Starting this fall and stretching into early next year, big-name gadget and PC makers are readying their own touch-screen tablets to compete with Apple’s iPad, CNET reports. The big players in the developing tablet race will be familiar: They’re many of the same people who are tussling for consumers’ dollars and attention in the smart-phone realm. As with smart phones, choosing a touch-screen tablet will mean deciding between different operating systems: Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, Palm’s WebOS, Research In Motion’s BlackBerry, and Microsoft’s Windows 7—except, in some instances, without having to decide on a wireless carrier. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is emerging as a top rival to the iPad. Just officially unveiled at IFA Berlin, it’s an Android-based touch-screen tablet. At 7 inches, it’s smaller than the 9.7 inch iPad, and it’s also lighter. The specs include Android 2.2, Flash 10.1, 16GB or 32GB of memory, GPS, and a gyroscope, accelerometer, and a 3.2-megapixel camera, with autofocus and a flash. The biggest difference between the Galaxy Tab and the iPad is that you can buy the device only through a carrier—meaning there’s also a phone in the Galaxy Tab. The Toshiba Folio also debuted at IFA as an Android tablet. As with the iPad, you don’t have to buy it through a wireless carrier, but you do have the option for Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi and 3G. There’s a 10.1-inch multitouch screen, an Nvidia Tegra processor, stereo speakers, a 1.3-megapixel webcam, two USB ports, an SD card slot, an HDMI connector for sending video to other screens, Bluetooth communications, and 16GB of memory. Like the Galaxy Tab, it comes with Adobe Flash 10.1 and Android 2.2. Other iPad competitors include the Dell Streak, the HP Slate, and a rumored tablet from Research in Motion, called the Blackpad…

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Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura