With Apple's iPad dominating the tablet market, expectations of the iPad 3 release is considered to cement its position at the top. Sony, Samsung, and Hewlett Packard have all released their latest tablets in hopes of eating away at Apple's 82% hold over the US tablet market. The iPad 2 now have seen threats but can the new line of competitive tablets be enough to counter Apple's upcoming iPad 3?

The iPad 3 is rumored to have some heavy-hitting specs, ones that competitors will need to overcome if they plan to challenge Apple. 

Expected on Apple's upcoming tablet is a slimmer and lighter tablet made of carbon fiber and aluminum. The display will boast a higher resolution of up to 1536 x 2048 with retina display and the tablet is expected to run on an A6 Quad core processor. 

Sony has now entered the tablet market with its latest innovative devices - the Sony S1 and Sony S2. The tablets' most noticeable feature will be the sloping design, giving it a unique look compared to the vast number of other tablets on the market. The S1 tablet is a one-piece device that mimics a folded magazine making it more comfortable and lightweight to hold with one hand.

The S2 tablet can be folded and offers a dual-screen touch display running on an NVIDIA Tegra processor. The S2 can be folded and placed into a pocket or purse.

There's not many actual other products that you can actually fit in your pocket today unless you make your pocket much bigger, said Phil Molyneux, president of Sony Electronics.

Both devices will integrate Sony's 'Throw' feature which allow users to swipe their display and flick content onto another TV screen. Other features for the new Sony tablet devices include Sony's Qriocity streaming services and PlayStation video gaming capabilities. Both will run on the latest Android OS upon launch and provides enough uniqueness to counter the iPad 3. The tablets are expected to hit the market this Fall.

Hewlett Packard has put their TouchPad onto the market and it has matched up well with Apple's current iPad 2. The physical features are very similar for both in terms of display screensize, weight, and dimensions (1024 x 768, 9.7 inch TFT display and 1.6 pounds).  The TouchPad does run a more powerful processor - 1.2 GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon - compared to iPad 2's 1GHz dual core processor. However, HP's tablet may appear to be outmatched if the current specs are compared with the iPad 3.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 has also been giving the iPad 2 some serious competition due to its powerful hardware, enhanced display, and impressive processor. Starting off with its weight, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is lighter and thinner than the iPad 2, making it more comfortable to hold. The Samsung tablet's 1GHz dual core NVIDIA Tegra 2 also outbeats the iPad 2, but may fare less against iPad 3's A6 Quad Core processor. A 10.1 inch TFT display stands atop the crowd but iPad 3 looks to drastically upgrade the iPad 2's current display resolution by two to three times. Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 runs on Android's latest Honeycomb OS. Only time will tell if Apple's iOS 5 can continue to draw customers toward the iPad 3. 

Rumors have reported that the iPad 3 may be released as late as next year and that this Fall will see an upgraded iPad 2 rather than Apple's third generation tablet. With a future launch date in place, competitors such as HP, Samsung, and Sony can continue to release new tablets that can interest customers. These tablets cannot hold out against the iPad 3 but they definitely are outperforming the iPad 2.