Apple iPad 2 launch caught its rivals off-guard, as it upped the ante with a slimmer, faster and lighter rendition while retaining the virtues of the older iPad.

The hardest blow to Apple rivals was that the sequel to the iPad arrived, sans any price hike. The two key factors that have set the competition running for cover are iPad 2's slimmer and lighter form factor and price. Samsung vice president Lee Don-joo told Yonhap News Agency: We will have to improve the parts that are inadequate, Apple made it very thin.

Samsung released its Galaxy Tab with a 10.1-inch display at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. Samsung's confession of inadequate parts had stoked rumors that Samsung would put its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet through a trimming regimen prior to its launch. However, T3 reported that Samsung will not alter its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet to take on iPad 2.

If these tablets from Apple and Samsung are juxtaposed, the Galaxy Tab. 10.1 certainly comes out as a worthy competitor to iPad 2 compared to any other Android tablet out there.

OS

Apple's iPad 2 runs on iOS 4.3 which will usher in a faster Safari browser, enhancements to AirPlay and new iTunes Home Sharing feature. Top Tech Reviews reported that the latest version of iOS, the iOS 4.3, brings an enhanced version of Apple's Nitro JavaScript which allows iOS-based devices to run JavaScript at faster rate. Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 is runs on Android 3.0 or Honeycomb juice which brings the benefits of multi-tasking and customizable widgets to the tablet.

Display, Weight and Thickness:

Samsung Galaxy offers a 10.1-inch display with 1280x800 screen resolution which betters Apple's 9.7-inch display with 1024x768 screen resolution. The Galaxy Tab achieves the specifications without tipping the scales at 1.3 pounds. The iPad 2 also weighs 1.3 pounds but is thinner as it measures 0.34 inches in depth while the Galaxy Tab 10.1 measures about 0.43inch. Samsung Galaxy 10.1 is certainly pretty close to offering the same differentiation which iPad 2 offers in terms of display, size and thickness.

WSJ earlier reported that Apple has placed a $7.8 billion order for key components used in hand-held devices from Samsung Electronics Co. for this year. Apple is sourcing liquid crystal displays, processors and NAND flash memory chips from Samsung. The completion of the contract will crown Apple as Samsung's largest customer. Possibly because Samsung manufactures parts for Apple, so it understands the form-factor, size and thinness issues better than other players.

Memory:

On the memory front iPad 2 comes in 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB option while Galaxy Tab 10.1 comes in 16 GB and 32 GB configuration. When it comes to RAM both Samsung and Apple haves not revealed their RAM specifications. Forbes, citing an Apple employee, claims that iPad 2 offers 512 MB. However, the current breed of Android 3.0 or Honeycomb tablets like Motorola Xoom offer 1GB in RAM thus pointing to a possibility that Galaxy Tab 10.1 could also sport a 1GB RAM. Its currently selling Galaxy Tab 7-inch tablet offers 512 MB in RAM.

Processor:

Apple introduced its new A5 processor with the iPad 2. Engadget reported its experience with the new iPad 2 as insanely fast. The speed bump is courtesy its dual-core 1GHz A5 system-on-a-chip (SoC). Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is also powered by a 1GHz dual-core chip. While Samsung has not disclosed the brand of the chip used, it is widely believed that the chip will be could be Samsung's new dual-core line of processors called Exynos. Apple's A4 SoC chip which is powers the older iPad is manufactured by Samsung.

PC Magazine quoting Korea Times reported in January that Samsung had signed an agreement with Apple to quadruple production of processors with the fallout being that Samsung's semiconductor division will be manufacturing more chips for Apple rather than their own line of Galaxy devices.

Camera:

On the camera front Galaxy Tab 10.1 offers 8MP rear-facing and 2MP front-facing camera. It is reported that Galaxy Tab offers 1080p in video capture support. Apple iPad 2 on the other hand also sports both a rear-facing and a front-facing VGA camera, although it has not revealed the specifications of the cameras.

On the battery front iPad 2 returns 10 hours in battery life while Galaxy Tab 10.1 battery life details have not been revealed, but Android 3.0 has certainly increased the battery life in Android tablets, as showcased by Xoom's 10 hours battery life.

The key point of difference will be pricing as iPad 2's prices start with $499 for a 16GB WiFi model and goes all the way to $829 for a 64GB WiFi +3G model. Thus it is to be seen if Samsung can match this pricing. The common malaise for Android 3.0 tablets is that they are expensive. The issue is underscored by Motorola Xoom's pricing, as it is priced at $799 without a contract and at $599 with a two-year contract. The closest model to Xoom, the iPad 2 with 32 GB internal memory and Wi-Fi and 3G costs $729.

Here is a comparison between Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Apple iPad 2:

 Apple iPad 2Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
OSiOS 4.3Android 3.0
ProcessorA5 dual-core 1GHz1 Ghz dual-core
Display9.7-inch10.1-inch
Resolution1024x7681280x800
Memory16/32/64 GB16 GB/32 GB
RAMN.A512 MB
Camera2 cameras rear and front facing8 MP rear-facing, 2 MP front
Video Capture720p1080p
Video Playback720p1080p
SensorsAccelerometer, Gyroscope, Ambient light sensor, compassGyroscope, Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity
Wi-Fi802.11 a/b/g/n802.11a/b/g/n
Battery10 hrsN.A
Depth0.34 inch0.43 inch
Weight1.3 pounds1.3 pounds