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Barbies, Matchbox cars, Legos and… high-end tablet computers? Apple
broadened its channels for iPad 2 distribution again this week by
introducing the popular tablet for sales at select Toys R Us stores.
Also available at big box retailer Best Buy and through Apple’s stores
and Website, the toy store joins the exclusive list of vendors offering
the latest version of the tablet device, which has been selling out
nationwide since its launch in March.

The toy retailer currently sells a slew of iPad accessories on its
Website, but this is the first time the stores—and very few of
them—will have the actual device available for sale. With reports that
iPad 2’s are selling out daily from coast to coast, it remains to be
seen if little more than a handful of consumers will be able to snap up
the pricey device while strolling down the board games aisle.

The iPad 2 features a new design that is 33 percent thinner and up to
15 percent lighter than the original iPad, while maintaining the same
9.7-inch LED-backlit LCD screen. The tablet also features Apple’s new
dual-core A5 processor and includes two cameras, a front-facing VGA
camera for FaceTime and Photo Booth, and a rear-facing camera that
captures 720p HD video, bringing the FaceTime feature to iPad users for
the first time.

Prices for the tablet start at $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for the
32GB model and $699 for the 64GB model. An iPad 2 with WiFi plus 3G is
available for $629 for the 16GB model, $729 for the 32GB model and $829
for the 64GB model.

However, getting your hands on any tablet may become more difficult as the year progresses, according to a report
published by DigiTimes. Quoting unnamed industry sources, the
publication said tablet manufacturers are facing a possible shortage of
key components caused by the Japan earthquakes.

In addition, the report said manufacturers are also delaying the
release of Android-based tablets following the disappointing launch of
the Motorola Xoom tablet, a highly touted rival to the iPad. “With
Google unable to offer sufficient support to cooperation partners at
present, many players have decided to delay the launch of Android 3.0
tablet PCs, the sources added,” the report read.