The stage is now set. The tablet market is in full swing, with a pair of high-profile devices set to do battle for market share and mind share.
In one corner, sporting the black unibody, the Motorola Xoom: Google’s great hope for tablets and the darling device from CES 2011, toting the Android Honeycomb OS, dual core Tegra 2 processor and large 10.1-inch screen.
In the other corner, sporting the black or white unibody, the iPad 2: Apple’s tablet has hit the gym and is now thinner, 33% lighter, and twice as fast as the previous model thanks to an A5 chip, that, according to Apple, offers faster graphics (up to 9x) than the previous model’s A4 while consuming the same power.
Both have their strengths. For the Xoom, it’s the upcoming 4G upgrade and Flash support. For the iPad, it’s apps. There are approximately 65,000 iPad apps in the App Store, compared to just 16 tablet-specific apps for the Xoom at launch. To be fair however, Android smartphone apps will also run on the Xoom, same for iPhone apps and the iPad.
Price also favors the iPad 2, kind of. The $499 16GB Wi-Fi iPad is the least expensive option, but again, to be fair, a 32GB 3G iPad costs $729 with a month-to-month plan. The 32GB 3G Xoom costs $800 with a similar month-to-month agreement, and it includes a free 4G upgrade. Agree to a two-year contract with Verizon, and the same Xoom only costs $600, which is actually cheaper than the $629 16GB 3G Apple iPad 2.
Let’s go to the tale of the tape:
|Screen Size||9.7 inches||10.1 inches|
|Resolution||1024 x 768||1280 x 800|
|Operating System||iOS 4.3||Android 3.0 Honeycomb|
|Processor||1GHz Dual-Core Apple A5 Chip||1GHz Dual-Core NVIDIA T20|
|RAM||N/A||1GB LP DDR2|
3G (CDMA EV-DO Rev A)
|WiFi||802.11 b/g/n||2.4GHz & 5GHz 802.11 b/g/n|
2.1 + EDR
|2.1 + EDR + HID|
|Ports||30-pin, 3.5 mm headset||USB, HDMI, 3.5 mm headset|
|Front-Facing Camera||VGA, 30 fps||2.0 megapixel webcam|
|Rear-Facing Camera||HD (720p), 30 fps||HD (720p)|
|Internal Memory||16GB, 32GB, 64GB||32GB|
|Weight||1.3 lbs||1.6 lbs|
|Dimensions||9.5 in (h) x 7.3 in (w) x .35 in (d)||
9.8 in (h) x 6.6 in (w) x .51 in (d)
|Price||$499 (no 3G, 16GB) to $829 (3G, 64GB) Vers. comparable to Xoom: $729 (32GB, 3G)||$800 ($600 with 2-yr contract from Verizon)|
Additonal reporting by Mark Calley