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iPad Leads In US Consumer Ratings

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Apple’s iPad tablet has continued to top the rankings in Consumer Reports despite new competition from Android

Apple’s iPad remains on the top of Consumer Reports’ list of best tablets, despite some new Android tablets.

“We’ve added five new tablets to our ratings, and while some were noteworthy for reasons of their own, none rose to the challenge the iPad continues to present to its competitors,” the publication wrote in a 23 September note to media.

Top rank

Of the 9- to 12-inch tablets currently on the market, Consumer Reports ranks the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 with Wi-Fi (the 32GB version) as its top Android-based model, followed by the Motorola Xoom, the Asus EeePad Transformer, the Motorola Xoom WiFi and the T-Mobile G-Slate.

Among 7- to 8-inch models, the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Samsung Galaxy Tab with WiFi ranked first and second, respectively, followed by Research In Motion’s PlayBook, the HTC Flyer Tablet and the ViewSonic ViewPad 7.

In its new “Electronics Buying Guide”, Consumer Reports claims it received Hewlett-Packard’s TouchPad and the Toshiba Thrive “too late for full testing”.

Analysts generally see the iPad as dominating the tablet market for the near future.

“We do not expect iPad 3 this year, but there’s no rush,” J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz wrote in a 19 September research note quoted by Fortune. “The other tablet entrants have stumbled. Offerings by [Motorola Mobility] and [Research In Motion] have been the latest disappointments. Also, we had the opportunity to demo Sony’s tablet before its launch. We were not impressed.”

Losing ground

In the longer term, research firm Gartner also suggested that the iPad will continue to hold the lion’s share of the market – although it will eventually lose more ground to Android.

“We expect Apple to maintain a market share lead throughout our forecast period by commanding more than 50 percent of the market until 2014,” Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, wrote in a 22 September statement accompanying a research note. “This is because Apple delivers a superior and unified user experience across its hardware, software and services.”

Competitors need to offer something similar, she added, if they want to carve away market share from Apple. “Apple had the foresight to create this market and in doing that planned for it as far as component supplies such as memory and screen,” Milanesi wrote. “This allowed Apple to bring the iPad out at a very competitive price and no compromise in experience among the different models.”