With the runaway success of Apple’s original iPad, the market for tablets has proven itself, undeniably. Now, leading electronic OEM manufacturers are doing their absolute best to get into the highly sought after tablet market. Undoubtedly, Apple’s impending announcement on the iPad 2 hasn’t made as big of a stir as the original did. As we all know, the first iPad became a huge hit not because it was a revolutionary gadget but it was because of its timely release and Apples always excellent marketing team. By no means do we mean any offense to Apple – but one could even say the original iPad did as well as it did because it faced little to no competition. At the same token, Apple should be applauded for its brilliant efforts in bringing a great piece of technology into the hands of millions, and igniting the flame in tablet lovers’ hearts everywhere.

Fast forward to today – we have Android based tablets being launched at the previously held CES and at MWC. Featuring Google’s Android 3.0 Honeycomb Operating System, tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2/Galaxy Tab 10.1, the Motorola Xoom, and the LG Optimus Pad are set to revolutionize the tablet market.

The Motorola Xoom

The Motorola Xoom will have a 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2, a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 resolution screen, a 5megapixel camera that is capable of 720p video recording and 1080p video playback, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, and 32GB of onboard storage with a free microSD slot. It will also have 4G connectivity added to its toolkit come Q2 this year, after it receives a software update. Industry analysts are saying this will be the particular Android Honeycomb tablet to beat in 2011, and we expect the shockingly high $799 price to drop to more reasonable levels within six months of launch.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (Galaxy Tab 10.1)

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (pre-announcement name) or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, features a 10.1 inch display. Similar to the Motorola Xoom, it is powered by the dual-core Tegra 2 processor. It will have 16GB and 32GB versions available during launch. It will also have a 2 megapixel front camera and an 8 megapixel one at the back. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will also be one of the first tablets to be using Android 3.0 Honeycomb. It’s also capable of 1080p video recording and playback, which is an added bonus.

The LG Optimus Pad

This particular tablet, while similar to the others, is different in one significant way: it does 3D. When we say it does 3D, we mean it can record 3D videos, display them, and also enables the user to play 3D games. Further to these unique capabilities, is the fact that it can be connected to a 3D TV via HDMI and display 3D content there. The Optimus Pad is the only 8.9″ tablet featuring Android 3.0 Honeycomb, and will compete directly with the likes of the Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Yes, just as with the Optimus 3D smartphone that was also launched today, the Optimus Pad has a 3D mode as well.

3D functionality aside, the Optimus Pad is a thrill to use. Actually, it’s virtually identical to every other Android tablet, even down to the dual-core NVIDIA Tegra2 chip and stock Android Honeycomb OS. It kind of reminds us of the netbook craze that occurred over the past several years, where virtually every netbook had identical specs.

One area where the Optimus Pad shows its true prowess is with Web browsing. The speed with which you can zoom using pinch zoom is absolutely shocking. If you have ever used this function on your Android phone, or on a Macbook, you know there can be some lag. Not on the Optimus Pad. Check out the video to see for yourself.

Granted that it is 1.2 inch smaller to its larger tablet siblings, we will let you choose for yourself. All tablets feature near identical specs, aside from screen size.

Which one deserves your love?

We also took the time earlier to a more comprehensive appraisal of some of the best upcoming tablets of 2011, so check it out!

Darcy LaCouvee
Darcy is the editor in chief at Android Authority. He follows the latest trends and is extremely passionate about mobile technology. With a keen eye for spotting emerging trends and reporting them, he works hard to bring you the best analysis, updates, and reports on all things Android. Darcy lives and breathes the latest mobile technology, and believes Android will be on a billion devices in the not too distant future.