iPad 2 vs. Xoom vs. Optimus Pad vs. Galaxy Tab 10 vs TouchPad vs BlackBerry Playbook -- Spec wars!

iPad 2 vs. Xoom vs. Optimus Pad vs. Galaxy Tab 10 vs TouchPad vs BlackBerry Playbook -- Spec wars!

Apple announced the iPad 2 today so -- of course -- the first thing we did was drag in our friends from PreCentral.net, Android Central, and CrackBerry.com and get them to spec up with the Android 3.0 Honeycomb-running Motorola Xoom, LG Optimus Pad, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10, and the HP TouchPad and BlackBerry Playbook.

The results are above, and all we can say is -- what a great time to be a consumer! Also, given the hardware being thrown around Apple's going to have to work hard on their integrated software model -- that means iOS 5 -- to keep the lion's share of the market. The space is literally exploding with new, compelling devices.

Except from Microsoft and Nokia. Will they field something in 2011 or will we have to wait until iPad 3 or iPad 4 to add them to the spec wars?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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iPad 2 vs. Xoom vs. Optimus Pad vs. Galaxy Tab 10 vs TouchPad vs BlackBerry Playbook -- Spec wars!


These spec wars are interesting to geeks but in the real world its things like number of apps available that capture the hearts and pocketbooks of consumers.
When someone leaves the app count off these lists its clear they don't understand the consumer.

I hope you can install all 65,000 app on that ipad...at first you will install a ton of apps and after a while you will only use at best 6.
Hope you like Apple's communist system.

The problem is, it's impossible to know how many Apps are available for the other tablets, because unlike Apple, they allow you to download apps from anywhere (not just their app store).
Not to mention the PlayBook has flash, so it has access to tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of games online

I like this web blog very much, Its a very nice ptsooiin to read and incur information. It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. by Epictetus.

Honestly, if a platform has only 10,000 apps that is more than plenty. How many out of those 10,000 will you download? 30? 100? How many will you actually use? 10?
The point is all the platforms are going to have the same popular applications available. The rest are likely poorly written bloatware.
Personally I think that trying to use number of applications as a metric is pointless.
Hardware and OS comparisons are the only that should really matter.

No, number of Apps IS important. Why? Well, of course no one is going to use much more than a few dozen apps regularly or even ever download more than a few hundred or so (if that many!) over the life of their product, so you could say than 1000 apps is more than enough for any one.
The thing is, the more apps people take the time to write, the greater the chance that someone has written the very apps YOU, in your infinite uniqueness, have been searching for.
If one infrastructure offers 5 different (let's say "widget") you might think: well, I guess they've covered my widget obsession. Good enough for me!
But if another infrastructure offers 1,000 (!) different "widget" apps, isn't that one more likely to have an app perfectly catered to the way you want to interact and think about your widgets?

I respectively disagree. Both Android and iOS platforms have more than enough apps for you to find your one Unique app that you may be searching for. Both have surpassed that minimum threshold to allow to find what you are looking for.
Developers that are worth their two cents will be developing for both platforms, ultimately their goal is to maximize their profit.

Logically, if you're looking to make money, you would want to start developing for platforms that don't already have every app under the sun written. You can make the 150th calendar app for ipad, the 80th for Android, or the 1st for the HP tablet or the PlayBook. Which do you think will make more money, given that every indication is that BOTH platforms are set to sell well - even if not ipad numbers.

Slightly smaller screen, lower resolution, mono-speaker, no SD slot, no 4G support, no barometer (lol), and until we see otherwise, likely not as much memory either (guessing at only 512MB).

The slightly smaller screen and resolution go hand in hand as a 4:3 isn't going to be different then a 16:9 or 16:10 screen. However, it hasn't really been proven that the latter screen size is an improvement in the tablet form. I have an IPad and I like that it's equally comfortable in either landscape or portrait. Admittedly I have played with a Xoom yet, but I'm not entirely sure the same can be said for it. It looks much more like a landscape product.
Mono-speaker I'll give you. SDslot, I don't really care about. As for 4G, I guess it's a matter of preference. I own the wifi ipad. I didn't need 3G. Right now I'd consider it a black mark against the other tablets that they're all trying to shove 3G or 4G down our throats and telling us a wifi only model is coming at some later, undisclosed date.
Memory-wise, I guess we'll see what ifixit discovers. 256 was too little for the ipad 1. It made web surfing less pleasant then it should have been. However, 512 on my iphone 4 completely fixes that. IOS is more efficient, memory wise then a lot of other OS's. As long as the memory for the new ipad doesn't wind up being a bottleneck for use, then it's kinda a meaningless stat to judge against.

It's easy to do the math on the screen sizes. A 10.1 inch 1280x800 screen has an area of 45.85 in^2. A 9.7 inch 1024x768 screen has an area of 45.16 in^2. So, the Xoom has 0.7 square inches more screen area. Yes, that's about the size of the fingernail on your thumb.
It's all in the aspect ratios. The iPad screen is about 0.5 inches wider while the Xoom screen is about 0.75 inches taller in portrait orientation. This is the screen area. The Xoom obviously has better pixel density.
As has been said multiple times, for these type devices, a 4:3 aspect ratio is better overall as it is better resolution for virtually all usage cases with the exception of watching 16:9 or wider video. For older television which is in 4:3, obviously 4:3 will be better.
The microSD slot is stupid. It's got a very very small set of uses. Apple is right to leave it off their devices and to put a lot of storage built in. That's more user friendly. Just think about how applications are handled in Android. Users have to manually place applications onto SD cards. Developers have to specifically design large applications to have a data parts and executable parts as built-in storage where apps live by default is generally small in Android devices. I repeat microSD cards are stupid.
If you were talking about SDHC/SDXC cards, you maybe have a significant use case as users can transfer photos/videos from cameras easier. But then, that use case would be limited as iPad type devices, iOS devices, will be limited in storage for a long long long while. It's at best a stop gap.
For RAM, yeah, Apple will put the minimum amount of RAM into the device in accordance to cost constraints and their perceived usage bottlenecks. This means no more than 512 MB.

So by that logic, developers may as well stop making apps now. We have enough. Nevermind that every day apps come out that plenty of people want and use.

The iPad, which just came out mind you, is getting killed by the Xoom and the LG Optimus pad and the only thing keeping it at the top is apple's loyal followers.... NOTHING ELSE!

Spoken like a true fandroid! Sorry boi, what's keeping Apple on top (to list just a few) is it's innovation, quality products, customer service & it's superior OS that everyone seems to be copying.

Actually I am not a fandroid. I was Blackberry before they failed to progress and now I rock the iPhone4. I bought it because, at the time, it was the best phone out. I believe that Apple makes good products but you must beleieve that other companies can make better one.

Oh come on. You can't compare the iPad to them. iOS and Honeycomb are nothing alike. iOS' interface is a bit too intuitive. Honeycomb is highly customizable and does navigation right. For browsing the internet and such. The Xoom and the G-Slate (optimus pad) conquer the iPad, especially since Jobs refuses to allow Adobe Flash support. However, when it comes to entertainment, the iPad completely and utterly demolishes the honeycomb tablets because of it's gigantic app store. Sure, in time, honeycomb's app store will probably grow and grow and grow but for the time being, if you big on gaming and watching videos, honeycomb won't deliver.

FYI the xoom can't do flash yet! Being an iOS user has it's perks, I don't have to have antivirus and spyware protection running like you need on android os. Trendmicro has already made that clear due to androids open market.

Competitions are looking through one prism: hardware specs. It is the marriage between both hardware and software. iPad is not just a movie player. It is all that software developers want it to be. Plus, it is an onging marriage from one device to the next: iPod-->iPhone == now iPad. iPad has iPod app on it. It has itune app on it. Now, it has some Mac OS X favorite apps on it: iMovie, Garageband, iWorks. These cross-mixing adds to its beauty. Competitions do not have these perks!! HP Touchpad has one camera. This year is definitely, iPad 2 year!!

15,000,000 and counting, compared to the couple million the other guys have sold, and you say the iPad is getting killed, jajajaja.

Wait, aren't there more android owners out there? Are you saying that most just bought phones because they were just there? That these folks did not care about the operating system. Hmmmm...

iwork will be the word processor and more, and it will also read Microsoft word deoumcnts. As for the camera i am 95% sure we will be seeing it in the next version of the ipad, but it also doesnt have java!!!!!!!!! dumb!!!!!!!!!!! so all in all this thing is for entertainment, games, movies, music, and ibooks. NOT FOR BUSINESS AND OTHER USES, buy a laptop or macbook. Still love apple though (going to get the ipad no matter what people say)

I disagree. Apple has shown time again, that it takes more than beefed up hardware to make a good product. While the iPad2 may not beat the others in hardware specs, it is certainly not a weakling by any stretch of the imagination. What gives iPad2 the advantage is the same thing that has always given the iPhone the advantage, even in the face of competitors with better specs. Apple combines great hardware with an even greater UI. This creates an overall user experience that is nearly impossible to match.

Don't forget about iTunes. The lack of a centralized media hub for Android is its single biggest handicap - aside from the poor, confusing, and inconsistent UI, of course.

That is to blame on some manufacturers. The Android UI is actually really nice on HTC devices and other devices as well. Also I just got an HTC Inspire and used iTunes to get my entire playlist onto it as well. Simple free app and it took the same amount of time as it would for an iPhone. Android is not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. This is my first Android phone and my only complaint is the bloatware that the carriers are responsible for other than that I'm enjoying the experience of Android and the HTC Sense UI.

iTunes is the ONLY reason I'm considering an iPad. Everything any member of my family (and about 1/2 of my friends) uses has Android OS. I'll admit, the iPad is very easy to use, but with the Xoom, I can't move my ENTIRE iTunes catalog. Drives me insane. Since I still haven't made my purchase yet, I guess I'm still going to have my personal debate

What is so hard about dragging a file or folder and dropping it into the android device? I don't understand. If I want music or video I just drag and drop. How much more technical does it need to be?

If we look at the numbers we can see that iOS is not the greatest or most recieved UI and Apples products are starting, if not falling behind, to be match by hardware as well. Dont get me wrong... I will always be the first person in line to ask a fandroid as they call them how many phone must your software run on in order to beat just one, but we also must realize that even Apple can be overthrown..... especially by Samsung (^_^)

I love Apple don't get me wrong I still own a lot of Apple products but I don't think Android is really as bad as people say it is. Yes their Tablet apps are lacking but they just finally got a tablet OS installed so devs will make apps give it time.

lol well i wasnt going to make these vids and instead just a short sumamry but man there was soooo many ppl bashing the ipad without hearing some points, so i thought let me just put some points in the air, both pros and cons, just to ADD A DIFFERENT VIEW ON THINGS. im not justifying the ipad to be a fantastic device, but just adding another view on things, and your completely entitled to have your view ! the ipad is not perfect, and i may be getting slightly ripped of with this first gen lol

All others are playing catch up. Correct me if I'm wrong but a lot of these companies did not feel the tablet market was at all special, or worthy of getting into. But then apple brought out a great product last year with the iPad, sold a whole lot of them and now all these other guys are trying to come out with flashier tablets that promise to cook and do your laundry. And in doing so, they try to convince people like yourself that the "i" world has it all wrong, but were they not wrong from the beginning? Apple's simplicity stands above all of these other companies, from design to ease of use, to above all great experience. You can say all you please about apple "fanboys", but at the end of the day people prefer apple because we know what quality is, and we know we can rely on apple to provide it.

Very hlpfeul video Devir. I don't yet own an iPad, but got the iPhone ver. of Soundrop after seeing you demonstrate it. Thanks! Was this answer hlpfeul?

Apple is relying on it's strength. No gimmicks not overpowering specs. But the ecosystem. And development. Apps and more apps.
Apple is also about execution. Do 90 percent perfectly versus do 100 percent at 90 percent goodness. If that makes sense.

The Xoom looks like it has the most potential, however the iPad has the better App support.

anyone else find it funny how the screen resolution was left off of the blackberry playbook? (1024x600) all they say is 7"

I switched to a Droid X from a 3Gs back in October. I thought it was a good phone and Android was a good OS. Those things are both true, but neither one is great. As a matter of fact, with all the issues I have, I'm going back to the iPhone ASAP. I'm very disappointed in Android and the Droid X.
In the meantime, I'll be getting an iPad 2. No doubt about it.

Firstly, IPad being drawn out on specs in comparison to anroid - not true. Yes, there is marginal difference but just marginal.
Secondly, I have personally seen Honeycomb UI and it's good and surely has potential, but iOS is better and cleaner and most of all clutter free.
Thirdly, these devices are built for entertainment and for some but not for uber productivity, a marginal difference in hardware does not mean it's bad. If you're looking for productivity then buy a Tablet PC and stop wasting your time on these devices.
Finally, IPad has the App store, period. Nothing else to discuss. What good is hardware if it does not have a good platform to show off its powerhouse. I am not against Anroid, definitely not and will never be, but you must agree when I say Anroid market place Sucks in comparision to the App Store. For Anroid, apps and games are more expensive and there is less variety available and most importantly the quality of apps is not great.
I love motorola Xoom and samsung tab, but given the overall customer needs, expectations and satisfaction i'll without a doubt buy an IPad.

Oh boy, Google has had a helluva day, too. They ditched 25 apps due to fear of malware. You will never have that problem with iOS I suppose, being that the apps have to be pre-approved. There's something to be said for that.

I did precisely that. There is one link saying 'first iPad virus discovered?' (note the question mark) and then the next link says 'The iPad virus rumours are false'...
So... what exactly is your point?
And more to the point, how is that even barely comparable to having 25 apps containing malware, bringing the WHOLE library of apps into question?

Can't wait for iFixit to tear it down and get us some more specs like how much RAM does it have. Imma say 512MB at the very least. Hopefully it's more like 768MB or 1GB.

I would have bought the HP touchpad since i have a Palm phone, but the best app in the catalog is Angry birds. So i am going to buy the ipad2 of the 11th. I would much rather have the touchpad with 65,000 apps, but i doesn't and probably never will

Well, like other software platforms besides iOS, the TouchPad (webOS) will, in all likelihood, get such popular titles as Angry Birds, along with other very popular apps. If that's the only thing that makes or breaks it, you can get any of the tablets that are out there as well as others that have yet to become available.

Angry Birds is available on HPalm devices. My wife (and I use to before moving to iP4) has the original Sprint Pre- and she beat Angry Birds on it months ago.
I on the other hand will be buying the iPad2 because I want it and not its competition. I held out on the first iPad because I video conference a lot with my parents since I have a young daughter and they want to see her constantly (they live in other states (yes, plural)) Call me a fanboy, that is fine. It started in 2007 when I got tired of my HP laptop running XP crashing and my first MacBook Pro...fanboy for sure now.
Back to the point of this thread. I haven't used an Android tablet yet and look forward to my first opportunity to really get into it. BB tablet, no thanks - hate their phones and OS. Not interested in evening picking one up except to see how much of webOS they copied. HPalm's new tablet interests me VERY much. May end up getting that for my wife (HP and PALM LISTEN UP) if they get kindle and Barnes and Nobles apps (if they dont have them already) before its release.

What Apple has achieved, that few IT companies have managed, is to deliver the single most important feature that they all strive to deliver... Accessible CONTENT.. (and Yes, app numbers, video's, music et al, are more important than techno babble) If it performs well, then the specs are irrelevant.
This new product or even the old one, is useable by 3 to 90 year olds and gone are the mindless
C:/boot/drive:G blah blah blah.. from the Mad Microsoft Mob.
When was the last time someone asked (a Mac user) how many Gigahertz your processor is and what is the clock speed..! Like never..
They are delivering attractive, functional, practical and fun content on super cool hardware that works very well. Period.
Footnote: (Soichiro Honda quote) " The best product is never the best seller, and the best seller is never the best product" touche.. And history just keeps on repeating,.. Microsoft, Dell, Facebook, Cisco, all great copiers of existing technology, just doing it better, cheaper, smarter..

All the hype of the iPad 2 and this is the best technology they could muster?
Stagnant display, STILL no USB support, STILL no expandable/swappable memory, STILL no user-replaceable battery, forced assimilation into iTunes... Keep spinning the issue with an app store that has 155,000 fart apps and counting...
No thanks SJ, I won't buy into your corporatism.

@Me; Everything you point out are positives for the iPad/iPad2, not negatives. Simplicity is KING! Design and function must be totally integrated and seamless, not a bunch of bells and whistles to go wrong like multiple ports, removable battery, memory cards, etc.

"Simplicity is KING!"
After reading these fan boy replies I now realize the IOS was created for simpletons.
"Design and function must be totally integrated and seamless"
Translates to "A locked down device that I can barely customize" Maybe you wallpaper can be different than the next fan boy..

LOL. you got to be kidding me with that comment.
So you're saying to me that not having expansion port or a way to plug into extra peripherals is too much. Why do people with a ipad even buy keyboards? Would the xbox 360 with kinect the best way because its does away with physical controls? no but complements it. Why do people still get netbooks because people want extras like keyboards and a way to plug in extra peripherals like a mouse or a external drive for that journey away. geez! I like the ipad but this is a bit much to take in! haha

The only thing I really hate is still the need of adaptor for everything is out of the iPad world. USB? Adaptor. Hdmi? Adaptor. Dvi? Adaptor. Minimum 29$ each. This is not making my life easier!
And how could they call this a "post pc device" if I still need one to use my music, video, photos, files?? I need one even to be able to turn it on the first time!

I hate how these spec tables are done. Specs = marketing! Repeating: specs = marketing!
What would be more better is some statement on the value of each spec, and the value of each spec in relation to each other. Without some value placed on the spec, the spec is a meaningless number.
The most basic of things is the shape. As listed in H x W x D dimensions is an inherently inaccurate set of numbers describing the shape of the device. Every one of these devices has curves one way or the other. And this number is actually gamed, ie, the manufacturer lies about them. Laptop manufacturers used do this all the time by listing the thinness part of their laptop, and don't include the rubber feet as part of the thickness, including Apple. Phone manufacturers typically don't include the thickness from the camera or from a "butt" or some other type of protrusion. I've actually never seen any reviewer take out there ruler to even verify those numbers.
Then, the spec on the shape is thrown out there without any kind of value associated with. Objects can be shaped to be held better or picked up better. No mentions if whether the edges (corner radii) cuts or caresses. No mentions if whether the thickness of the edges feel nice or not. No value is associated to whether 0.5, 0.4, 0.3, or 0.2 inches thickness gives the best feeling.
This is just a comment on one of the most basic of things that these spec tables. Here is a short one on the battery line. It's stupid. It's not in the same units! And it's wrong! (The Xoom has 2 3250 mAH batteries. Bells should be sounding when you look at the Touchpad, Optimus and Tab 10.1 having ~6500 mAH batteries. Motorola didn't break the laws of physics here and developed a nearly identical device that only needs half the power for about the same battery time). And the true specification for battery spec really is "WiFi usage time" or "video usage time" or "standby time".
These spec tables are nothing but marketing fodder for fans to argue about. And people don't even argue about it in any kind of detail. Why isn't there a line for materials for the back and the screen? Why isn't there a line item on the shape, placement and motion of the buttons? Why isn't there a line item for screen brightness levels (in nits)?
You could go down the rabbit hole really really deep if you want. Anandtech does the best job here, but even they only scratch the surface. They typically concentrate on the chip, screen and battery time performance. They don't concentrate on materials or touch sensitivity or MTBF for button types.
ARRGGHHH! This topic always irks me when Apple announces new product. I'll quiet down now.

What makes the ipad a winner in the eyes of the consumer is the fact that it is dead simple to use and get powerful things done with. I have an android phone and I personally have always felt that it feels like most of the features are slapped together in ways that make it confusing and inconsistant at best. I think this may be coming from the fact that google never went out of their way to set guidelines for app quality or interface consistency or even programming standards.
What apple has done is to make an operating system that works almost EXACTLY THE SAME on every device it is put on (minus features that only came on the new hardware), and runs equally as well. If you look at any android blog you will notice that there is all this complaint about device fragmentation. Unlike what happened with the PC industry where when you buy a computer, you get the latest version of windows. NOT IBM's version of windows or Dell's version you get WINDOWS. So far Apple is the only company who has delivered on a good mobile OS that has all the apps that users want and gets upgrades and the latest technology for as long as your contract lasts.
One reason that apple is still doing so well compared to other companies is because they are not trying to wow users with specs or numbers and try and and impress the users, but to link the specs to the user experience. What apple has done is to make the car that drives extremely well and is a joy to use but may not go 200 MPH or fly, because they know that the right thing to do is to get the basic experience down and do it well.

I have both Android and iOS platforms and the one thing that I'd like to see from Apple is the ability to run widgets, esp. on a tablet. I want to look at the home screen, see the date/time/weather/sport scores, maybe even an email feed/facebok/twitter feed, etc. I'm into computers therefore I'm lazy :-) I don't want to push all apps to find out everything. I want it presented to me. Android does the widget thing, therefore it allows me to be lazy!

I thought I would like that about my Droid X and I would, but I have yet to find a weather widget that properly updates the current conditions. I still have to go into the weather app if I want to be sure I have the latest data.
I use two widgets and I could do without them both.

Aren't the networks moving from 3G to 4G? Do these tablets support 4G or are they still at 3G?
Or am I missing something?

I think all the talk about android and apple are just great but most aren't talking about webOs at all. How many of these platforms can talk to each other? When the veer, pre3 and touchpad,"stupid name" come out, damn hp is slow, you'll be able to touch to share across all of them. Looking at a webpage on the pad and need to take it with you, touch the veer or pre3 to it and it's on the phone. Mulitple email and chat clients all in the same place, don't need to hunt them down. Plenty of speed and apps on the way. Just my 2 cents from a webOs fan. I've used the others and love the ease of webOs

I am going to buy the ipad 3 if it gets retina....period. I have the 4 and love the ease of use... very impressed with the fruit..doubt i will ever go back...44 years old and have sold 9 devices so far to older folk. keep chasin please...look at the under 20 crowd...like 99.9% apple...stock going to 500...crazy bit

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