Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Tablets – Apple Versus Android

According to Devindra Hardawar Apple's new iPad: [is] a stark reminder why few Android tablets matter:

My biggest takeaway from using the new iPad? It feels so much better than any Android tablet that I’ve tested (and that’sa lotof tablets), that it’s sort of embarrassing for Google.

The big difference is in how Apple and Google are approaching tablets. Apple is pushing the iPad as an entirely different platform from the iPhone, with apps that cater to its larger screen.

Android tablet makers like Samsung, on the other hand, initially just recreated the Android phone experience on slates. That was mostly Google’s fault, since Android wasn’t optimized for tablets until Android 3.0 “Honeycomb.” With that release came a few Android apps targeted at tablets, but it was still nowhere near the app frenzy that the iPad has seen.

For any mobile platform, it all comes down to the apps: Apple has pushed developers to create iPad apps, and the general success of the platform is also luring developers to upgrade their apps as well. There are now over 200,000 iPad apps available on the App Store, out of a total of 550,000 iOS apps. Meanwhile, there are only a relative handful of Android tablet apps available. (I haven’t seen an exact count of Android tablet apps lately, but from browsing around Google Play, I figure there are a few hundred.)

Google’s Android head Andy Rubin said the company is aiming to “double-down” on tablets this year, but unless Google fundamentally rethinks how it’s approaching tablets and developers, I don’t have much hope for the future of Android slates. (Microsoft may have a stronger iPad competitor right out the gate with Windows 8.)

Honestly, even the iPad 2 offers a better experience than any Android tablet I’ve seen, even with its slightly lower specs. But the new iPad’s Retina Display, as well as its faster graphics, put it on another level entirely.

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