Apple hands iPad rivals an opportunity, but who will take it?

The new iPad is a nice upgrade, but no real breakthrough. Can Android close the gap?

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After Apple unveiled its new iPad Wednesday afternoon with a typically polished and showman-like keynote, Garntner analyst Michael Gartenberg gushed to his 18,000 Twitter followers, "Many Android tablet vendors weeping right about now."

I'm not so sure. What I see is a product that offers solid improvements over its predecessor, but no quantum leaps. And with Apple presumably not expected to deliver a fourth-generation tablet until next year, that gives rivals like Samsung and Nvidia -- both called out in some fashion during Apple's keynote -- a chance to close the technology and sales gap.

Of course, it's already been happening to some extent. Mobile advertising company Jumptap recently reported that less than 50% of tablet traffic in January was generated by iPads, down from 75% last October.

Most of that decline is due to the success of Amazon.com's Kindle Fire, which launched in late September and by January was responsible for 33% of tablet traffic.

Now, with a brand new iPad, Apple very likely will reverse that tablet traffic decline as current iPad owners upgrade and new customers finally make the plunge.

But I'm not convinced Apple is offering enough with the new iPad to convert current owners. As ITworld "The TechnoFile" blogger Peter Smith writes, "while I really like that new display and more speed is always welcome" ... "I'm not quite excited enough to upgrade."

There are some other improvements, but look at some of the headlines to the early reviews:

* The new iPad doesn't thrill me.

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