by Donna M. Airoldi | January 19, 2011

As anticipated, tablet computers were the hot items at the recent Consumer Electronics Show, held earlier this month in Las Vegas. Ever since Apple came out with the iPad last year, technology companies have been scrambling to offer alternatives, from Android tablets to BlackBerry tablets and more.

Nearly 80 tablets were introduced at CES 2011. Here’s a look at a few of the top products highlighted by technology reviewers that are worth considering for inclusion in incentive and reward merchandise programs as soon as the products are released to the market. Prices are still to be determined.

Motorola Xoom

Lauded by multiple reviewers as the best in the tablet category, Motorola's Xoom is being positioned to overpower the iPad and will be the first device to run on the upcoming Google Android 3.0 (also known as Honeycomb) operating system, developed specifically for tablets, when it is anticipated for release by the end of the first quarter.

Product specs: 10.1-inch widescreen HD display, speedy dual-core processor, video playback in 720p HD, touch screen with 1280 x 800 pixel resolution, upgradable to 4G, new “floating” multi-finger use interface, front- and rear-facing cameras, HD camcorder, front-facing Web cam for conferencing, 1 GB internal RAM

CNET awarded it Best in Show and had this to say: “The Xoom betters the iPad in some ways—it comes standard with front- and rear-facing cameras, including one that can record in HD, compared with none in the current version of the iPad. It also boasts a larger screen with a higher resolution, supports Adobe Flash, and uses Verizon's network instead of AT&T's.”

BlackBerry Playbook

Research In Motion’s new tablet, powered by QNX technology, also offers a dual-core processor and a gigabyte of RAM for quick computing, gaming, and multitasking, like the Xoom, but is sized at seven inches instead of 10. It too is expected to be available during the first quarter. A key benefit: it’s built for business.

Product specs: dual HD video cameras, stereo sound, forward- and rear-facing cameras, out-of-the-box compatibility with BlackBerry Enterprise Server, seamless pairing for a secure window into a BlackBerry smartphone, corporate data access, 4G access, micro USB, and micro HDMI ports

Leading tech blog Gizmodo gushes: “It's seven inches of wow, with an OS that purrs and hardware—a pixel-dense 1024 x 600 display, 5-megapixel rear and 3-megapixel front-facing cameras, dual-core 1-GHz processor—that keeps up with just about anybody. And while there's nothing flashy about the design, it's got the kind of perfectly competent, sturdy build you'd want for a business tablet.”

Samsung Sliding PC 7

Sliding phones are old hat, but sliding computers are a relatively fresh concept. Samsung’s new slider, allegedly coming out in May, basically converts a netbook into a trimmer, lighter tablet hybrid that runs on Windows 7 instead of Android and is powered by the upcoming Intel Atom processor platform.

Product specs: 10.1-inch display with 1366 x 768 HD resolution, 2.2 pounds, touch screen and a full 80/81-key keyboard, 4-in-1 memory card reader, 2 GB of memory, 32 GB or 64 GB hard drive, 1.3- megapixel webcam, lithium polymer battery (up to 9 hours per full charge)

Digital Trends comments: “Unlike the Dell Inspiron Duo, this tabletdrawer computer has dual-facing cameras no matter which way it’s oriented. The screen slides up and then arcs up to get that classic laptop feel without the dastardly screen protection a clamshell design provides. All worth it: Samsung claims the 7 Series boots up in 20 seconds or less.”

Dell Streak 7 and 10

Dell and T-Mobile USA unveiled the Streak 7, both companies' first 4G-compatible tablet. Preloaded with a variety of content and applications from T-Mobile, the tablet also has access to more than 100,000 applications, games, and widgets from Android Market. The downside: It runs on Android 2.2 as opposed to the new Honeycomb.

Product specs: front- and rear-facing camera, Qik Video Chat for calling over T-Mobile’s network, Wi-Fi enabled, Gorilla Glass-protected touch screen, 16-GB memory, 1-GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor, support for Adobe Flash Player

Per Gizmodo: "The 7-inch version of Dell's Streak has all the guts of a show pony—Tegra 2 processor, a 1.3-megapixel front and 5-megapixel rear camera—but the real story is that Streak 7 is the first tablet that can tap into T-Mobile's 4G wonderspeeds."