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The battle between the tablets is about to begin. With the success of the Apple iPad and tablets looking to become a $40-billion industry, other tech companies are starting to jump on the tablet bandwagon. The next tablet to be released is the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and shortly thereafter the recently announced BlackBerry PlayBook.

Research In Motion has stepped out of their comfort zone with the PlayBook and it’s looking like a smart move. However, as with any BlackBerry product, we take an outside approach to its performance, functionality, comfortability, and interoperability when paired against the competition. We have taken the known specs of each tablet device and compared them to give you an unbiased look at which tablet may be the victor.

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Apple iPad


There is no doubt that the Apple iPad has been a huge success. There have already been over 3 million units sold since its April 2010 launch. While sales may be high, does it mean that it is the best? The iPad is said to perform as a giant iPhone, but lacks a camera and may be a bit uncomfortable in size. Due to its popularity and basic OS as the iPhone, the iPad has many apps, games, and more.

The amount of content available for a product generally helps it sell better than products without solid developer support. This has been key in leveraging the iPhone and now iPad against its competition. Currently, the iPad runs iOS 3.2, but will be upgraded to iOS 4.1 in November 2010.

Samsung Galaxy Tab


The Samsung Galaxy Tab will be the first tablet to launch and run Android 2.2 (Froyo). The Galaxy Tab will also be the first tablet to launch that will have a front and rear facing camera. It will have a microphone so as to allow you to make phone calls, and will also be useful during video conferencing. The Galaxy Tab will be the smallest tablet on the market at the time of its release.

Android has been a huge success with its easy integration of Google products. The Galaxy Tab will be able to download apps from the Google Marketplace, many of the same apps or games you could on any Android phone. Samsung also plans to make Galaxy Tab specific apps, which should really enhance the user experience. The Galaxy Tab will have Adobe Flash 10.1 support, where the iPad lacks this.


BlackBerry PlayBook

Research In Motion has officially confirmed the rumors by announcing the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet at DevCon 2010. RIM has been seriously lacking in hardware performance in their smartphones, when compared to their competition. Many people were blown away by the announcement on the specs for the PlayBook. Even more, RIM announced that the PlayBook would run the QNX operating system. QNX gives the PlayBook a whole new suite of features and functions that the original BlackBerry OS could not match.

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From the renders we’ve seen of the QNX OS on the PlayBook, it looks on par with that of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. However, even though the QNX OS will have great developer support and interoperability, many fear that the PlayBook will lack apps when launched. Current BlackBerry app developers will have to learn an entirely new system to develop apps for the PlayBook, so it could take some time. Adobe will bring Flash 10.1 and AIR to the PlayBook. The PlayBook, when launched, will be the only tablet to have Adobe AIR.

Side-by-side Comparison
Below is a comparison chart between all three devices. At the bottom is a synopsis of the data. 

The Break-down


The iPad is the leader in size, but is bigger always better? It is said that the size of the Galaxy Tab and PlayBook are more efficient and comfortable to carry around and use over the iPad. The Galaxy Tab is the lightest with the PlayBook very close behind. 
The iPad has a nice large display, but again the size may be a negative aspect compared to the Galaxy Tab and PlayBook.
The iPad and PlayBook both have the same WiFi bands, but the Galaxy Tab will only support one n band. However, the Galaxy Tab makes up for it by offering Bluetooth 3.0 over the 2.1+ EDR that both the iPad and PlayBook have. Currently, the iPad only supports 3G. Whereas, the Galaxy Tab supports 2.5G/3G and PlayBook will support 3G and 4G. The PlayBook will advance in this area once a 4G model is offered, especially if it is on Verizon’s LTE network.
While all three tablets sport a 1GHz processor, it is hard to say which one is the fastest. It was definitely a surprise to see the PlayBook offer one with dual-core. 
All three tablets should be able to support the same audio playback. While we are unsure of the Galaxy Tab’s video playback, out of the three the PlayBook appears to be the leader with 1080p. 
The iPad leads in battery and power, but we’re assuming this is only the case because it can hold a larger battery. It is unknown what the battery life will be for the PlayBook.
When it comes to internal memory there is one more option for the iPad over the other tablets. However, where it lacks severely is by only having 256mb RAM. The next runner up is the Galaxy Tab with 512mb RAM, with the leader being the PlayBook at 1GB RAM. Many times a lot of RAM is not needed if the operating system on a device runs light. Either RIM wanted to really beef up the PlayBook or the new QNX OS is a bit hefty and will require the added RAM. It is too early to tell, but needless to say if QNX is as light as RIM says, than the extra RAM is a win.
Both the PlayBook and Galaxy Tab have HDMI outputs, where the iPad does not. This is probably the case since the iPad lacks a camera. The Galaxy Tab will be the first tablet to come out with a front and rear facing camera. However, the front facing camera is a pitiful 1.3MP and the rear is only 3MP. The PlayBook will sport a 3MP front facing camera and a 5MP rear camera. The cameras in BlackBerry devices have never been known to be that great. It will be interesting to see how well the PlayBook’s 5MP camera is when compared to others. (i.e. the Torch 9800’s auto-focus 5MP camera does not take as quality a picture as the Motorola Droid)
Afterthoughts
It is still too early to really declare who the triumphant victor is in the tablet wars. We wanted to lay it all out and let you, the consumer, decide which tablet looks the best. Although, we must say, right now the BlackBerry PlayBook is looking awfully good, with the Samsung Galaxy Tab trailing right behind. If Research In Motion doesn’t screw things up, they may actually have a solid device against their competition. Which tablet do you believe will be the best?