iPad CrownApple’s iPad is maintaining its dominance as the go-to tablet heading into the new year, at least at electronics retailer Best Buy. In a note by R.W. Baird’s William Power, the iPad is the clear favorite right now, not only among consumers, but store reps thanks to its smooth operating system and gorgeous build quality.

“The iPad remained the most recommended device by reps we spoke with,” Power said after doing a weekly check with Best Buy.

Blazing a trail in second place, Amazon’s Kindle Fire was the next tablet of choice behind the iPad, Baird said, attributing that to its attractive price point and robust ecosystem. However, because the Fire lacks the same polish and features of Apple’s iPad, only one third of reps recommended the device, according to TechTrader. In addition, some reps indicated return rates for the Fire are higher than the iPad, but exactly why is unknown.

When Power asked store reps about other tablet devices, interest didn’t seem to be so hot, concluding that there is no clear number three device in terms of popularity. “By contrast, we observed shoppers quickly brushing by other Android tablets after a few swipes. We think that this is generally due to the somewhat obtuse “space age” default Honeycomb interface that doesn’t make it immediately obvious how to access movies, music and books.”

Whether this will change or not with the release of Ice Cream Sandwich remains to be seen. Once the Asus Transformer Prime hits the public, it promises to be one of the best tablet experiences on the market – after it receives an Android 4.0 upgrade, it’ll be even stronger, potentially impacting the market. Will the “space age” view of Android lift off once ICS becomes the standard OS on future Android tablets?

Almost two years into the tablet wars, Apple still ranks as the top choice even with its high (compared to the Kindle Fire) price point.

Did you get an iPad 2 recently? Why did you choose it over other tablets?

[TechTrader]

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