Reports: Dell and Asus are making tablets

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Apple might look like a follower if Dell and Asus both launch Web tablets, as new reports suggest.

According to Pocket-Lint’s inside sources, Dell’s tablet will run Android and include a 5-inch touch screen for browsing the Web. No other details were given, but the sources said we’ll see the tablet at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, and it could even beat Apple’s rumored tablet to market.

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Asus, meanwhile, is planning an Eee Pad with a 4-inch to 7-inch screen, according to DigiTimes’ sources. The tablet is reportedly inspired by the rumors of Apple’s device, and will combine PC-like functions with simple Web browsing, but the sources revealed no other details.

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Apple’s tablet appears to be coming along. A recent note to investors from Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner said manufacturing is getting underway, with the tablet likely to arrive in March or April of 2010. Reiner said the device will include a 10.1-inch LCD screen, not an OLED display as some reports have suggested — and will have an average selling price of $1,000. The note also says book publishers are being offered 70 percent of e-book sales revenue, making the Apple tablet an attractive alternative to Amazon’s Kindle.

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There’s also the Joo Joo (pictured, above), a 12.1-inch Web tablet announced this week. It goes on pre-sale tomorrow for $500 and will ship next year.

With so many sizes and price ranges, and with an e-reader battle looming as well, 2010 is looking like the year of the tablet. That’s not to say the idea will take off — it never has in the past — but it should be a make-or-break year for the concept of a large, touch-screen, Web-connected device. Any bets on how it’ll pan out?

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