and Windows tablets). These are often the premium tablets, with the most power and best build qualities, although there are now great budget examples, such as the Archos Titanium 80.
The brand new PadFone Infinity was recently announced, and at the Asus stand at MWC we had a look at the new beauty. The phone has proper flagship specs - 5" 1080p screen, quad core processor, 4G connectivity - and it has an equally high spec dock, the PadFone Infinity Station. The smartphone slides into the back of the screen and gives you a top of the range tablet. Prices are looking expensive, but considering the highest of high spec is on offer, that's to be expected. Plus, if you were buying a high end smartphone and a high end tablet, plus to monthly data packages to give both devices internet access, the PadFone Infinity could actually save you a couple of hundred pounds. Well worth considering.
We spent a bit longer at the Asus stand and saw something totally different. The Fonepad (be careful not to confuse it with the PadFone) is a 7" tablet that has the functionality of a smartphone in that you can make calls on it. So, if a Samsung Galaxy Note isn't big enough for you, there's a new option to go large.
While the word keyboarded might have just been made up by Carphone Warehouse in Barcelona, we've seen plenty of tablets with sliding or detachable keyboards. There are options for both Android and Windows and for productivity, you still can't beat a keyboard with physical buttons. The purpose keyboards are in many ways superior to Bluetooth keyboards as they look better, often act as a case or cover, and can even give tablets extra battery life.
Like what you've seen? We're currently expanding our tablet line up like no one else in the UK, so head over to our tablet section to see what's available.
For the latest rumours and tech gossip, head over to our Launchpad