2010 is said to be the “Year of Tablets” & it has been proved right with the success of Apple iPad. The phenomenal success of iPad has led to a huge splurge of Tablets which includes many soon to be released & a few available tablets (like Samsung Galaxy tab). This year & the next year will be for the tablets hands down.
Most of these Tablets will be based on Android, Blackberry & HP’s WebOS. As majority of tablets that are lined up for release are based on Android, it should be the clear choice for users. Tablets of all shapes, sizes & configuration will be available within an year but not all will be a able to make it big. So, it makes very important to consider various factors for deciding your new Android Tablets.
Some of the things which I will consider before making any purchase are-
Proper Screen Size
iPad has been criticized by many for its square-ish screen size. They say its no joy to watch widescreen movies on it. iPad & other tablets are made to be your companion in every aspect be it entertainment or productivity.
Widescreen tablet becomes just another cell phone when used in portrait mode, cramped up for screen estate. Tablets should be made to ease the use no matter how its held. iPad is a great example, it makes things much easier when switched to landscape, like in email app it offers a single pane view whereas it adds an extra pane with list of emails in one pane & email view in second when in landscape mode.
The two most important form factors are devices that go in a bag with other things and pocket-able devices to carry along. The 5-7″ screen therefore makes the worst form factor devices. A 5-7″ screen makes devices way too big to fit comfortably in most pockets and too large to use as a phone holding it up to the face. A screen that size though is too small to convey the advantages that a tablet form factor brings to market in terms of content consumption and creation. Once a device is no longer pocket-able, vendors should focus on larger screen sizes and batteries. Once it’s going to go in a bag or case, there’s no reason to skimp on either.
Latest Android Version
Gingerbread (Android 3.0) is all set to release within a month or two but it looks like many tablets will ship with older versions of Android & will be upgradeable sometime in the future. That’s a red flag for me. One should never buy a device with an outdated platform on the promise of upgradeability. Android 1.5 is not optimized at all for the large form factor and despite vendor best intentions, planned upgrades sometimes never appear or appear so late in time as to be useless. Hopefully, we’ll see more devices ship with at least Android 2.1.
Support for Android Marketplace
Sure there are Alternative Markets to download Android Apps but without full Android marketplace support, devices built on Android will die. A fragmented apps market is bad for Google and Android so expect no support from Google for devices that can’t pass compatibility tests and therefore can’t gain access to Google’s applications and the Android marketplace. Vendors need to beware of creating devices with poor app support where some apps work and some don’t. Vendor-specific Android marketplaces will likely never get the traction they need to support a proper ecosystem and will quickly be abandoned by the market.
iPad worked in no small part because it tied into both Apple’s app store and the iTunes store. Competing platforms need a place where consumers can obtain legal content – audio, video and print – for their devices. Without that part of the story, consumers’ real world usage will be severely limited.
I think it’s good that we are seeing some heated competition in the tablet space. Apple’s iPad has set the bar and that functionality is now the table stakes for the industry. Vendors must build devices that at least equal the iPad experience, offer clear differentiation and features or exceed what Apple has delivered. Let’s see who will step up to the game and raise the bar.
This is a guest post by Nabeel Ahmed who is an enthusiastic new blogger who writes about Technology, WordPress & Social Media on Mushive. You can also follow him on twitter @mushive.