New rivals greet the iPad Air

CNN
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 7:29pm

It may have made the biggest splash, with the usual tech-world buzz that arises around any Apple product announcement. But the iPad Air wasn't the only new tablet rolled out on Tuesday.

Both Microsoft and Nokia unveiled entries they hope will compete with Apple, Amazon's Kindle Fires, Google's Nexus tablets and a slew of other tabs running Google's Android operating system.

Nokia's first full-size tablet, the Lumia 2520, has a 10-inch display screen and runs a version of the the Windows 8 operating system. It sells for $499, with 4G LTE and a 6.7-megapixel back-facing camera.

It was introduced Tuesday, the same day Microsoft rolled out its next generation of tablet-laptop hybrids for sale. The Surface 2 starts at $449 for a 32GB model. It's thinner and more powerful than its predecessor and drops the confusing "RT" from the end of its name.

The souped-up Surface Pro 2 starts at $899 and runs all the way up to a whopping 512GB version (for $1,799) that puts that model closer to the laptop end of the spectrum.

That's just two more names jumping into the tablet fray as the holiday shopping season approaches.

On Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that iPads account for 81% of all the world's tablet usage, suggesting sales and customer satisfaction combine to make it the hands-down leader in the field.

That may well be true. It's certainly hard to argue with the 170 million sales figure Cook announced for all iPads since they were introduced in 2010. But just two years ago, that usage number would have been closer to 100%, meaning the rest of the field has started chipping away at Apple's lead.

Samsung's Galaxy Tabs, in 10-and-7-inch varieties, have made a relatively strong run and Google's Nexus 7 has gotten almost unanimously positive reviews, with some critics declaring it superior to Apple's smaller iPad Mini.

All of which is to say that, when holiday shoppers are looking to shell out cash for a tablet this year, they'll have more options than ever. In the gallery above, we take a closer look at some of the top tablets on the market, as well as some of their newest competitors.

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