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Meet the New Slates

IPadAir-Diamond(LockScreen)-PRINTJust when you got used to the old iPads, a new generation of Apple’s tablets comes along. It’s been worth the wait because the next-generation iPad takes slates to new heights of mobility. Called iPad Air, it is available in silver or gray and continues with its 9.7-inch screen, although this one has a Retina display that can show 2,048 by 1,538 resolution and respond to 10 individual touch inputs. The iPad Air is powered by an Apple A7 processor, has cameras front and back as well as the one-two communications punch of 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.

 At 1-pound, the Air slate is roughly the same size as the old one, but only 0.3-inches thick and it weighs a pound. Unfortunately, like its earlier pads, the Air model can’t run Flash software and only has one connector. It goes on sale in a few weeks for between $500 (with 16GB) to $800 (with 128GB) and adding a mobile data card adds $130.

Dell venueMeanwhile, Dell has been busy as well with a tablet line-up that covers the gamut of school slates from 7-inch Android devices to 11-inch Windows 8.1 devices. The company now has one of the most complete tablet offerings around. This one-stop shopping for slates can streamline the procurement of tablets for a school while saving money. Here’s what the company has planned for the next several months.

Venue 7 8First up are the Venue 7 and 8. These Android slates use the latest 4.2 software and are built around 7- and 8-inch 1,280 by 800 IPS screens that are touch sensitive, extremely bright and can be seen at a wide assortment of angles. At $149 and $179 (for the 7- and 8-inch versions), they are competitive with similar school tablets and are powered by Intel’s latest low-power Atom processors, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage space.

Venue 8.1By contrast, the company’s Venue 8 Pro is similar although at about 13-ounces, it is a little heavier and thicker The Pro version provides the ability to run Windows 8.1 and use all the software the school already owns. It runs on an Atom processor, comes with 2GB of RAM and has room for 32GB of exams, term papers and math assignments. The tablet starts at $300, including a copy of Office 2013, and has an optional active stylus pen for precise work.

Venue 11Of the three new-age Dell tablets, the Venue II Pro is expected to arrive last, and has been built around Windows 8.1 slate and a 10.8-inch display. Students and teachers can use an optional active stylus as well as their fingers to work with the Venue 11. It weighs 1.5-pounds and runs on either an Atom, Core i3 or i5 processor and can be ordered with a variety of security options. This model goes for $500 and has an optional snap-on keyboard that turns the tablet into the equivalent of an Ultrabook.




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