We've been watching the thunderheads gather for months, and now the deluge is starting. The Android tablets are starting to drop. So where to begin? Well, it looks like the Galaxy Tab, which we've talked about before, has been confirmed for Verizon according to Boy Genius Report. Not a huge surprise but worth noting. Also ViewSonic has announced the ViewPad 7, a 7" tablet running Android 2.2. Endgadet has some details and they don't seem to be too impressed, suggesting it's a rebrand of an underpowered Android device called the OlivePad.
Archos continues to embrace Android in a big way. Yesterday they announced not one, not two, but five new Android 'tablets.' They range in size from a 2.8" screen (which is why I put tablets in quotes) to 10.1". All of them are running Android 2.2, but sadly, none of them have the Android Market included. Instead they'll be running Archos’ AppsLib. The top of the line Archos 101 has a 1 Ghz ARM Cortex A8 processor, a 10.1", 1024x600 capacitive touch screen, 720P video playback capability, HDMI out, front facing camera and a kickstand, all for $300. It should be out in mid-October. CrunchGear has a full rundown of all 5 models. Next up we have the Hannspree tablet. No, I'd never heard of them before yesterday either. The Hannspree runs Android 2.2 on a Tegra 2 ARM A9 dual-core 1GHz processor. Its 10.1" screen is once again 1024x600, and it'll ship with Flash 10.1 installed. It'll support 1080P video playback and has a micro HDMI port. It's supposed to go 8 hours on a charge, and will sell for around $500 (no ship date as of yet). Clearly aimed to take on the iPad head to head. Engadget has more details. Last (for now), Toshiba is throwing its hat in the Android ring with the Folio 100, another Tegra 2 based tablet. This one also has a 10.1", 1024x600 capacitive screen. Toshiba has opted (according to the leaks, anyway) for a full size HDMI port. The downside of this one is the weight: 1.7lbs. That's heavier than the iPad, which is already pretty hefty. It'll ship with Opera Mobile and Flash 10.1; this implies no Google, and thus no Android Market, which is a shame. Gizmodo has the details on this one. Expect more leaks and announcements as the start of the IFA show (Sept 3) grows ever nearer. After looking at all these examples of what's headed our way, my biggest concern is the lack of the Android Market on so many of them. This isn't as horrible as it may initially seem if you're used to iOS; after all you can normally install an .apk file from anywhere. But the Android Market makes finding, installing and updating apps much, much easier than the alternative of tracking things down on your own. I'm still waiting for my personal ideal Android tablet: a 10 inch screen, Android 2.2, a Tegra 2 processor and the full suite of Google apps and the Android Market. (Actually the Hannspree might fit that criteria if it has the Market on it; no word on that yet.) I have high hopes that I'll see just such a beast, from a name I know and trust, announced (with a firm ship date and price) by the middle of next week.