Tablet Wars: iPad 2 vs. Xoom vs. PlayBook vs. WebOS Slate


2010 has been described as the year of the Tablet. Just as the early 1970s saw a number of companies coming out with personal computers, 2010 saw the release of numerous tablet PCs with the Apple iPad being the most popular. While the Apple iPad had the first-mover advantage and quickly captured market share in 2010, the current calendar year will see a number of technology companies coming out with their own tablet PCs.

This year’s installment of the popular technology trade show CES saw every tech company worth its salt displaying a tablet prototype or announcing their plans for the same. Among the more prominent tablets displayed at CES 2011 are the Android 3 based Motorola Xoom, the QNX based BlackBerry PlayBook and the HP WebOS tablet. Together, these new releases are expected to dent Apple’s current market share by giving tough competition to Apple’s upcoming iPad 2.

The above mentioned tablet PCs are reviewed below:

Motorola Xoom

The Motorola Xoom will be the first tablet PC to run on the highly anticipated Android 3 OS. Unlike its competition, the Xoom sports a larger 10.1 inch display with a high-end 1280-by-800 resolution. The tablet comes loaded with 1 GB RAM, 32 GB internal storage capacity and a 1 GHz processor guaranteeing smooth and seamless function. The tablet will also feature an SD card slot, upgradeable 3G connectivity and 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity. Xoom is also equipped with two cameras; a front-facing 2 MP camera for video conferencing and a rear facing 5 MP camera with 720p video capture.

BlackBerry PlayBook

Reaserch in Motion’s latest PlayBook is a lightweight (less than 1 pound) tablet with a 7 inch display. It comes equipped with 1GB of RAM, a dual-core processor, dual HD cameras, HD video recording, and HDMI output. RIM has based the PlayBook on the QNX OS instead of its in-house BlackBerry mobile operating system. Unlike other tablets, the PlayBook will support almost all audio and file formats.

HP WebOS Slates

HP is expected to announce two WebOS based tablets, viz. the Opal and the Topaz in a media event scheduled February 9. Market speculation suggests that the Opal has a 7 inch display and the Topaz has a larger iPad-like 9 inch display. Both tablets are expected to come equipped with a micro USB port and one front-facing camera. Additional technical specifications will be announced at the media event. The WebOS operating system has received rave reviews and has the potential to challenge Apple’s iOS.

Apple’s iPad 2

Apple’s iPad 2 is without doubt the most eagerly anticipated tablet PC this year. Apple’s current dominance of the tablet market gives the forthcoming iPad 2 a substantial advantage over other tablet PCs. Moreover, the popularity and widespread use of the existing iPad helps Apple identify and meet consumer expectations for the iPad 2. The Apple iPad 2 is expected to come equipped with a dual-core processor increased RAM, better screen resolution and dual cameras. The iPad 2 will hit the stores this spring.

A large number of releases will crowd the tablet PC market in 2011. As players jostle for space, “cost” is expected to play a central role in separating the men from the boys. As competition increases and sales grow, prices are expected to fall drastically – something consumers can take advantage of, if they wait long enough.

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