Ditching the keyboard

Finding tablet computers in Juneau
Andrea Benner, an GCI employee in their training and development department, looks over a Motorola Xoom tablet computer, one of two models sold at their Juneau retail store.

Tablet computers are expected to outsell notebook computers during the holiday season this year.


Tablet vendors are predicted to ship more than 21 million units in the final three months of 2012, according to a NPD DisplaySearch forecast.

Though not the first tablet-type computer, the market was kick-started by the highly successful Apple iPad. In its fourth generation, the iPad has been joined by many manufacturers and operating systems in the burgeoning tablet computer market.

Major OS players range from Amazon’s Kindle Fire to Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and Mircosoft’s new Windows RT and Windows 8.

Juneau businesses are on top of this new trend and offer a wide array of tablet computers. Companies like GCI and AT&T offer tablets with cellular and broadband wireless data connections, while other stores offer Wi-Fi only versions.

GCI has two locations in Juneau. It offers the Motorola Xoom 10.1 inch tablet with broadband data. The Xoom uses Google’s Android operating system.

Below is a summary of some of the many products on the market and where shoppers might find them:

AT&T offers the entry-level Pantech Element tablet with broadband data for $349.99 with a two-year contract. For a more advanced tablet experience AT&T offers the ASUS Vivo Tab with runs Window’s new RT operating system. With rebates and a two-year broadband data contract the Vivo costs $499.99. A recent addition to AT&T’s tablet stable is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 inch tablet running the Android OS. This make of tablet can be found all over Juneau, but AT&T offers it with a broadband data package. A Tab 2 can be added to an existing plan for $299.99.

AT&T also offers the much-sought-after Apple iPad. An iPad with two-year broadband data contract costs between $530 and $780 depending on style and memory – 16 gigabytes up to 64GB.

Office Max has a slew of tablets on display.

The Amazon Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD runs Amazon’s proprietary Kindle Fire OS system. The seven-inch Kindle Fire HD runs $199 for the 16GB version and $249 for 32GB. Office Max offers the Kindle Fire for $159. Kindle Fire at Office Max is Wi-Fi only.

Another Wi-Fi only tablet on offer is the ASUS Transformer 300 and 600 10.1 inch tablet computers. The Transformer runs Android OS and costs $399 for the 32GB version.

Office Max also carries the 10.1-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. The 16GB tablet runs $299.99 after a $100 rebate.

Google regularly works with device manufacturers to develop tablets and smartphones that reflect the clean basic features of the Android operating system. The Nexus class of devices come in 4-inch range smart phone, seven-inch tablet and 10-inch tablet. Office Max carries the Nexus 7 by ASUS. The seven-inch runs Android 4.1 Jellybean and costs $209 for the 16GB version.

Costco sells the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 in both the seven-inch and 10.1-inch versions. With an instant rebate the 10.1-inch tablet costs $299 with the seven-inch version running $179.

While Alaska Communications does not sell a tablet computer, it does carry Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2, a large-screen smartphone running the Android OS.

Fred Meyer carries the Wi-Fi only version of Apple’s latest version of the iPad, the iPad 4. The 10.1-inch tablet running iOS costs between $499 and $699 depending on memory – 16GB, 32GB and 64GB.

The retailer offers Amazon Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD seven-inch tablets that cost $159 and $199 respectively. It also offers Barnes and Noble’s seven-inch Nook tablet. The 8GB tablet with SD memory expansion slot costs $159.

Tablet shoppers can find the ASUS Nexus 7 tablet for $199 for the 16GB version and $249 for 32GBs of memory at Fred Meyer. It also carries the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 seven-inch for $249.99 and the 10.1-inch for $399.99.

Apple’s newest addition to its tablet stable, the iPad mini, can be found at Walmart. A 64GB Wi-Fi iPad 4 costs $599 for the 32GB version and $699 for the 64GB. Connect to the Internet all over town with the iPad 3 with 4G data connection and 32GB of memory for $679. A hundred dollars more buys the 64GB version.

Walmart also offers the Barnes and Noble Nook HD for $299 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 Wi-Fi only for $349 for the 10.1-inch and $199 for the seven-inch tablet. A seven-inch ASUS Nexus 7 running Android with 16GB of memory costs $249.

There are more makes and models of tablet computers for sale around Juneau. Visit store locations for the most up-to-date prices and deals.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.


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