The New iPad: Comparing the Specs to BlackBerry PlayBook, Android

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The stunning resolution of the new iPad screen may be reason enough to own it. Otherwise, the device's specs are surprisingly similar to much cheaper tablets.

The stunning resolution of the new iPad screen may be reason enough to own it. Otherwise, the device's specs are surprisingly similar to much cheaper tablets.

With predictable fanfare, Apple revealed its new iPad yesterday. Reviews of the device quickly focused on the single biggest difference between it and its predecessor, which was released less than a year ago.

CNET’s Donald Bell summed up the reception in a review today, saying “The iPad’s new screen is a stunner. That’s really all you need to know about (it)…” but later adding: “we’re stuck with the new iPad and a design that is virtually indistinguishable from 2011’s iPad 2.”

CNN’s John D Sutter agreed that the new iPad was more evolutionary than revolutionary:

“They’re also what give Apple execs some room to claim this device as “amazing” and “revolutionary,” he said “…rather than run-of-the-mill and incremental. The truth is that the new Apple iPad probably falls somewhere in the middle. It’s neither dud nor game-changer.”

And The Financial Post’s Matt Hartley said the device does little to fend off rivals advances. “the incremental improvements in the latest iPad may be just the opportunity they need to establish themselves as legitimate competitors to the world’s most valuable company..” said Hartley.

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While the phenomenal success of Apple (with a market capitalization of more than $500 billion, the company recently became bigger than Poland, noted The Guardian) is well documented, Apple has been losing market share in the tablet space.

In November 2010, Boston based research firm Strategy Analytics estimated that Apple owned 95% of the tablet market. Just over fourteen months later, Apple is barely selling six out of every ten tablets sold. That’s still a dominant share of the market, by any standard. But the extra space has allowed some tablets such as the Kindle Fire to flourish and others, notably the BlackBerry PlayBook, to be granted a chance at a second life.

With Playbook sales lagging, (IDC reported that RIM was able to secure just 4.9% of the tablet market in 2011) and an inventory buildup that was approximately three-quarters of a billion dollars more than it was just six months prior, RIM decided, late in November of last year, to offer promotional plans that lead to retailers slashing the price of Playbook’s by $300. As a result, Toronto-based Solutions Research Group says the BlackBerry PlayBook now has 15% of the Canadian tablet market. While the company has yet to provide numbers, at least a million BlackBerry Playbooks have now been sold.

So is the cheaper PlayBoook a legit rival to the iPad? iMore’s Rene Ritchie broke down the specs on the two devices, throwing the Asus Transformer Android tab into the mix, for good measure. The handy graphic reveals that, outside of the iPad’s stunning new screen, what you get from each device is surprisingly similar.

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