A tablet bridges the gap by doing more than a smartphone and less than a laptop. They make it easy to send email, edit documents, organize pictures, map out directions and watch videos.
Jeff Bailey with Verizon Wireless says that just about every smartphone manufacturer has a tablet computer on the horizon. However, there are features some have that others don't, which will help consumers decide which one of these is right for them.
Three of the most popular tablets are the Apple iPad, the Motorola Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy.
The Samsung Galaxy is the most portable, designed to be held in one hand. It is also the least expensive. However, it does has a small keyboard for typing, which might be difficult for someone with large fingers to use.
Motorola's Xoom tablet is the newest of the three and has the largest screen of any tablet on the market. It has a bigger keyboard and a dual core processor, which simply means you can easily multitask.
Both the Xoom and the Galaxy have front and rear-facing cameras.
The current incarnation of the iPad is ideal for organizing photos and music, watching videos and downloading applications.
Bailey says that a stay-at-home mom who organizes her kids' schedules and family photos and wants a device for the kids to play games on might lean toward the iPad. Meanwhile, a 45-year-old business man who travels and needs access to documents and spreadsheets might go for the Xoom or the Galaxy.
Considering more manufacturers are planning to release their version of tablet computers in the coming months, Paul Reynolds with Consumer Reports says consumers may want to consider waiting before they buy.
"Wait if [you] can to see what other models promise, both in terms of price and performance," he says.
One thing to remember is that the actual cost of the tablet computer is just the beginning: You also have to factor in the cost of a monthly wireless data plan. To learn more about buying a tablet computer, click here.
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