Android 3.0 tablets may have six-week jump on iPad 2

Motorola Xoom in February, iPad 2 tipped for April
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Tech news site Engadget has revealed that the Motorola Xoom Android 3.0 'Honeycomb' tablet is set to launch in the US on 17th of February at Best Buy.

The date is based on a leaked internal Best Buy document which sets out a launch timeframe somewhat earlier than expected for the first next-generation Android 3.0 tablet device due to appear on the market.

The Xoom will also be priced at $700 according to Engadget and will be equipped with 32GB of onboard storage. With next-generation tablet launches approaching, it's still not clear which device will hit the market first, the second generation iPad or an Android 3.0 tablet.

Digg founder Kevin Rose claimed the iPad is due for launch around the first of February, or next week, but such a time frame is looking increasingly unlikely.

More likely are the reports emerging from sources within the component supply industry since a product expected to ship as many as the iPad 2 will need to turn to several contract manufacturers and the industry is notoriously leaky.

The DigiTimes quoted just such leaking manufacturing sources in pointing to an April ship date as the firm added additional circuit board manufacturers to scale up supply. This tallies with previous reports, also citing component manufacturer sources and also pointing to an April launch.

If this turns out to be the case than the sleek and desirable Android-powered Motorola Xoom may have a six or more week head start on the next-gen iPad. 

This probably wont be significant for fans of Apple's iOS but it does point to a window of opportunity for Google's first genuinely tablet-friendly version of Android to strut its stuff before Apple's tablet juggernaut raises the bar once more.

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