As Apple gears up to release its most anticipated tablet yet, Android competitors are getting ready to rival the iPad 3, with Google plotting the latest aspiring iPad-killer.

Google has already measured up to Apple in its latest iPhone rival, the Nexus, but according to an Italian newspaper, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt is planning for a new tablet to knock out the iPad 3 in May.

'In the next six months, we plan to market a tablet of the highest quality, Schmidt said in an interview with Corriere della Serra.

Few details have been leaked about a potential Google alternative, but it is rumored that it will run the Android 4.0 software and could even possibly run a newer version, should it be released later next year.

Google is not the first Android based company to go head to head with the iPad. RIM, Samsung and HP already tried, but failed miserably. It was only by knocking down their retail prices that they managed to sell units against the $500 iPads.

ASUS's newest Eee Pad Transformer Prime seems to be one of the first tablets to measure up to the iPad and potentially overtake the iPad 3. It opened up for pre-orders two weeks ago and is already being heralded as the most pre-ordered tablet of the year.

It is the first tablet to boast the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor. It is ultra-thin at 8.3mm and weighs only 586g and comes with state-of-the-art SonicMaster Audio technology, an HD 8MP rear auto-focus camera with LED flash. And all with an 18-hour battery-left when combined with the mobile dock.

The mobile dock allows the tablet to transform to a notebook form, equipped with a keyboard and battery charger and it also has capabilities to upgrade to Android's latest Ice Cream Sandwich software.

The iPad 3 is expected to come out by March, although Apple hasn't offered an official release date yet.

As far as rumors go, the initial production of the iPad 3 is thought to have begun with around 1 million to 1.5 million units, according to a report obtained by the Daily Mail. While the latest Apple tablet will be competing with other Android-based tablets such Amazon's Kindle Fire, a survey carried out by Forbes indicates that Apple will still be in the lead with its new tablet.

More than 40 percent of smartphone owners who use Research in Motion, Blackberry, Microsoft, Windows Phone and Google Android prefer Apple's iPad to tablets from their current operating system, Forbes reported.

Forbes estimates that the new iPad will be able to sell around 39 million units in 2011 and 50 million in 2012. But what should we expect from the new iPad 3? Here's a rumor roundup:

Redesign:  While initially it was thought that the iPad 3 would look much the same as the iPad 2, prognostications circulating the Web have suggested quite the contrary.

This is how Mike from the Cydia Blog interpreted it:

The new part, when compared with iPad 2, shows a different arrangement in internal circuitry, hinting a major redesign. The tail end of the part makes a 'U-turn,' whereas the iPad 2′s Microphone Mic Flex Cable makes almost 90-degree turn both ways.

Another design speculation is that the tablet will be transparent and rimless. Dakota Adney put together quite an imaginative video of what the iPad 3 could look like, although it seems far too drastic a remodeling to actually be true.

More realistic rumors for the redesign cited on the Cydia Blog suggest a retina display with 2048×1536 resolution. But the hardware required to enable a better display could require a slightly thicker body of 0.7mm, according to PC World.

Siri: The iPhone 4S's most popular voice assistant feature may be coming to the new iPad. Although the Huffington Post says the rumor is far from certain, as voice command is far less useful on the tablet than on a cellphone. 4G LTE qualities and a larger battery are also among the rumor mix.

Better camera: iPad 2 uses a VGA-capable camera on the front and a HD camera that can do 720p video 1 MP in the rear. According to Zdnet, competitors are shipping tablets with 3MP and 5MP camera and therefore Apple needs to do better. A flash is another feature missing from the camera that many experts believe needs to star in the new tablet's release.