The benefits of using connected devices, such as tablet computers, in the construction industry are well documented. Up until now, Apple’s,, Cupertino, Calif., iPad has been relatively unchallenged in the market, with a few exceptions. However, after a week of product announcements it seems construction professionals will soon have many more options for tablets on the jobsite.

Contractors who find limitations with the iPad or the iOS platform have traditionally had few places to turn for an alternative—one example being the line of GALAXY Tab devices from Samsung,, Seoul, South Korea. Last week the company added another tablet to its lineup, the GALAXY Tab 7.7, which has a 7.7-inch screen and runs Honeycomb, Android’s most recent operating system optimized for tablets.

Other companies, such as Sony,, Tokyo, Japan, also introduced new tablet devices: the Sony Tablet S and Sony Tablet P. Both models are powered by Android, and both feature front and rear-facing cameras, which are frequently used to provide progress updates and visual documentation on construction sites.

The S model has a 9.4-inch touchscreen and is Wi-Fi only. Sony’s Tablet P offers Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity via AT&T’s,, Dallas, Texas, network. Its unique design features two 5.5-inch screens that can fold together for portability.

HTC,, also announced it will add a device to its lineup of Android-based tablets—the Jetstream. With a 10.1-inch high-definition screen, Jetstream will feature Android’s Honeycomb and will support advanced network speeds.

To add yet another device to the mix, Lenovo,, Morrisville, N.C., has announced a tablet—the IdeaPad A1, which features a 7-inch screen, weighs about 400 grams, and runs on Android. IdeaPad A1 is expected to be available at the end of this month.

With all these lightweight tablets, some contractors might be wondering if these devices will be a good fit for rugged construction environments. Companies like OtterBox,, Fort Collins, Colo., create ruggedized cases for the iPad, making the device more user friendly in the field. Or some construction companies might consider choosing a more rugged, construction-specific device. Companies such as Motion Computing,, Austin, Texas, offer rugged devices designed for construction.

With so many tablets flooding the consumer market, it’s up to construction professionals to determine which devices will translate effectively onto the jobsite. For builders and contractors looking for an on-the-go productivity tool that can help get the job done, a tablet could be the answer.