10-inch Tablets Face-Off : Motorola Xoom, Apple iPad & HP Touchpad

The Apple iPad has legitimised the market for 10-inch tablets which were seen as a risk by many manufacturers, many of whom had bet on Windows and Intel and got burnt.

We now have four tablets at the upper hand of the market that have a 9.7-inch or more screen diagonal, two of which have been released near to the Mobile World Congress which ends today.

The Apple iPad is more than one year old now but is still the benchmark with which others will be evaluated; it shows that the device managed to single handedly spearhead a market by its own. It is still by far the best selling tablet on the market and some features like an onboard 64GB storage have yet to be emulated by others. The iPad 2, its successor, is set to be launched fairly soon and will bring some much needed additions that will make it competitive again with its rivals.

The Motorola Xoom is the first tablet to be launched with the Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) operating system. It packs some features that will be rapidly adopted by others because the Xoom is being presented as the reference platform like the Nexus One was before it. The 10-inch screen is HD ready and can display 1280x800 pixels, 30 per cent more than the iPad. It is powered by a dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and has four times the amount of RAM than the iPad and boasts a number of improvements like USB ports, HDMI, a front facing and a rear camera plus a microSD card reader.

The Hp Touchpad is the dark horse of the big tablets; it is based on the Palm WebOS - the only one on the market and therefore introduces a number of unique features like touch-to-transfer, the Touchstone wireless charging technology and the Beats audio.

The world of tablets is currently in limbo as everyone looks at Apple to find out what their plan for 2011 will be. A very competitive, keenly priced iPad 2 may well ruin hopes of Samsung, HP and others to capture market share from the leader, let alone increase their own.