Motorola Xyboard and Xoom

The Motorola Xoom was the first Android tablet that tried to take on the original iPad. While the Xoom brand got a refresh in Europe, it has been superseded by the Droid Xyboard in the USA.  However, the original Wi-Fi-based Xoom can still be found at many online retailers. This rugged device boasts a dual-core processor, 10.1-inch widescreen display and runs Android Honeycomb 3.1 with a promise from Motorola that it will be upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich eventually. For $499 it’s priced competitively, but that iPad 2 price drop announced yesterday could stop Motorola in its tracks. Price war possibilities? We’ll take ‘em if it means cheaper tablets!

The Droid Xyboard available from Motorola boasts a terrible name, but packs a powerful punch. With its distinctive, chopped-off corners and its IPS-enhanced 10.1-inch HD display, it’s a smart-looking device packing a 1.2GHz dual-core processor under its skin. It runs on Verizon’s super-speedy 4G LTE network, boasts 32GB or 64GB of storage space and runs Android Honeycomb 3.2. Perhaps this device is what the original Xoom should have been, but its only drawback is the price and the fact that it requires an ongoing data connectivity contract with Verizon. Still, a Wi-Fi only version is available for $499. And if you’re prepared to step down to an 8.2-inch display, the Xyboard’s smaller brother is another Wi-Fi-only offering that’s priced at a reasonable $399 while still boasting the speed and great display quality of its bigger brethren.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer

This powerful Android tablet was the first to offer a quad-core processor featuring NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 capabilities. It has a 10.1-inch IPS touchscreen, 3D stereo speakers, two cameras and scratch-resistant glass. What’s more, it’s fully upgradeable to Google’s latest tablet OS, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. This is a lean, mean gaming machine and a multimedia powerhouse, which should pretty much take anything in its stride. It even offers an optional dock to turn it into a laptop-like device which also extends its battery life. When it comes to flexibility, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer is worth investigating.

There are numerous other tablets out there which serve as great alternatives to the iPad in a variety of shapes, sizes and perhaps most importantly, price points. We don’t have the space to mention every one available here (for example, Archos just announced an Ice Cream Sandwich update for its G9 line of tablets), but if you’re prepared to hunt around, or don’t have $500 to spare for a brand new iPad, you’ll discover there’s a nice range of perfectly capable alternative tablets out there for every budget.