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Tablets have become the must-have gadget for everyone from tech-savvy types to mums who just want to read web gossip on the sofa.

But what does 2012 hold? And what new tablets should you be getting het up over? Here’s our pick of the five we can’t wait to get hold of.

1 iPad 3

ipad 2 promo

The biggie. Purportedly coming in March or April, which fits in with Apple’s previous release dates for the original iPad and iPad 2, the iPad 3 is said to have a 2048x1536 Retina Display, along with a longer-lasting battery and even thinner frame.

On top of the standard 9.7-inch model, rumours are flying that Apple will also release a seven-inch iPad Mini, despite the late Steve Jobs saying slates that size were “dead on arrival”.

2 Samsung Galaxy 11-inch tablet

samsung galaxy tab 8.9

The tablet that could finally push Android slates into the big time. This 11-inch model has been pegged for release at Mobile World Congress in February.

Word is it’ll have an iPad 3-bashing 2560x1600 display, as well as a 2GHz processor, along with Ice Cream Sandwich.

Samsung’s tablets are already impressive - and the only obstacle it may face here is Apple’s legal team, which will doubtless run the rule over the new slate for any similarities to the iPad.

3 Amazon Kindle Fire

kindle fire

Yes, the Kindle Fire is already out in the US. But it’s still not landed on these shores, with a rumoured release date of January 2012.

The small-time tablet could cost as little as £100 and comes chock full of Amazon’s best services, with access to movies, music and, of course, books.

This is the one tablet that could seriously harm Apple’s dominance in the tablet sector, especially once it has a global launch.

4 HTC quad-core Android tablet

HTC logo hi res

As-yet-unnamed, HTC’s new Android tablet is said to come with the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 inside.

That means it’ll be remarkably zippy, but it’ll be interesting to see whether the Taiwanese titan, currently struggling after a poor end to 2011, will slather Android Ice Cream Sandwich with its update-unfriendly Sense UI.

Either way, it’ll be great to see a global release of a full-size HTC slate, after the smart, but small HTC Flyer failed to live up to expectations.

5 Nokia Windows 8 tablet

nokia large logo

Nokia is said to be priming a slate using the full-on version of Microsoft’s new desktop operating system.

A bold move, no doubt, but the new spring in Nokia’s step should ensure this a well thought-out and smart-looking device.

Expect it to play heavily on similarities to Windows Phone and have features that will bring it together breezily with the Lumia 800.

We could see the device being shown off in summer, before a late-2012 launch.

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