The announcement and subsequent release of Apple's "Jesus tablet" has set the portable touchscreen computer market on fire. Manufacturers are scrambling to release devices, wanting to get in on the tablet craze while it's still hot.
While many companies have poured money and resources into developing tablets, few have successfully launched their products in the consumer market place.
Tablets such as HP's Slate, the ExoPC slate, Lenovo's IdeaPad U1 Hybrid Notebook, and Neofonie's Android-powered WeTab are all currently in limbo - somewhere between concept and launching to the public - while others such as Microsoft's Courier seemed like fantastic ideas at the time, but never quite made it to market.
Here are some of the best e-readers available to buy now:
The iPad is Apple's "most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device." The 9.7" touchscreen tablet lets you surf the web, send emails, look at photos and videos, listen to music, read and download books, access around 140,000 applications available on the App Store and much, much more.
Price: from $499 for the 16GB WiFi model up to $829 for the WiFi & 3G 64GB model.
US-based company Axiotron pioneered the Mac-powered tablet back in 2007. The Modbook runs on Mac OS-X and is a powerful, multitasking pressure-sensitive device made for professionals. Users can write directly on the screen with the built-in handwriting recognition software, create complex drawings with the Wacom Penabled digitizer, and most of all they can use their tablet as if it was a regular MacBook.
Price: from $899 (with a customer-supplied MacBook base system) or $1849 for a Modbook that includes the complete 2.13GHz Macbook Base System.
Archos 7 Home Tablet
The Archos 7 Home Tablet is a mid-sized connected touchscreen device that fits in the market between a smartphone and a laptop. The 7" touchscreen device is big enough for movie watching and at 12mm thin is also portable enough to slip in your bag when you head out for the day. The Android-powered tablet comes in 2GB and 8GB versions and is equipped with WiFi, social-networking applications, onboard MP3 and movie player, and can be completely customized with a host of compatible Android applications.
Price: €149, $199.
Archos 9 PCtablet
French electronics maker Archos was well ahead of Apple when they released a slick-looking internet tablet dubbed "the Netbook of the future" in late 2009. The ultra-light tablet is designed for on-the-go computing, full HD video watching, web browsing, video chatting and emailing. The Archos 9 PCtablet comes with an 8.9" LED resistive touch-sensitive screen and is just 17mm wide. The device runs Microsoft Windows 7 and has an Atom 1.2 GHz processor, a 60 to 120 GB hard drive and comes with optional 3G connectivity.
Price: €500, $550.
Toshiba Libretto W100
The Toshiba Libretto W100 is the world's first dual 7.0-inch LCD tablet. The Libretto W100 tablet runs the full version of Microsoft's Windows 7 and packs in a 1.2GHz Intel Pentium processor, two touch-sensitive 7.0 inch wide LED LCDs, 2GB of memory, a one megapixel webcam, and around 2 hours of battery life with a standard battery pack or 4 hours with a high-capacity battery pack. The tablet is set to be released in limited quantities towards the end of August.
Price: $1,099 (yet to be confirmed by Toshiba)
The JooJoo (a tablet formally known as the CrunchPad) is a sleek, streamlined, portable touchscreen device that remains wrapped in controversy after a high profile public airing of dirty laundry. Legal disputes aside, the tablet has built-in support for Flash, a refined appearance, a 12.1 inch screen, and is optimized for web browsing.
Price: €359.00, $499.00
Dell Latitude XT2 XFR
The Dell Latitude XT2 XFR is the smallest 12.1" rugged convertible tablet PC available on the market and the first rugged convertible tablet to incorporate a multitouch display. The system can withstand knocks, moisture and dust and is built for people working in the military, law enforcement, field service and at on-site locations that need a laptop that adapts to the toughest environmental conditions.
Price: from $3,700
The Dell Streak is a 5-inch (12.5-centimeter) screened, Android-powered device brings web browsing, multi-tasking, turn-by-turn navigation, and media-rich content to the miniaturized tablet format. Specifications include a multi-touch WVGA (800x480) display, a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon ARM-based processor, a 5 MP autofocus camera with dual LED flash plus a front-facing camera for video chat, 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, and support for up to 32GB of memory via Micro SD cards.
Price: £399 or free on a 24 month data or voice contract in the UK.