Gallery: Leading tablets and e-readers

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Here's a quick look at eight of the leading tablets and e-readers

The tablet market, dominated by the iPad, is becoming increasingly crowded

CNN  — 

When people think mobile, it’s generally smartphones that come to mind

But tablets and e-readers have increasingly become part of the equation, with millions of people now owning devices that many had never heard of a couple of years ago.

On the tablet front, Apple’s iPad has ruled the market with an iron fist. Since its rollout in early 2010, competitors from HP to Dell to BlackBerry-maker RIM have tried, and failed, to match the device feature for feature.

But in 2012, the landscape has gotten more interesting.

Amazon first released its smaller Kindle Fire, which cost $300 less than the cheapest iPad. Google followed suit with the Nexus 7, while makers like Acer and Samsung have earned rave reviews for their devices.

Now tech titan Microsoft enters the game with plans for the Microsoft Surface, a hybrid that, with its built-in keyboard and souped up processing power, promises to bridge the gap between tablets and the new, sleek ultrabooks.

No one has threatened the iPad’s dominance – yet. But serious players are now taking aim at Apple with creative new approaches.

On the e-reader front, Amazon rules the roost with its Kindle line. But Barnes & Noble’s Nooks are a solid second and fan favorite Kobo still hangs around, with more support in its native Canada than in the United States.