Tablets are the hot new technology these days and more choices are emerging that are trying to take a bite out of Apple’s iPad, the device that set the tablet craze in motion. Motorola’s Xoom, which hit stores this week, is expected to be Apple’s most likely contender.

The Xoom boasts plenty of features: It runs the Android 3.0 operating system, 32GB of internal storage, and dual cameras (a front-facing 2-megapixel for video chat and a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera with a flash that can capture high-definition video). The tablet also boasts a high-resolution (1280x800) display and offers connectivity capability through an HDMI port so you can display contents of the device on your TV.

Eventually, when it becomes available, the Motorola Xoom will offer a free upgrade so it can run off of Verizon’s super-fast 4G LTE network, which boasts data speeds 10 times faster than 3G.

While the Xoom boasts some extra features that Apple’s iPad currently does not have (the iPad does not have cameras and has a smaller screen display), Apple is expected to unveil iPad 2 in a media event next Wednesday.

As far as price, the Xoom’s Wi-Fi and 3G version from Verizon Wireless costs $599.99 with a two-year contract, or $799.99 without a plan. A Wi-Fi-only version will be offered later (price still to be determined). Apple's current price for its Wi-Fi-only iPad with 32GB of storage is $599, while a version with Wi-Fi and 3G costs $729. Data plans are not required for the iPad.

Source: “Tablet Market Just Keeps Getting Cooler,” USA Today (Feb. 24, 2011)

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