March 2, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Steve Jobs has done it again. At the iPad2 unveiling today, Jobs took several shots at Android, belittling the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the handful of tablet-specific apps available for Honeycomb. Was this just another classic case of Apple misrepresenting the state of competition or are Android tablets really that far behind the iPad?
The App Store currently boasts 65,000 iPad-designed apps, which is more than 100 or so applications built specificly for Android 3.0. But that number will surely increase in time. Heck, we’ve already seen how fast the Android Market accelerated its app growth, so the gulf between the two tablet platforms will not be so wide for long.
Before anyone uses apps, there’s still the matter of in-store decisions of which tablet best suits the user. How does the iPad2 stack up against the Motorola Xoom, LG Optimus Pad (G-Slate), and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1? Below is a short comparison chart that shows the most basic specs of each device (or at least what we are able to compare based on confirmed information). Expect to see this chart updated once more information is released on each device.
Beyond the chart, let’s consider which product has the right amount of tiger blood to claim supremacy in the tablet wars (note: I promise that will be my last Charlie Sheen reference). Android tablets still have a shot because they may offer things that the iPad 2 doesn’t. The Optimus Pad (G-Slate) supports shooting 3D videos, the Motorola Xoom will be the first 10-inch tablet to support Adobe Flash, and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 – while lacking a truly distinguishing feature – has a great form factor and could succeed with the right price.
I’m slightly disappointed that it even comes to this because Android should have walked away with the crown months ago. Worse yet, Android tablets are still held back by carrier requirements and not available in a Wi-Fi only mode, while Apple release the Wi-Fi and AT&T or Verizon 3G models at the same time.
I fully expect the tech-oriented person to strongly consider one of the Android 3.0 tablets, but the average consumer will probably look to Apple simply because of its marketing power. While Motorola ads spit out specs of which 90 percent of people probably have no contextual understanding, Apple focuses on real-world use-cases. Android tablet makers need to focus on the areas in which it may be able to outpace the iPad – 4G/LTE support, unique form factors, etc. – and maybe we’ll see more Xoom’s on the street than people expect.