Buy a new tablet or wait? 4 hot tablets that might be coming this year

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Buy a new tablet or wait? 4 hot tablets that might be coming this year

Before you splash your hard-earned cash on a new tablet, is there something better on the way? Here are four hot tablets to watch out for later this year.

As the tablet market starts to mature, gadget makers are delivering more incremental upgrades than revolutionary new devices.
 
Where the focus was on thinner and lighter, it's now shifting towards smaller and cheaper - with the challenge to build great tablets which are cheap but not nasty.
 
If you simply must have a new tablet today then it's pretty hard to go past an Apple iPad or Google Nexus, each available with 7 or 10 inch screens. But if you can hold off, we'll see a few other great new tablets hit the shelves before the end of the year.
 
It's always a bit of a guessing game when it comes to working out when new gadgets will be announced, but here's some we think might be worth waiting for over the next few months.
 

1. iPad Mini 2

 
 
The next iPad mini may well be thinner and more powerful, but the big question is whether the iPad mini 2 will feature a sharper "Retina" display like its big brother. If it does, will Apple keep the standard iPad mini 1 as a budget model or scrap it completely? We should know the answers by Christmas.
 
Personally I'm still happy with my non-Retina iPad 1. But, if your eyes are familiar with the full-sized Retina iPad, then you're probably frustrated by the lower resolution on the iPad mini and a Retina model would be a welcome upgrade.
 
If Apple can't deliver a Retina model then I won't get excited about a faster, thinner iPad mini 2. No-one is complaining the that first iPad mini is too slow and fat (which is how I remember feeling when the non-Retina iPad 2 was launched).
 
The non-Retina iPad 2 hung around after the release of the sharper iPad 3 and iPad 4, the latter of which is now simply known as "iPad with Retina display". Apple still sells the iPad 2, although you need to dig to find it on the website. Considering the growing threat from great budget Android tablets like the Nexus 7, Apple will be tempted to hang onto the non-Retina models so it can compete with Android on price - or else simply slash the price of the new iPad models.
 

2. Nexus 7 2.0

 
 
To be honest this is the one I'm most interested in, just to see what Google can possibly do to make the Nexus 7 Mark 2 better than the original.
 
The Nexus 7 was announced 12 months ago this week, but it still sets the standard for 7-inch Android tablets in terms of performance and price. We should hear about its successor in the next few weeks.
 
The original's most glaring omission is the lack of a rear camera, which is likely to be added in the Nexus 7 2. The ability to document jobs with photos and videos could make the new Nexus 7 a great option for mobile workers. Entertainment lovers would perhaps prefer to see a microSD slot for storage expansion, but that's less likely.
 
There's talk of the next Nexus 7 sporting a 1980x1200 resolution display and the same insanely powerful Qualcomm processor found in the Galaxy S4, which would really put the pressure on Apple to deliver an iPad mini with Retina display. Support for LTE mobile broadband is also likely.
 
I'd say the real reason to get excited about the Nexus 7 2 is that it will be first to get new versions of Android and might even be the first device to ship with Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. If you want to be on the Android cutting edge, this is the tablet to wait for - hopefully we'll know more by the end of July.
 

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab 3

 
 
If you're after a tablet with all the added extras then Samsung's Galaxy Tab 3 is the one to watch, with 8 and 10.1-inch models coming to Australia "later this year".
 
Whether it's tablets, smartphones or home entertainment gear, Samsung's big selling point is exclusive apps and content deals. Right now Samsung's Plus7, Quickflix and Foxtel Go video apps are Android exclusives, although the last two still aren't available for the flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone so hopefully they'll be available on the new Galaxy Tab 3. Content-lovers will also appreciate that the Galaxy Tabs feature a microSD card slot to expand their storage capacity, unlike Google's Nexus devices.
 
The addition of faster LTE mobile broadband will make the Galaxy Tab 3 more useful on the go, although I'm still waiting for Samsung to come good on its promise to turn its NFC-enabled devices into Visa PayWave credit cards.
 
The real show stopper for me and most power users is the talk of a generous 1.5GB of RAM, granting the Galaxy Tab 3 exceptional multitasking abilities. It will also be one of the few Android devices to  pack an Intel chip - delivering the grunt to drive graphics-intensive games (handy if you take long business trips). If you're after the multimedia all-rounder then Samsung's Galaxy Tab 3 is the one to keep an eye on.
 

4. Acer Iconia W3 8-inch Windows 8 tablet

 
 
This isn't here to make up the numbers; I'm actually really keen to see what Microsoft's Windows 8 can do when it embraces the small tablet form factor.
 
The Surface tablets and Windows Phone 8 smartphones are pretty slick, but Microsoft has given Apple and Android such a massive head start that I'm naturally reluctant to jump ship. A small and affordable 7 or 8-inch Windows tablet would offer the perfect chance to dip my toe into the modern Windows ecosystem.
 
Acer has announced the 8.1-inch, 1280x800 pixel Acer Iconia W3, which should go on sale in the US in the next few weeks. A 7-inch model was also spotted at a recent trade show.
 
I'd be more interested in something like this Acer, running a full version of Windows 8 Pro, than I would be in a smaller Surface RT or Surface Pro from Microsoft. The RT is too limited, while the Pro is too expensive, but a small third-party Windows 8 tablet might be just right. The ability to tap into the Office cloud ecosystem is tempting, especially as the new Office for iOS is so underwhelming.
 
If you live a Microsoft-centric desktop lifestyle but you've been reluctant to turn your back on Apple and Android mobile gadgets, this could be what you've been waiting for.
 
 
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