In the long shadow of the mountain of similar tablets revealed at CES, two devices that stood out by bringing some much needed innovation to the mix were new products from Asus and NEC.
Starting with Asus' Eee Pad MeMo, the smallest entry in its long rumored and finally unveiled Eee Pad family brings some very impressive base specs to the table, with a 7-inch 1024×600 IPS LCD capacitive touch screen, one of those new 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon 8260 CPUs we've been hearing about, Android 3.0 Honeycomb, 512MB RAM, 8 to 64GB inbuilt storage, GPS, b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, and 3G connectivity, microUSB, headphone-out, and HDMI ports, microSD support, a 4400mAh battery, a rear-facing 5MP camera with LED flash, and a 1.2MP front facing webcam. But the standout feature is definitely the fact that the tablet supports pressure sensitive input using the specially included rubber tipped metal stylus. Achieving something previously only available on resistive touch screens, the MeMo provides the best of both worlds with responsive finger friendly touch performance as well as optional use of the stylus for quick note taking and some impressive drawing and painting features using the included Painter app. The Asus Eee Pad MeMo should be available in June for between $499 to $699 depending on spec.
Moving on to NEC, as expected the company kept its word of bringing its dual-screened LifeTouch Android tablet to the CES party, with the full name being the NEC Cloud Communicator LT-W. Featuring a very minimalist design dominated by the twin 7-inch resistive touch screen displays, the unusual device is powered by a Cortex-A8 processor and has 384MB RAM, 1GB local storage expandable via SDHC card, Android 2.1, b/g WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, about 5 hours worth of battery life, and a 3MP camera.
As promised, the device is able to make use of its two screens in a number of interesting ways including running certain apps across both displays, and running and displaying two separate apps on each screen. Although an impressive device from a hardware and conceptual standpoint, some concerns have been raised regarding the practical use and ergonomics of the Cloud Communicator with the folding design being a bit awkward to simultaneously hold and use, but you can't fault NEC for lack of innovation. With the device looking like an early model, release details and pricing have so far not been released.
With tablets set to flood the market throughout this year, it will be essential for companies to try and differentiate their products through unique hardware and software features. These new products from Asus and NEC are just two good examples of going a bit beyond the ordinary to catch the attention of consumers, and I hope we will see a lot more innovative and unique tablets in the months to come![Liliputing 1 & 2]