A tablet concept that could blow the iPad out of the water

MetaTrend Smartbook with keyboard and standWith a small army of tablets hitting stores before years end and first quarter in 2011, including a 2nd generation iPad to be released early next year, you would expect to be overwhelmed by the wealth of choice out there in the emerging tablet market.

You’d be wrong. Majority of tablets recently released are already flopping or floundering. See the Next tablet – yes the high street fashion store – the Toshiba Folio 100 – not even listed on the official Toshiba website and being recalled by major UK retailers – and the Samsung Galaxy Tab – The only major iPad competitor at the moment, however is unanimously considered to have uncompetitive pricing.

Some tablets are showing promise however, such as the Advent Vega – a very competively priced contender – and the RIM Playbook – aimed more at business men but considering the mass appeal of Blackberry smartphones I can’t see this doing badly. These two are but a few of the tens or even hundreds of tablets in design/development phases.

MetaTrend Institute have thought up their concept tablet, and it’s a good looking piece of kit! It features a 7″ tablet with an external keyboard. As you can see in the pictures you can use it as touchscreen tablet on the move, and for some more hardcore typing you can easily attach the keyboard via a magnet and stand the tablet up transforming it in to a netbook.

Typing on a MetaTrend smartbook

MetaTrend smartbook magnet closeup

One final ace in the hole that the MetaTrend Smartbook has over all other tablets is the keyboard, can be folded up and turned into a smartphone!

In fact the tablet performs the calling action, but is wirelessly connected to the keyboard-phone which is used for dialling and acts as the handset. This is an ingenious solution as holding a tablet to your ear will attract a few funny looks, and this solves the issues of even in today’s world the need to carry multiple devices with us.

MetaTrend Smartbook's keyboard-phone

Whether this goes into production or not, I feel many tablet designer/developers can take some lessons from this concept. However my one gripe with this is the 7″ screen size. I feel it is a strange size for a tablet, it’s not as portable as a smartphone, but not large enough for true web browsing and video viewing, but that’s just my opinion.

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