But this year, the race may not be decided by horsepower alone. Indeed, in the run-up to the frenzied holiday buying season, the Android manufacturers are focusing less on their devices' technical prowess, and more on the kinds of things that people can do with them.
Last week, Amazon announced that the Kindle Fire will feature a "Lending Library" that will let paying users borrow a limited selection of books. Then Amazon pushed Hulu Plus, saying the for-pay TV and movie rental service would also be available on its Kindle Fire, along with music apps Pandora and Rhapsody.
And now, not to be left behind, Netflix is joining the party, announcing a revamped tablet app now available for the Fire and the Nook.
But not for the iPad. That version will arrive "in the coming weeks," the company said.
"It's nothing more than a timing issue," wrote Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey in an email, explaining that the Android release was timed to coincide with the Kindle Fire and Nook releases this week, and that there was no favoritism involved. "Netflix is agnostic on platforms -– no preferences or priorities," he wrote.
Still, that means iPad owners will have to be content with the older version of the Netflix app. Swasey did not reply to a question about whether the new version of the iPad app would be available by holiday buying time.
The new app, which Android users can download now, fits twice as many movies on the screen as the earlier version, and lets users easily swipe through many categories of films and TV shows, as well as begin streaming videos directly from within the app.
Check this space for continuing handicapping of the tablet derby.
Image: The new Netflix app for Android. Credit: Netflix