Mar 022011
Authors: Ryan Gibbons and Glen Pfeiffer

Wednesday morning Apple put on another show for us all and unveiled the shiny new iPad 2! Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, who you may have heard is currently on his third medical leave of absence since 2007, showed up to host.

We even got healthy looking Steve, not gaunt-zombie Steve, which history would indicate means good things for Apple stock.

The iPad added several new features for round two, mainly cosmetic. Most exciting is that its thinner than the iPhone 4 by half a millimeter, impressive considering Apple updated the internals to match the phone –– it now has front- and rear-facing cameras and a gyroscope.

It’s also slightly lighter, which is good because the first iPad was one of the heaviest tablets around. They did manage to increase speed, with a new ‘A5’ processor –– the first mobile device dual-core processor, as far as we know (it managed to play nine live video streams at once in the demo).

Apple announced that the iPad has 90 percent of the market share for tablets, but the other 10 percent do have loyal, happy users, so here’s some info on the other top tablets.

Motorola Xoom

In case you missed the epic Superbowl commercial, Motorola wants you to think of this little guy as a freedom from the iPad … oppression –– a claim backed up by its Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) OS. If you’re not looking for the Apple feel of a locked-down OS but still want access to the thousands of applications available on the Android Market, then this is probably the tablet for you. It also boasts the largest screen at 10.1 inches and houses a front and rear 5-mega-pixel HD camera.

BlackBerry PlayBook

If the inner businessman or woman is calling out to you then this might be the best way to satisfy your carnal needs.

The PlayBook sports a seven-inch screen, which is the smallest by a good three inches, but for people who are just looking for a basic interface to access the web and not really into the app market, this is probably the tablet you’re looking for.

Blackberry’s “App World” doesn’t have the largest catalog of applications, and the company itself focuses mostly on productivity and enterprise solutions. You won’t be able to play “Angry Birds” through your 3 p.m. lecture, but perhaps that’s a good thing.

You may have noticed that we didn’t focus much on the hardware sitting inside of these fine products, and that’s simply because, for the most part, they’re identical. The things that set these tablets apart are really the user interface and the features that come with the operating system. So our final advice would be to go try these products at somewhere like Best Buy and figure out which has the best “feel” for you.

Columnists Ryan Gibbons and Glen Pfeiffer can be reached at

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