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Tablets Fragment Into Blurring Categories

The tablet category isn’t what it used to be – not that there is a “used to be” considering the category didn’t make a splash until six years ago with the launch of the first iPad.

Back in the day – a couple of years ago – the tablet category was simple enough, filled with 7- to 10-inch “slates,” some cheap, some premium. Today, tablets fall into a bunch of blurring categories, including enterprise-centric large-screen editions, slate tablets with optional attachable keyboard/covers, and two-in-one Windows touchscreen laptops with detachable full-sized keyboards.

Even touchscreen laptops with 360-degree fliparound keyboards act like tablets, though they aren’t officially considered tablets.

As the market shifts and diversifies, suppliers arrived in Las Vegas to get the word out about the niches they will fill. Here’s what they are showing on- and off-site:

Acer: The company is offsite unveiling two new tablets, the slate 8-inch Android Iconia One 8 at $99 and the Aspire Switch 12S, the latest in the company’s two-in-one detachable Windows 10 touchscreen notebook line. The Iconia One 8 runs Android 5.1, runs for 9 hours on a MediaTek quad-core processor, and includes 1GB RAM and 16GB internal storage expandable up to 128GB via a microSD slot.

Dell: At a Venetian Town Hospitality Suite, the company is showing new enterprise-bent slate tablets and non-detachable two-in-ones to supplement the consumer 2-in-1 models announced just before the holidays.

E Fun: In South Hall MP25061, three new Nextbook lines coming to retail in the second quarter will be demoed. They consist of the Nextbook Ares Android devices, which comprise 8- and 10.1-inch tablets and an 11.6-inch non-detachable two-in-one; new Nextbook Flexx Windows 10 two-in-ones in 8.9-, 10.1- and 11.6- inch sizes with detachable keyboards; and new Nextbook Windows 10 laptops, including an 11.6-inch and 14-inch convertible laptop and 14-inch laptop.

HP: At the Showstoppers and Pepcom events, HP is unveiling its Windows 10 HP Pavilion x2 12-inch two-in-one detachable. Its magnetic hinge makes it easy to separate the keyboard and screen but holds them together if the device is grabbed by the keyboard or screen.

The Pavilion will weigh 1.6 pounds and be 8.4mmthick. Behind and around the 12.6-inch Full HD display is either an Intel Atom or Core M3 processor with 128 to 265 SSD storage, USB 2 and 3, and a battery that lasts up to 8 hours. Configurations will run between $499 and around $1,000. It ships Feb. 7.

Samsung: At booth 11906, the company is unveiling a new unnamed (at press time) detachable 2-in-1 12-inch Windows 10 tablet at $899 with included keyboard. It’s designed to combine the benefits of its Galaxy Tab slate tablets and the benefits of a Windows laptop. The first Windows OS Super AMOLED (2,160 by 1,440) screen with Adaptive display technology, the ultra-thin device comes with a full-size keyboard and a trackpad, with an optional pen device available separately. Inside is 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

Sungale: At booth 21066, the company is unveiling the flat $179 8-inch Kitchen Screen, which sticks to the surface of a refrigerator via three magnets with a tail linked to the back of refrigerator for power and to charge its internal battery.

Toshiba: At Wacom’s Venetian Hospitality Suite 30459, Toshiba is announcing the availability of its detachable dynaPad, what the company claims is the world’s lightest 12-inch Windows detachable tablet. The dynaPad measures just 6.9mm (0.27 inches) thin and weighs 1.25 pounds. It includes digital inking/handwriting technology from Wacom and includes updated versions of Toshiba’s exclusive suite of Microsoft Office-compatible business applications.