ASUS' Eee Pad Transformer Prime is expected to hit the U.S. market in 2012 but a rumor suggests the 32GB Amethyst Gray version could be made available to certain pre-ordered customers after Christmas.

The Transformer Prime is the first tablet to have the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, which, technically, has five cores and it's the fifth core - called the companion core -- that really makes the difference.

Let's take a look at how it fares against Motorola Xoom:

Display: Transformer Prime has a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 pixels Super IPS LCD capacitive touch screen display with Corning's Gorilla glass. Xoom has a 10.1-inch WXGA display offering 1280x 800 pixels resolution at 150 pixels / inch.

Size: ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime has a dimension of 263 × 180.8 × 8.3mm, weighs 586 grams (pad only) / 263 × 180.8 × 8-10.4mm, weighs 537 grams (dock only). Xoom has dimension of 249.1 x 167.8 x 12.9 mm and weighs 730 grams.

Operating System: Both tablets run on Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system and could be upgradable to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Processor: ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet has Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU, ULP GeForce GPU. Xoom, on the other hand, is powered by a dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 T20 processor and ULP GeForce GPU.

Camera: ASUS tablet sports 8-megapixel 3264x2448 pixels with LED flash and autofocus features and a 1.2-megapixel camera on the front for video calling. Xoom has 5 megapixel camera with dual-LED flash and a 2-megapixel front camera.

WLAN/Bluetooth/USB: ASUS tablet has Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 version with EDR, and USB 2.0 version. Xoom supports Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP, EDR and microUSB v2.0.

Storage: Transformer Prime has 1GB RAM and 32/64 GB storage capacity with a microSD card slot giving an extra 32GB support. Xoom, which has 1GB RAM, comes with 32GB internal memory, which can be expandable up to 32GB with microSD card.

Battery: Transformer Prime pad (with dock) has a 22 Wh Li-polymer Battery that is expected to give 18 hours of battery life on video playback. Xoom comes with a 24-watt hour battery that is expected to give 9 hours of talktime and 336 hours of standby time.

Pricing: Transformer Prime is likely to cost $499 for the 32GB version, while Xoom's 32GB version is also being priced at $499.