Saturday, April 30, 2011

Interesting commentary on why Android is beating iOS on Phones, but not Tablets

I just saw this article on how Android is beating iOS on phone handsets, but still lagging behind on Tablets.  I think the problem is that no one, even Motorola has released what the public wants from an Android tablet. 

The author posits 5 theories on why that is:
  1. The iPad2 is just that good.  Even those with fanatical aversion to Apple products can't avoid it
  2. Users are waiting for a viable choice.  Right now the XOOM is the only (legitimate) Android tablet option.
  3. Apple's cornered the market on components, forcing competitors to charge more for similar capability.
  4. Would-be Android tablet owners are just slower to adopt the new technology.
  5. Android Tablet owners aren't competing with the iPad, but with Netbooks and Laptops.
Personally, I don't give much weight to the first and last options.  There's nothing magical about the iPad2.  The iTunes lock-in and flash lock-out turn me off from the iPad2.  I think that #4 is more of an effect than a cause.  That leaves the choice of a viable tablet at the right price.

I've been conditioned over the years to see Apple products as having inflated prices when compared to their PC counterparts.  After years of this, I expect that when Apple releases a tablet that costs $500, that someone else should be able to release an Android version with similar capabilities for half of that.  Unfortunately, we're not seeing that. 

The first batch of low-cost Android tablets had resistive touch screens and were only running Android 1.6 without an Android Market or upgrade options.  The Motorola XOOM, has the specs for the most part, but benchmarks place it below the iPad in terms of performance.  With no cost savings to be had, would you buy the iPad2 or a pale imitation?

I personally opted for a Nook Color reader when I heard that you could load a full version of Android on it.  I know it's not an iPad and it's not even officially an Android tablet, but it does what I want it to do.  For me, it replaced a Nokia n800.  I can email, browse the web, watch youtube videos, and with the CM7 mod on it, I have access to flash sites.  I have the full Android market.  I already pay for a data connection on my HTC Evo, so I didn't want a device that forced me into another data plan.  The screen size is just right for carrying around without being too cumbersome. 

So why do you think that Android tablets have failed to gain traction?

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