Top Five Tablets For 2013

 – top five tablet predictions for 2013

7-inch tablets Last year may have been the year of the dragon in the Chinese calendar – but it was also the year of the tablet.
The last 12 months has witnessed a slew of tablet highlights: Apple debuted its iPad mini, Amazon lit the touchpaper on its Kindle Fire HD, and the Google Nexus 7 proved that you can get a brilliant tablet without draining your wallet.
There were also the inevitable missteps.
Apple confounded customers by releasing two updates to its iPad lineage in quick succession, with the iPad 4 leaving many consumers frustrated as it followed closely on the heels of its iPad 3 launch. Microsoft’s Surface with Windows RT caused much head-scratching as it crammed a polarising twilight hybrid of Windows into a tablet form factor.
Yet 2012 saw tablets dominating headlines – and with an estimated 120 million tablets shifted in 2012, outselling the desktop PC market along the way, it isn’t hard to see why.
But, that was then! What of 2013? We’ve gazed into our crystal ball app, laid hands on our touchscreens and gazed into the future to see what 2013 holds for tablets, tablet technology, and whether the iPad mini will get a Retina display (clue: yes!).

1. Laptop tablet combos gain ground in 2013

Microsoft Surface RT
The Surface RT is Microsoft’s first tablet.
Tablet with a keyboard? Laptop with a touchscreen? Expect to see tablet and laptop makers experiment with hybrid laptop tablet combo solutions over the next 12 months as consumers demand the ease of use of a tablet coupled with the kinda-essential-to-get-work-done need for a physical keyboard.
The virtual keyboard on a tablet is all well and good if you want to peck out an email, but for sheer word churn you need something more suited to rapid-fire touch-typing.
But, with touchscreens and app stores making light work of interacting with apps, consumers are also in love with touchscreen interfaces to control their Angry Birds and photo collections. If only we could have both!
Microsoft Surface with Windows RT could herald the direction of tablet laptop combos in 2013, with detactable keyboard. Microsoft Windows 8 certainly benefits from a touchscreen interface, and the likes of the Asus Transformer tablets and Sony Vaio Duo 11 tablet are baby steps to more full fledged laptop tablet combos that could debut in the next 12 months.

2. Tablet? Smartphone? Both? 2013 is the year of the phablet

Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
While tablet and laptop makers start crafting cross-over solutions, the same alchemy is brewing hybrids between smartphones and tablets. Yep – 2013 could accelerate the unfortunately named ‘phablet’.
Expect to see more 5- and 6-inch smartphones that nudge up against established smaller tablets such as the iPad mini and Google Nexus 7, with the Samsung Galaxy Note II proving popular. It can show multiple windows, and while holding it to your ear holds the danger of making your head look small, phablets could prove to be the work and play go-to device of 2013.

3. A shoo-in: iPad mini gets Retina screen

There’s plenty of math around that says an Apple iPad mini with retina display is just too demanding in terms of battery power and processing grunt. But Apple does have an uncanny knack of delivering fairly powerful technology in a tiny tech bundle (just don’t mention Maps, or Siri).
With the iPad mini topping the list of must-have gadgets for 2012, Apple will want to cement its position in the small tablet market with an update to a Retina display. Expect a whopping 2048-by-1536 resolution display, A6X processor, and more record-breaking sales.
Launch date is anyone’s guess now that Apple has ripped up its annual cycle of updates, but rumours are hinting at a March 2013 release for an iPad mini with retina display.

4. Surface with Windows 8 miss the point in 2013

Despite its shortcomings, we quite liked the Surface with Windows RT tablet. Microsoft has tried to break into the Apple-Android stranglehold with something  unique, and the next 12 months will be critical for its tablet adventure.
First up, though, are tablets running the full-fat Windows 8 operating system. Working like touchscreen laptops with the keyboard ripped off, they’ll run Windows 8 and all the Windows 8 applications such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, and be capable of real work.
The trouble is, consumers have grown quite fond of lightweight tablet operating systems, and with the price-tag rumoured to be on the high side, the jury’s out on whether Windows 8 in tablet form is what the market wants or maybe that Microsoft may have missed the point.

5. The longshot: haptic feedback goes touchy-feely in 2013

The terrible trouble with touchscreens is they’re all a bit flat. Our fingers have nerves for a reason! But, glass surfaces on tablets don’t let us – literally – feel our way around the interface.
All that could change in 2013. Enter haptic feedback. Expect a few tablets to debut in 2013 (we’re looking at you, Apple iPad 5) that add haptic feedback, using on-screen vibrations to provide a tactile sensation directly to your fingertips when placed on the screen.
It could see touch-typing possible, or allow you to more intuitively push and pull objects across a screen. Whenever it does launch, we’ll be there to give you our hands-(fingers!)-on verdict as to if this is really the future of tablets and touch.