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Internet Tablet Alarm Clocks: HP, Sony, Chumby, Vizio

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Part organizer, part picture frame, and part tablet. That's one way of describing the latest influx of Web-enabled alarm clocks. But although these modernized alarm clocks are all vying for the same thing — a cozy spot on your nightstand — they're not all created equal. We compared today's most popular models to help you decide which — if any — merits a spot in your bedroom.

Internet Alarm Clocks

Price
Screen Size
Channels Supported
Storage
Other Features

HP DreamScreen 100
$176.70 + $9 s&h
10.2"
(800x480)
Facebook, Snapfish, Pandora, HP Smart Radio, Weather
2GB
802.11g, Ethernet, 2 USB ports, 6-in-2 card reader, headphone out, speakers, multiple alarm settings

HP DreamScreen 130
$248.98
13.3"
(800x480)
Facebook, Snapfish, Pandora, HP Smart Radio, Weather
2GB
802.11g, Ethernet, 2 USB ports, 6-in-2 card reader, headphone out, speakers, multiple alarm settings
Chumby One
$119.95
3.5"
(320x240)
Flickr, YouTube, Pandora, Twitter, Netflix, Mediafly, 1,500+ Chumby apps, more
64MB
(microSD slot)
802.11g, Ethernet, 1 USB port, headphone out, accelerometer, speakers, FM tuner, multiple alarm settings
Sony Dash Personal Internet Viewer
$199*
7"
(800x480)
Pandora, GMail, Facebook, Sony BRAVIA Internet apps, 1,500+ Chumby apps, more
256MB
802.11g, USB port, headphone out, accelerometer, speakers, multiple alarm settings
Vizio VIR100/VIR200 Wireless Internet Radio
$189.99**
--------
$299.99**
7"
(800x480)
Pandora, Rhapsody, Radiotime, more
N/A
iPod dock
--------
iPod dock, 2.1-channel SRS Labs speakers
* Available in April.
** Available fall 2010.

HP DreamScreen
Available in 10" or 13" varieties, the HP DreamScreen has steadily dropped in price since it's September debut. In fact, the 10" model has dipped as low as $161 during the holidays. (Click here for the latest deals.) Although it has built-in Wi-Fi, the device requires a power outlet so it'll have to be tethered to one location. Compared to the newer tablets which are powered by app stores, the DreamScreen is more of a souped-up photo frame with video capability than a do-it-all alarm clock.

Chumby One
Although it looks like it belongs on the backseat of a passenger airline, the Chumby was the alarm clock/tablet that started it all. Since its 2008 debut, the widget-loving Chumby has brought the Internet to hundreds of bedsides with over 1,500 Chumby-friendly apps to its name. (Did we mention they're all free?) The latest version, the Chumby One, features a rechargeable battery (for portability), faster processor, and smaller footprint than the Chumby Classic. Unlike the DreamScreen, it features an accelerometer so it can be used in landscape or portrait mode.

Sony Dash
For its size, the Sony Dash can do more than you could ever expect from a bedside alarm clock. Making its debut at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, the Dash actually operates on the Chumby OS, so it's no surprise that all 1,500 Chumby apps (and any future Chumby apps) are compatible with the Dash. In addition, the Dash will be able to run Sony's BRAVIA Internet apps, and it'll have the ability to stream Netflix content straight from the Web, making it an insomniac's dream come true. Sony Pictures will also provide the Dash with exclusive Sony trailers and other Sony-based content.

Vizio Wireless Internet Radio
Tablets and alarm clocks may not come to mind when you think of Vizio, but from what we saw at CES, the VIR100 definitely has what it takes to break into the nascent Web-alarm clock category. Like its competitors, this 7" tablet will be powered by an app store (Vizio wouldn't release further details on the nature of these apps) and it will distinguish itself by including a built-in iPod dock in both models. The premium model will also feature built-in SRS speakers and a built-in subwoofer.

Conclusion
For versatility, the app store-driven models are hard to beat. We especially like the Sony Dash, which in addition to offering native support for all of the Chumby apps, will also provide access to Sony's exclusive apps. Although all of the models offer multiple alarm clock settings (excluding the Vizio clocks whose features are still surrounded in mystery), only the Chumby includes a built-in FM tuner. Nevertheless, all models support some form of Internet radio streaming.

However, cash-strapped consumers who don't want to make a big investment should wait for another price drop on the HP DreamScreeen, which gives you more screen real estate for your money than the Chumby.

Louis Ramirez is dealnews' Features editor. You can follow his Twitter feed @LouisRamirez.

Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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