No idea why someone would buy any tablet other than an iPad

On Tuesday, August 23, 2011 2 comments

I am having trouble understanding why a regular, everyday consumer would purchase any tablet other than an iPad2 at this time. There is no question that a lot of companies are pursuing this new computing segment but at this point it is unclear what you are getting over the iPad. I guess I understand if an alternative tablet costs considerably less or a business purpose for some commercial application.

Now to be clear this is not a comparison of iOS vs Android vs the DOA WebOS (Was anyone surprised by this? More about that later). This is a discussion purely around the physical products available in the market. I am also not talking about smartphones. That is a completely different discussion where I can see viable alternatives to Apple's iPhones.

iPad2 w/Smart Covers
Side note: Unless you are super gentle with your devices,
I am not a fan of these covers as they leave the back exposed.
In full disclosure I preordered the original iPad as soon as it was orderable on Apple.com. I am a happy user of the device. I have extensively used several Android tablets for work as well. I primarily use my iPad to browse the web, review work documents, download an app every day or so as a diversion, read magazines and some light note-taking. I did not upgrade to the iPad2, while it has more horsepower and a camera...I just couldn't justify purchasing the new one. The fact of the matter is for the most part developers are going to develop to the lowest common denominator and thus typically that means supporting the last generation or two of a device. Sure you might get some finer detail in a 3D application but it was "just not worth it" for me.

I WOULD have purchased an iPad2 if they offered greater storage for video, music, apps and documents as I am at the limit on my current 64 gigabyte iPad but that is the maximum capacity available on the iPad2 as well. But most people should be fine with 64gb of storage even 32gb...I'm just pushing mine to the limit. My navigation program alone is more than a gigabyte in size. I also probably have too many large game apps...but I never know what game I will be up for until the moment I sit down to play. I'm personally hoping for 96 or 128gb in the iPad3 or while I am at it "how about an SD card slot?" Wishful thinking but Apple are you listening? ;-)

I do understand the theory of wanting or needing alternatives in the tablet marketplace. I also get the fact that Apple unchallenged by competitors will do what is right for Apple and not for the end-user. Without competition, innovation would starve...even from Apple.

The Samsung Tab 10.1 is a beautiful device
But the current crop of tablets provide no reasonable justification to get them over an iPad2. Sure SOME of the tablets have Adobe Flash "beta level" compatibility but after using several of them for some time the Flash aspects prove to be slow and unreliable. Most interactive site need the greater accuracy of a mouse/pointer to be functional. Websites also have no standards about implementing their Flash animations and you get random results on tablets...even on PC's or Mac to be honest. What is shocking is the number of competitors introducing tablets that have less battery life, thicker/chunkier dimensions, supposed differentiated features like SD card storage capabilities though most have not enabled this feature yet and some don't even provide Adobe Flash compatibility...one of the big limitations of the iPad!

The number one reason for steering toward an iPad2 has to be the sheer number of available Native iPad apps available. Well over a 100,000 at this time. There is no published numbers for Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) native tablet apps but estimates generated by David Pogue of the New York Times a little over a month ago had the number around 232. I'm sure one of the challenges is all the disparate form-factors of all the Android tablets. Must make it hard to make an app that works on a 3" phone screen, an 8" screen or 10.1 tablet screen"?

DOA - HP TouchPad @ Bestb
What got me thinking about this topic in general is the recent speculation around the iPad3, the acquisition of the Motorola Mobility division by Google, the crazy deals cropping up (buy a TV get a Samsung 10.1 Tab for free, a Viewsonic's Android 10" tablet on sale for $269, etc.) and Samsung's recent decision to stop disclosing their sell-through numbers, other than to say that initial sell-through is not up to their expectations.

And lets not forget the much publicized discontinuance of the HP TouchPad WebOS platform after being launched into the market just 6 weeks ago! But if you are interested, you can pick up a 16gb TouchPad for $99.99 and 32gb version for $149.99 but you better move quick...they actually are selling through rather rapidly. But forget future app support as I'm sure any developers left will quickly move to greener pastures.

When you sit down to use these tablet options, the iPad2 is really the only "mass market" device in the bunch from a user interface experience. I enjoy the Samsung 10.1 and Xoom which are both good executions if not perfect competitors but these devices are more for the tech savvy of the bunch.

But at the end of the day when someone asks me for a recommendation...for the time being it is "Get an iPad2" or wait for the iPad3 if you already have an iPad. The new iPad should be in available by the spring of 2012 if not earlier. You will be very happy. No questions about it.

And if you haven't experienced tablet computing in these latest incarnations, I highly recommend you taking one for a spin. They are extremely liberating with regards to access to information. Anything that gets me out from behind my desk at home or work is welcome. And they are NOT just big smartphones, the added screen real-estate radically transforms the experience when working with applications designed for tablets. Be sure to check out an iPad2 at your local electronics store.

PS: Have you been on an airplane lately? It sometimes feels like you are in a flying Apple store nowadays! They just have to work on the clear walls for airplanes I guess?


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2 comments:

wouldntmind said...

35% of Tablet Owners use them in the Bathroom [STUDY] http://mashable.com/2011/08/23/35-of-tablet-owners-bathroom/

wouldntmind said...

Former HP Global Gaming Head Rahul Sood Talks About Acquisitions, Brands, And Palm via @techcrunch http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/23/former-hp-global-gaming-head-rahul-sood-talks-about-acquisitions-brands-and-palm/

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