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Network World - The success of Apple's iPad tablet last year sent its competitors scrambling to come up with similar products, including the BlackBerry PlayBook, the Motorola Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
But despite all these new entries into the tablet market, Apple remains the definitive standard for what a tablet computer should be as evidenced by the release of its iPad 2 today. (See: "Jobs unveils sleeker, more powerful iPad 2 at same price".) The launch of the iPad 2 not only took some of the buzz away from Motorola's just-released Android-based Xoom tablet, but it also served notice to the rest of the industry that Apple wouldn't be resting on its laurels anytime soon. In this article we'll take a look at how the iPad 2 stacks up against the Motorola Xoom when it comes to hardware, operating systems, connectivity options and pricing.
Both the Xoom and the iPad 2 feature dual-core 1GHz processors, so they'll both be able to run applications and surf the Web faster than the original iPad. The two tablets also offer similar battery power, as both the Xoom and the iPad batteries offer around 10 hours of Web surfing over Wi-Fi and around nine hours of Web surfing over 3G networks. And finally, unlike with the original iPad, both the Xoom and the iPad 2 feature cameras in both the front and the rear of the tablet.
So what differences are there? Well, the Xoom's display screen, at 10.1 inches diagonal and 1280x800 pixels (150 pixels per inch), is slightly stronger than the iPad 2's 9.7-inch diagonal display screen that has a resolution of 1024x768 pixels (132 pixels per inch). Also, the iPad 2 is an extremely thin and light device, as it measures in at 0.34 inches thick and 1.35 pounds. The Xoom, by contrast, is 0.5 inches thick and weighs 1.6 pounds
Edge: Essentially a wash.
The iPad runs on iOS 4.3, the latest iteration of the mobile operating system the company first made popular with the iPhone and then expanded to the original iPad. The Xoom, meanwhile, runs the "Honeycomb" edition of Google's Android operating system that was specifically designed for tablets. This is one area where the iPad really comes out on top, since iOS by now is familiar and comfortable for many tablet users while the tablet-centric Android is still something of a work in progress. This isn't to say that Android will never be able to match up with iOS in the tablet arena, mind you, but for the time being iOS's ability to perform on tablets is a known quantity while Android's is not. And of course, the beauty of Android is that multiple device manufacturers have adopted it, so that even if the operating system isn't yet a finished product for the Motorola Xoom, it could be vastly improved by the time another Android-based tablet hits the market over the next few months.
The iPad also has the clear advantage for the time being as far as available applications are concerned. While the Android Market is an impressive rival to the Apple App Store as far as smartphone applications go, it still has quite a bit of catching up to do in the tablet space. So while iPad users have an estimated 65,000 iPad-specific applications to choose from, Xoom users will have to wait until app developers become more accustomed to Honeycomb to get similar options.