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IPad 2 Alternatives: The State of the Tablet Competition

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Apple's practical and evolutionary iPad 2 will be the cheapest and most refined tablet on the market when it launches March 11, but it's not for everyone. Whether you categorically oppose Apple products, loathe the iOS operating system, or just want a device that isn't tethered to iTunes, you should be able to find an iPad 2 alternative that's right for you -- eventually.

[Read: Spec Showdown: iPad 2 vs. Its Rivals for a comparison chart of major tablets.]

Here's a look at the iPad 2's competitive landscape:

The Big Boys

Motorola Xoom

Features: 10.1-inch, 1280-by-800 resolution display; Nvidia Tegra 2 processor; 32 GB of built-in storage; 1 GB of RAM; front and rear cameras, Micro USB; microSD and HDMI coming soon; 1.6 pounds; 0.5 inches thick; Verizon 3G with free 4G upgrade; runs Android 3.0 (Honeycomb).

Status: Out now for $800 through Verizon Wireless. Wi-Fi only version anticipated at a later date for $600.

Chance of Success: The Xoom is the first true competitor to the iPad 2, in that it runs Honeycomb, a scaled-up version of the Android operating system, but its high entry price will drive away all but the earliest adopters.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Features: 10.1-inch, 1280-by-800 resolution display; dual-core 1 GHz processor, 16 GB or 32 GB of built storage, front and rear cameras, 1.32 pounds; 0.43 inches thick; 3G; runs Android 3.0 (Honeycomb).

Status: No price, no release date.

Chance of Success: The Tab 10.1 is the only 10-inch tablet that weighs less than the iPad 2, but otherwise it's pretty similar to the Xoom, minus the jacks for Micro USB, MicroSD and HDMI. The Tab's best bet is to beat the Xoom on price.

RIM Blackberry PlayBook

Features: 7-inch, 1024-by-600 resolution display; 1 GHz dual-core processor; 32 GB of storage, 1 GB of RAM; front and rear cameras; HDMI and full-size USB; 0.88 pounds; 0.4 inches thick; runs PlayBook operating system.

Status: No official word on price or release date, but rumors hint at April 10 for $500.

Chance of Success: RIM's PlayBook has a nice niche as a 7-inch tablet, but its success will depend on how rumors shake out -- not just price and release date, but whether it'll run Android apps.

HP TouchPad

Features: 9.7-inch, 1024-by-768 display; 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor; 16 GB or 32 GB of storage; 1 GB of RAM; front-facing camera; Micro-USB; 1.6 pounds; 0.54 inches thick; runs WebOS.

Status: Launching this summer for price unknown. In rumors, it's a June launch for $700.

Chance of Success: HP's TouchPad has nearly the same dimensions as the iPad -- the first-generation iPad, that is. It'll also be late to the tablet party, and the rumored price isn't ideal. Still, the TouchPad has a clutch of features that the iPad doesn't, so it's at least worth keeping an eye on.

{Slideshow: The Tablets of Mobile World Congress 2011}

Next: Tablets from Acer, HTC, T-Mobile and Toshiba

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