In the same month the HP TouchPad entered the tablet graveyard, Apple became successful in banning the Samsung Galaxy Tab permanently in Germany. While the Cupertino-based tech giant is preparing ground for a probable launch of the iPad 3 in the spring of 2012 or perhaps later this year, another competitor is set to arrive later this week with AT&T's 4G HSPA+ network - the Acer Iconia Tab A501.

AT&T has announced that the 16GB model of the tablet will debut on Sunday, Sept. 18, with a price tag of $330 after a two-year contract, or $480 without contract. After purchasing the Acer Iconia Tab A501at AT&T with the two-year contract, customers will have two options - they can either choose a monthly plan, or a pay as you go plan costing $15 for 250MB or $25 for 2GB of transfers.

The 10.1 inch tablet will run on the Android OS to the Honeycomb 3.2 version. Thanks to the HSPA+ technology with enhanced backhaul, the newest member of the Acer Iconia family of tablets will get up to 4x faster data transmission.

The tablet's key features include 1280×800 resolution with TFT WXGA display, a 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 mobile dual-core processor, the A501 integrates GeForce GPU, a 5MP rear-facing camera, a 2MP fixed-focused front-facing Webcam, 1 GB DDR2 RAM and Dolby Mobile audio technology.

The device also comes with an HDMI port, a MicroSDHC slot, microUSB port, a full size USB port, built-in GPS and a six-axis motion sensor meter control.

The Acer Iconia Tab A501 vs. iPad 3

Being one of the most highly anticipated devices from Apple, rumors about the possible features of the third generation iPad are rife. Based on the most rumored spaces, here is a head to head comparison between the Acer Iconia Tab A501 and the iPad 3.

Operating System: While the Acer Iconia Tab A501 runs on the Android OS, v3.0 (Honeycomb) and upgradable to v3.2, the upcoming is most likely to see the next-generation iOS 5. Analysts and tech enthusiasts even said that there are chances that Apple would also introduce OS X Lion for the tablet.

Processor: The Acer Iconia Tab A501 is powered by 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 mobile dual-core processor. On the other hand, the iPad 3 is mostly rumored to sport a Quad-Core Processor, most probably the A6. The current iPad 2 features a 900MHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, Apple A5 chipset and PowerVr SGX543MP2 GPU.

Camera: Acer's Iconia Tab A501 sports a 5MP rear-facing camera with LED flash, coupled with a 2MP fixed-focused front-facing Webcam. The iPad 2 has two cameras that are comparatively weaker than then those of Iconia Tab A501. iPad 2 has one 0.7MP camera with 960 x 720 pixels and a front-facing VGA camera. Rumors suggest that the iPad 3 will come with a much powerful camera coupled with a built-in flash.

4G Compatibility: The Acer Iconia Tab A501 is all set make an appearance with AT&T's 4G HSPA+ network, while Apple has still been looking forward to a 4G-compatible tablet as all the others in the market have already provided a tablet computer that supports the feature. The company's previous venture, iPad 2, only offered 3G.

HDMI: Previously, Apple introduced the HDMI playback in iPad 2. This, however, had problems of its own. The user needed an additional digital AV adapter which was available for $39. The upcoming iPad 3 is expected to end the problems regarding the additional HDMI cable with an evolved HDMI port, while the Acer Iconia Tab A501 already features one.

Screen Resolution: The iPad 3 is being heavily rumored to arrive with the retina display with an improvised resolution of 2058X1536 pixels. When it comes to the Acer Iconia Tab A501, it includes a 1280×800 resolution with TFT WXGA display, which more than 30 percent higher than the 768x1024 resolution of the iPad 2.