19
Jun
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I want to ask everyone a question - well, everyone who owns an Android tablet, that is - how often do you instinctively reach for it, as opposed to your phone or laptop? I don't care what the reason is, I'm just genuinely curious how much of a "tweener" role your Android tablet has taken in your life. And after you read this editorial, share that story with me in the comments, because I'd really like to have a discussion with people on this.

I own a Transformer Prime. Know how often I use it? Once, maybe twice a week for a few minutes. At most - and mostly because I feel obligated to "stay in touch" with it. The only time I reach for it more than that is when I'm reviewing a game, or my laptop battery is dead and I'm too lazy to get the charger out. And when that's the case, I usually just end up using my phone instead, because it's already in my pocket. Actually, last week, for the first time in ages I pulled out my Prime and played a movie on it while I was lying in bed suffering from a bout of warm-weather insomnia. I haven't appreciated my tablet like that in a long while.

In fact, the last time before that was when I was on the 10 hour airplane ride to MWC and desperately needed some TV to watch, because I knew my laptop was too bulky for the economy seat tray. That was 3 months ago.

The Device Without A Home

Android tablets are a lot like vegetable cleavers. Stay with me here. They're a tool built for a particular set of tasks - if your tablet is the cleaver, your modern Android smartphone is the 6-inch chef's knife, and your laptop is the professional Cuisinart food processor with juicer and meat-grinding attachments.

Your phone is the most versatile of the three, largely because it's the most readily portable. The tablet can do much of what the phone can, some of it more efficiently, but it's also just not very good at a lot of things your laptop is - especially anything related to productivity. Your full-on laptop is the food processor because it's a pain in the ass to lug around everywhere, and you need to stay relatively close to reliable power in order to use it.

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But the thing is, only Android tablets are really vegetable cleavers. And they're in an environment where everyone has $600 chef's knives that make them nearly redundant. They're this in-between tool that serves a narrow number of purposes that are even further narrowed by the existence of another, more generalist tool, and it's very debatable if they're even better at those specific tasks they're designed for (or worth dragging out) in the first place. More on that in a moment.

The iPad is like a bigger, sharper chef's knife. It does almost everything the iPhone will (imagine the iPhone as a smaller knife) - except better. Now, this isn't a perfectly analogy, so let's not rely too heavily on it. In fact, screw it, let me just say what I mean: Android tablets offer almost no compelling reason for their existence when growing numbers of people have modern, 4.5"+ display Android smartphones.

The sad truth is, everything I would do on a tablet, I just do on my phone (or laptop) instead. I always remember to charge my phone, I always know where it is (very close by), and with a 4.7" 720p display and Android 4.0, it makes my tablet look like little more than some wonky form factor experiment that exists for sheer novelty value (much as people thought the iPad did when it came out).

Morning email? Phone. If I have to type out something longer than 4-5 sentences? Laptop, because the tablet's not going to offer me any advantage typing in my bed. Feeds? Phone. Chat? Phone. Reddit? Phone. And there's a reason for that: the phone is smaller, lighter, and easier to hold than a tablet, and the tablet doesn't really offer me any efficiency advantages in any of these daily tasks. If I had a 3.5" iPhone, I might reconsider, but I still doubt my Android tablet would get much use. I'd just start using my laptop more.

The Secret (Apple)sauce

So if the iPad is just a big iPhone, and an Android tablet is just a big Android phone, why aren't Android tablets flying off the shelves like iPads? Let's take ad hominem attacks about "fanboyism" and "branding" off the table here. They're tired, stupid, and unproductive arguments lobbed like burning sacks of metaphorical dog shit across the lawns of tech blogs all over the web. And saying it's "because of the apps," while partially true, is not the sole factor here by any stretch of the imagination.

The iPad is successful because it fills a real niche among its target audience. Most iPad owners are, by no small coincidence, iPhone owners as well. And they were probably iPod owners before that. Apple took advantage of this intelligently. Apple already had a strong presence in the content market with iTunes by 2005, and the ever-growing popularity of movies and TV episodes purchased through iTunes made the iPad a "duh" decision in 2010. Apps were a key part of the formula, but Apple knew it had a large group of customers out there yearning for a device that let them watch their iTunes content on a larger display without having to lug around a laptop.

Android's non-app content ecosystem has basically no established footing. Google was so late to the content game that Amazon MP3 came preloaded on many Android devices (including the Nexus One) until early 2011. Google Movies remains a rental-only service. There are no television shows. And while movies and music will play across your Android devices, PCs, and Mac computers, services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and of course iTunes, have already firmly seated themselves as the go-to digital content choices of millions of people.

This is but the beginning of Google's content sins. The Google Music app is ugly, barren of any useful features, and the reliability of streaming leaves something to be desired. But one of the worst offenses? The fact that Google Play's content stores for Music and Movies are so horribly useless for browsing and discovering content when compared to iTunes. It's almost shameful:

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Hell, you can pre-order movies on iTunes. I wouldn't even expect this feature on Google Movies in the next year, let alone a comparable selection of titles. That's the critical strike one for Android tablets: a lousy dedicated media service and experience. This is what tablets are meant to be: mediums for content delivery. And let's not even go over the ugly, disorganized tiled mess that is the on-device Play Store.

But what about apps? This is far and away the most common substantive argument levied against Android tablets: the tablet-friendly app selection sucks. And make no mistake, it does. Compared to the iPad, Android tablets have an absolutely pathetic selection of well-made apps to choose from that aren't made by Google. Hell, even some of the ones made by Google aren't very good (again, Play Store).

Why haven't developers flocked to Android tablets for more revenue? For one, adoption has been poor (see: any Android version distribution chart). There's also the fact that Google basically closed off an entire fork of Android for 6 months with Honeycomb by denying open access to the source code, and that didn't do wonders for developers' confidence in an Android tablet platform. And only in the last 6 months have Android tablets really started hitting their stride in terms of hardware.

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But we've actually seen a decrease in the number of apps coming out with specifically tablet-optimized UIs, with most developers lazily (though, as you'll see, justifiably) relying on the upscaling feature introduced in Android 3.2. All the while, Apple can now proudly say that over 225,000 apps on iTunes are specifically designed for the iPad. Google, on the other hand, doesn't release numbers for specifically tablet-friendly apps. Interesting, considering how otherwise open Google is about Android figures.

You may counter that Google doesn't want to encourage tablet-specific apps, but rather for developers to use API tools to make their apps scale well to devices of any size. You know and I know that the fact of the matter is that a phone app is always going to look like a phone app on a tablet - many applications require extensive visual reworking in order to maximize and make efficient use of the large display real estate available on a 10.1" slate. It's rarely a simple matter of "rearranging" things. Frankly, I don't care how developers do it - but there's no doubt they need to. I know a crappy, upscaled phone app when I see one, and it definitely doesn't make me want to use my tablet when I can get the same interface with a better experience using that app on my phone instead.

A final thorn in the side of Android tablet app growth is something of a sore subject for developers: money. Android users just don't like paying for apps - it's a sad truth. Android developers typically rely on ads for income as opposed to actual purchases, while the reverse is true on iOS. Ad revenue relies more on a wide install base and continued use than a paid app, as well. iOS developers release a second version of their app when it's made iPad-compatible, resulting in something of a double-dip - all regardless of how often people actually use the app once they've purchased it. It's easy to see the incentive compared to the situation on Android, where dozens of hours of effort to make a tablet-optimized app may culminate in little to no return for an ad-supported version, and probably even less for a paid one.

Apps are a big "strike two" for Android tablets, but one more major flaw remains.

The Sleeping Giant Is Awake

Yesterday, Microsoft finally announced its very own tablet, Microsoft Surface. Let me be frank: it looks awesome. While big questions remain about pricing, availability, and the RT version's app ecosystem, the hardware is absolutely breathtaking (the Type Cover keyboard / cover combo is brilliant).

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My colleague Aaron Gingrich opined on the very real threat Microsoft poses to Android, and the tablet market is without a doubt the OS's most vulnerable point. The interesting thing is that Microsoft is taking a dual approach to the tablet space, by offering two very different versions of the Surface.

The first is meant to the target the iPad and Android tabs - an ARM-powered Windows 8 RT tablet packing 32GB of storage, a high-resolution ClearType display, and a magnesium chassis (with kickstand) that might even have raised Steve Jobs' eyebrow. It's certainly better-looking than any Android tablet I've seen, and the description of the materials has me drooling. And say what you will about Metro UI, it's the sort of interface a tablet is meant to have, and is clearly designed with touch in mind.

The other device, the Surface Pro, is packing an x86 Intel i5 and full-on Windows 8 Pro. Suddenly, a real professional tablet has emerged. With Microsoft Office. The idea of a "pro" tablet has been maligned since the iPad started making its way onto enterprise IT purchase orders, but that doesn't mean there isn't room (or desire) for a full-on Windows tablet experience in the workplace. Especially one with dual digitizers and a 600DPI stylus. Microsoft isn't messing around here - it wants to show everyone that a pro tablet can be made without sacrificing ludicrous levels of practicality. After all, the Surface Pro is a mere 14mm thick, and weighs under 2lbs.

Productivity is an area where Android is basically defenseless. Admittedly, the iPad isn't doing much better. While Google has now purchased QuickOffice, even their app wasn't that good. It's a usable productivity solution for Android, but by no means is it anything close to ideal. Productivity is something Microsoft knows very well, and you can bet it's going to leverage that advantage in both the Pro and standard Surface through marketing until it's blue in the face.

Many of us are familiar with the Microsoft of our childhoods (or 20's, whatever), and that's a Microsoft we basically learned to hate. A company that threw its arbitrary standards onto us with all the grace and concern of a Subway sandwich-assembler. Microsoft has done much to earn the ire of the tech-literate in the last 20 years. But in the last 10, it has done a lot to gain the trust of ordinary consumers.

Xbox has been a roaring success, and while missteps like the Zune and Windows Vista were black marks on what has generally been a good decade for the big MS, overall, Microsoft has made a massive turnaround in terms of public image. It's just not as cool to hate Microsoft as it was 10 years ago (though I'm sure that won't stop many people from doing so to their graves).

But Surface is undoubtedly the new Microsoft. It's the Microsoft that made Xbox360. The Microsoft that has invaded tens of millions of living rooms with little to no resistance. This tablet wants to be your friend - to play nice with your PC's media library, your Xbox and TV (SmartGlass anyone?), and your smartphone. Microsoft wants you to see the functionality and simplicity of tight software integration.

Google, once again, doesn't bring much to the table here. Google has no wildly popular game console. It has no vast army of personal computers running its proprietary OS (sorry, the Chrome browser is not analogous to an operating system, and Chrome OS is little more than a science experiment at this point). There's no amazing Google productivity suite (Google Docs is mediocre at best) that can compete with a titan like Microsoft Office. And Google doesn't have a tablet with its name slapped on it (yet).

Conclusion

Google's third strike, made worse by Microsoft's sudden entrance into the tablet market as both an OEM and software maker, paints the last strokes of a picture that doesn't look good for Android tablets. And even if we do see a $200 Nexus tablet announced at I/O next week, without a bevy of service and content partners or some truly radical changes to tablets in Jelly Bean, I just can't see Google turning things around this year for Android tabs. Sure, shipments will go up, and more tablets will be sold, but as I hope I've illustrated adequately here, a cheap tablet isn't the answer to Google's problems. It might help, but it's only a temporary solution. The real issues are much more fundamental.

Android tablets have serious underlying problems with content, apps,and productivity, not to mention increasingly large phones marginalizing their already debatable utility. Competition from Microsoft and Apple is only going to get tougher, while OEM partners producing Android tablets are likely to start getting discouraged by slow growth. With Microsoft licensing Windows RT, it may only be a matter of time before we see a Transformer or Tab RT. HTC and LG have already called it quits on tablets for the time being.

Fixing Android tablets is not a simple matter of getting developers on board with a Nexus device. It's not just about signing more movie studios and record labels to the Play Store. And cheap tablets alone aren't going to save the day. Only Google can do that, and it's going to mean doing things that go beyond developing an operating system and putting it in the hands of manufacturers and developers. That strategy may have worked for phones, but as we're seeing, tablets are turning out to be a whole other ball game.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • http://twitter.com/rdlf2048 Rodolfo Ferreira

    David, you act like a m$-gold-partner salesman when you wrote the "The sleeping giant is awake", trying to push us a ms tablet to sell.
    Nonetheless, yeah, the Play Store (website) DOES suck. At all. Yesterday I decided to look at the store using my laptop and then browse the "Our suggestions for apps" section of it. There was a bunch of gameloft games, I was a little "WTF" about it so I took a look, and then there it was that "this app is not compatible" warning. Conclusion, Google recommends me to buy an app that is not compatible with my Android tablet. It's the ONLY Android device I have and probably will be the last android-based thing I buy - TF101. And yes, I was logged on the store, for those of you who just don't believe on me, try the above and enjoy the sad-and-bad android-tablet customer experience.

    It's amazing, I bought this thing with the intention to replace my laptop, but in the end, I ended up using my laptop even MORE than I used to.

    Oh, let's not forget that NBitch used the Android OS to play around with its platform - tegra. And now is about to throw a low-cost (read: trash) kai platform. I wish Mr. Linus not only had the middle finger to mr. huang, but also had sent him to hell, where all those arm processors are meant to be. People ask me why I hate nvidia so much. It's simple, android games are already few, we're running out of games for android. People STILL buy TF101, they KNOW it and yet, nvidia fragments games for Android with this tegra2-or-tegra3 little trick. I hate them.

    I don't expect this year's IO event from google to change anything tablet-related. I already experienced all sort of bad things with my x360 controller, yesterday I got a reply from R* developer saying "You would normally have to contact your system's manufacturer to find
    out which pads are officially supported by your device maker, although
    off the top of my head, I believe that the Transformer has issues with
    gamepads on Android ICS." Android is not about gamers, is not about productivity, it WAS about something new, but then google killed it with ics. I wished ICS had never existed, instead, they should just keep working on 3.2.1. WHY bother and deal with something that was running so good? And let's face it, this is the regret of many of us, Android Tab Users.

    So far, it seems Google's innovative wave has come and is now gone with 3.2.1. Sadly, I admit they don't have any plans for tablet developers, specially when it comes to resolve the already-existent bugs. All this time I thought ASUS was the one to blame but I was wrong. Wished I had never bought this thing.

  • Hyestack

    More people nowadays are questioning the need for tablets. Thats great, because tablets are just expensive luxury items, and as we all know, luxury items are not needed but wanted. Pay 500 - 900 dollars for what is an EXACT replica of the phone you already have in your pocket, no thanks. People will defend their purchases of tablets but that doesnt mean you should get one, because if they say they barely use one than that would mean they wasted a lot of money on something mildly "cool". 
    ONLY when tablets could match the Productivity and Multimedia of even a mid-range laptop, will many people buy one. I passionately defend android to even the most rabid of Apple fans, but i must admit that the Microsoft Surface and maybe The Tranformers Tabs are the only ones who are on their way to fulfilling the Tablet Prophecy that preaches that tablets were made to make computers more portable and not to make phones bigger and less portable. (in god voice)   

  • Geir Erik Nielsen

    Sorry, had to comment on this.

    I have an Asus slide tablet, bought after careful consideration, and use it every day. I admit readily I am not a regular user, but some of the points in the article are very easy to agree with. One reason why I love the tablet, and why it is my third most used device, is because it is larger. The phones, regardless of size, are too small for me to comfortably read on for longer periods of time. The tablet allows me to sit in my couch, relax, and read the days news comfortably. Productivity does not bother me, for that I have a desktop. Films are watched on the TV, along with missed programmes via BBC iPlayer (not an Apple product). Games likewise are played on the PS3, not the tablet. And yet, I use the tablet more than my TV, the PS3 and certainly the phone.

    Novels are read on the Kindle though :-)

  • jclemy

    I actually use my TF201 all the time. I read articles, magazines, comics. Play games (where's my water is fun on a tablet) fairly often.

    I post to message boards and check all my social networks on it. It's easier to use than my phone which is a Nexus S so it's basically a mini version of it. I watch Youtube all the time on it and reply to email's.  It's beside my bed every night because I use it before I go to sleep and when I wake up and I'm too lazy to get out of bed and use my actual computer.

  • storm14k

    This article really seems like just a knee-jerk reaction to Microsoft's Surface. Part of that is because even the Android bloggers seem to swallow the iPad hype without checking any real stats. Just yesterday a research firm said Android had reached the 50% market share point for tablets. Sure about half of that may be Fire's which I don't consider a tablet but for who market share matters to (devs) whats the difference? It runs Android apps. 

    You actually nailed the problem with Android tablets but then rambled off into other areas that don't have much to do with anything. Tablets just aren't needed. For an Apple user its a bigger screen than an iPhone. But like you and many others my big screened Galaxy Nexus does everything I need a tablet to do. The real king of it all is the Galaxy Note. With that I would not need a tablet at all. Stop assuming that there really is a tablet market to begin with. Apple has a large screen iPhone because they need it. Microsoft won't even call theirs a tablet because they want people to see it as a new form factor of PC. It will sell because it IS a PC and not a tablet. So you have a large screen iPhone and a new PC form factor. Neither is a tablet and that's why the market doesn't exist.

    So what should Google do? Nothing. You seem to have forgotten that Google is not a hardware company and really doesn't aim to be one. Microsoft may have just ensured that they are the ONLY tablet vendor for Windows 8. For them this may just be neccesary because they need to save their cash cow Windows. For Google it is completely backwards to make the end all be all tablet. They want Android spreading everywhere and faster than they could do it themselves so that they keep their services in the game. So in the end there is nothing really for Google to "fix" in terms of tablets. Its up to the OEMs to make some compelling hardware and now with Microsoft competing directly with them on Windows 8, Android may just have to be the platform they go to. That's another reason it would be dumb of Google to make an end all be all tablet. What the Android OEMs need to focus on is providing devices at sizes that are useful for people. If thats tablet sized so be it...Note sized so be it. But forget the idea that you have to follow this tablet form factor just because Apple has. 

    And what do devs need to do? They need to quit thinking about the crappy Instarest and Pintagram type social apps when anyone with two eyes can see that Android users are often focused more on productivity and utility apps. If you want to make some money think about utilities for larger form factor devices. Think about something like a next gen IDE for devices like the Transformer. THEN you might see people jumping on tablet sized Android devices. And you know the best part of that? When you build these types of apps all the fragmentation hogwash goes out the window. There's no problems with screen sizes and densities and you degrade gracefully when it comes to features like any other platform.

    The sooner everybody learns that Android isn't iOS and its users don't care about the hyped up crap that gets released there the sooner folks will realize the true potential for Android as a platform.

    • Darwin

      Dev sales on Android tablets or phones are abysmal because Android kids don't buy apps. This is why the quality and variety of iOS apps just destroy Android.

      • storm14k

        Sure looks like some of these utility apps that are paid have high numbers of downloads. But the rest of hipster stuff no Android users don't buy. They won't waste money on something that simply saves an article to be read later when you could just bookmark it.

        And the other thing is that Android isn't pay to try. How many of these iOS sales are really people that just tried the app. Wasn't there a study out a couple of years ago showing like only 2% of apps downloaded were still on the phone the next day? I mean this may be great for devs but let's not assume this is all because iOS users want to pay for stuff. They have no choice.

  • Nicholas Vettese

    I have the ASUS Tras=nsformer Prime, with the dock, and I use it as my main computing device. I love everything about this device, and take it everywhere and use it for just about everything. Prior to this, I had the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and although I used it all the time, it isn't even in the same league as the TP.

    I teach photography, and I use the TP to write all my documents using Office Pro and Quick Office. I had the full sized USB to plug my thumb drive into, and the dock allows me to work faster and better than on any other tablet.

  • rj5555

    Writing this on my transformer t101,which I use for 3+ hours a day. I hardly fire up my desktop or laptop at home anymore. Outside my home I use my phone (sgs3 now) but as soon as I'm home I switch to the tablet

  • Ray

    Great article.

    I had an Android tablet which I thought I'd use quite a lot but found it very limiting when it came to do doing efficiently. Sure, it did the job, but it was by no means quick and easy. I ended up selling it and buying a 13.3" ultrabook instead. Slightly bigger and heavier then a tablet but at least I can effectively and efficiently get things done.I'm really keen to get my hands on one of these Surface tablets and test it out. Microsoft could be onto a serious winner here.

  • Major_Pita

    David
    I'm likely the only one responding that doesn't have an Android tablet yet (apologies to anyone making a similar statement -but 195 posts are just too many to wade through).
    I intend to get one with a 7" screen and here are the resons why:
    Techical PDFs of service manuals and support documents ( I have a 4.3" QHD phone and even pinch-to-zoom does not help much with usability)
    Access to field-support portals without lugging around by laptop.
    Book reader - to read a variety file formats of downloaded books.
    Navigation - overkill on a display over 9" but great on a 7".
    News - apps like pulse are great on a somewhat bigger screen.
    Photos - family, vacation etc.
    Web browsing.
    USB host.
    Price - I intend to get a newer phone in the next few months with a 4.65 to 4.8 inch screen which will honestly be hard to justify if I were to spend >$500 on a tablet.

    As to your comment about the under-developed Google ecosystem, especially compared to the A-Team's - it's reasonably accurrate, but who cares? The reason I won't own or use Apple products is BECAUSE of their ecosystem. Look , unless you're jail-broken you can't do Jack without iTunes, and I can't stand iTunes or their policies. Sorry, but that's the way it is. Google gives you the option to side-load content and choose other app stores should you wish. I can access Hulu, Netflix, Amazon and many other streaming options, many with better selections than Google Play. Google doesn't try to be the end-all, be-all for Android, they simply provide some services and the tools. I think for the 200 bucks the Nexus tablet supposedly will cost that I will get get my money's worth. I will view it simply as a companion device with a larger display for my Android phone.

    As to Tablet-specific apps - I sort of like the fact that I can run many of the same apps on either a tablet or my phone, as long as both use the same google account - and that I won't be automatically dinged for a tablet-specific app in many cases.

    As to Windows 8 or Win RT - we have not seen pricing yet so don't get too excited. Win RT is an unknown since we don't know how 'pared-down' the windows feature set will be and how close it will model the iPads price structure. As to the Windows 8 tablet - expect it to be priced like earlier tablet PCs, probably $800 and up. Either way Metro is too locked-down and still looks way too 'Fisher-Price' to be an adult OS.

     

  • Gemmatombs

    I have a transformer prime and find that, like you, I still turn to my phone (Samsung Galaxy 2) for personal things. For one, it hurts less when you drop it on your face when lying in bed. I like using it for catching up on blogs because the keyboard is a huge advantage. Same for surfing the net while watching tv on my laptop.

    But I actually got it for an entirely different reason, which is work. I no longer have to waste paper printing documents I "might" need for a meeting. Now I just save them to my dropbox. It's a big step towards going paperless.

    That said, the main factor in me choosing an Android tablet over an ipad was because I already had an Android phone. Otherwise I might have chosen differently.

  • montgoss

    My tablet is essentially a video player and occasional gaming device.  For that, I use it daily.
    When running on a treadmill, would you rather watch video on a 4.7" screen or a 10" screen?  I wanted the 10" screen.
    I also hook my tablet to my big TV to watch Hulu (in order to bypass the stupid Hulu+ "not supported platform" crap).

    Those of us with jobs that require beefy machines don't want to work even on a laptop. So, the tablet, for me, is purely for entertainment and I don't care if it stays that way...

  • aaronratner

    You obviously have no use for a tablet. I use mine regularly and I own a GNex and a laptop. I owned and ipad very briefly. My Xoom shreds it it's not even a fair contest. The ipad would he a giant iPhone except the iPhone actually has a phone. My Xoom as a file manager for starters.

  • mikewong27

    I'm still using the original Transformer... From the day I purchase it (last May) until now... I used it on a daily basis...  I use it more than my laptop or my cellphone now...  I just love it!!!

  • Hyestack

    I passionately defend android to even the most rabid of Apple fans, but i must admit that the Microsoft Surface and maybe The Tranformers Tabs are the only ones who are on their way to fulfilling the Tablet Prophecy that preaches that tablets were made to make computers more portable and not to make phones bigger and less portable. (in god voice)    

  • Dietzbp

    I use my Prime 5 to 8 hours a day. I haven't used my notebook in six months. Any tablet that can't transform in to a notebook is no good for me. And I'm talking about a real transformation not these fake tranformations like the Ipad and the new windows tablet. Come on Apple and Microsoft!!! Where is the innovation? I think is time to hire new engineers!!! Or maybe not. Why waste the money if people will still buy your crap.

  • Lachlan

    I love my Iconia A500 (when I get home the iphone goes on the charger not to be seen again until the morning), but I maintain the biggest issue with Android is the fragmentation of versions, with bloatware tacked on top.

    If google solves THAT problem, it solves all the problems of developers being able to design for the latest OS, and not have to support 2.2, 2.3, 3.0, 4.0 etc etc.

    But needless to say, I own an ipad 1 (& inherited an ipad 2) and they both gather dust.

  • http://twitter.com/philipleaper Phil Leaper

    I couldn't disagree with this more.  I have an Asus TF101 (soon to be replaced by the TF7000P or whatever it's going to be called) and I use it consistently.  I have it to hand all day, today was a fairly typical day - here's what I did:

    Drive to the airport - Google reader, general web browsing, email.
    In the airport - Netflix watching Damages
    On the flight - playing Shadowgun / some racing game, Google books.
    Taxi ride - Google books.
    Office - on all day in front of me as email client instead of having a separate tab open (We use Lotus notes and the web client sucks, but the android app is pretty reasonable).
    Meeting - note taking, viewing office docs (OfficePro), calendar entries.
    Hotel - Google books, emailing, web browsing, Google reader, submitting expenses (useful because I can insert an image of the expense item directly from the camera).
    Bed - Google books, web browsing.

    I'd say I've been using it actively for at least 8 hours - both personally and for work.  I don't understand when people say the app ecosystem is crap - it does everything I need it to do, pretty much any phone app works fine on a tablet (ok, the interface may not be perfect if it's not been optimised, but I'd say that's better than it not being available at all if it's not been optimised).

    Conversely, I have used my phone maybe for about 30 minutes during lunch, and my laptop for about 4 hours this evening doing proper work which, no, I can't/won't do on my tablet (I use a client's PC during the day so no need for it there).

    As an aside - I broke my charger recently and had to go 2 days without the use of my tablet and it was like losing an eye - I was doing everything on my phone and it sucked - I need the larger interface and bigger keyboard.

    I think it's a bit short-sighted to call 'death of android tablets' on the announcement of the Windows tablet (which does, admittedly look very nice).  

    I think it comes down to ecosystems - if you have an Android phone, you're more likely to go for an Android tablet, (iPhone -> iPad, and now Windows Phone -> Windows Tablet) - for a few reasons - you've already purchased the apps, have familiarity with the environment, have all your data synced - and probably more than anything else, you've made a technology decision and it requires a fair amount of inertia to pull out of it.  

    I think this is where a lot of fanboyism comes from, people make a technology decision (by all accounts quite a difficult one, there are a lot of options to weigh up) and you don't want to feel like you've made the wrong choice.  So when a competing device comes up you focus on it's negatives to re-enforce the fact that you've made the right choice, and when new features/devices are announced for your chosen ecosystem you hold them up to the world as 'proof you were right'.  I think this is just human nature - ideally we would all be completely impartial and use whatever device suits the purpose best, but to be honest that's not what the vendors want and they do their best to make sure that's not an option.

  • chris125

    I think android tablets will remain as low sellers. The ipad will continue selling like crazy and with MS announcement last night it seems they are trying to put cheap laptops out of the picture and in some cases even ultrabooks.

  • Steve4cr

    What a Machead puke!

    • Darwin

      A perfect example of an android user. Daddy bought him an android phone on sale for $50

  • http://www.facebook.com/vivecuervo7 Isaac Dedini

    Well, I find I only use mine for gaming. Nothing else, really. And this is mostly because of Tegra 3 games, and the fact that the bigger screen makes them more enjoyable (Prime here as well). If I could get a better connection to my neighbors router (hehe) then maybe using Splashtop would make it worth using more often, but I find that I only dig it out for long trips or if I get hooked on a particular game - phone only has casual games now.

  • http://www.talltechtales.com/ Mattias

    Although I agree that the Android tablet platform has problems overall, I'm certainly getting plenty of use out of my ASUS Transformer. I use it many times daily for catching up on news with Pulse, reading a book or magazine using the Kindle app, listening to music either through Play Music, Pandora or XiiaLive, checking out talk radio with iHeartRadio. Then, I play the occasional game, surf the web and video chat with either Skype or Google Talk. In other words, I get plenty of use out of it. I probably use my laptop as much as my tablet but I use them for completely different things.

    Then, my son loves YouTube, he loves the imported kids DVDs and he loves the kids games I've downloaded.

    So, although the platform may have flaws, I am satisfied with what I'm getting and I have absolutely no desire to get an iPad.

  • AndreGSNE

    I Use my prime every single day. For stuff like Youtube, web browsing and other entertainment when i want to use it in my room because my desktop is outside. Another thing is i like is that i don't have to wait for my PC to boot up and log in that kind of stuff.

  • Svebor

    Ubuntu for Android? It is true that Google isnt doing a great job but the open nature of android makes competing with the surface possible.

    • Darwin

      The "open" nature of android is only useful for carriers and manufacturers. also Android does not meet most of the definitions of open source.

  • Gumnam

    I own a Allwinner A10 based tablet worth around $100(5k indian currency). The 7" low resolution tablet is good enough that i am not thinking of upgrading my Android mobile anytime soon. But i am looking for a better tablet. 7" nexus if its around $200 in India would be a big hit.

  • Mecampbell30

    I have a 7-inch tablet that I use an an e-reader. I always read at night so I'm always picking up my tablet.

  • Dan r. Maor

    As Rorison Meadows stated below (and for some reason I cannot reply to that message), with the on-the-rise screen real-estate of mobile phones we don't necessarily NEED a tablet. But shouldn't the question be whether we WANT a tablet?

    I don't think a Tablet is a by-product of people's laziness for owning a full-fledged precision tool, rather their desire for a simpler, albeit slightly less productive content interface.

    I'm a Prime owner as well, and like Meadows I utilize roughly 2 hours a day with it. My usage is divided between the following:

    * CrossMe. I separate this app from regular gaming simply because I just can't leave this game alone, and because the improvement of it on a 10 inch screen is the most obvious. I liked playing on my Sensation, but as the levels grew steadily to over 40 squares in width it began to be frustrating to play on a 4.3", a problem which the Prime resolves quite adequately. This game is not available on Apple as far as I know, but more on that later.

    * Facebook. I'm not much of a talker, nor am I addicted to upload photos of me in weird places (except for my avatar, where I'm sitting in boot of a Hyundai Getz), and browsing the Facebook site in desktop mode, especially photo albums, is a real nice experience.

    * Various news outlets (internet, again).
    * Gaming (other than CrossMe).
    * Calendar management, very useful since it syncs with my phone the minute I change something there.

    Now, when I came to the decision of buying a slate I was torn between the Prime and the newly released iPad 3, Eventually going for the Prime.

    Funnily enough, I then got an iPad 3 from my workplace for a few weeks. At first I really enjoyed it, but rather quickly I went back to my Prime, happily confirming I made the right choice (eventually my siblings played on it more than I did), and here's why:

    * The screen. Yes, the screen. It was a lot sharper, but the colors were just way off with a visible yellow tint I couldn't ignore.

    * Content. I'm old-fashioned when it comes to music, as I prefer buying a physical CD then ripping it myself. When it comes to films and TV, I usually use, well, my TV. So iTunes never was a major draw for me in any case (plus I really hate the UI).

    * The UI. I became bored and frustrated with it exactly 30 minutes after first starting to play with it.

    Interestingly enough, it's 3 of the iPad 3's "advantages" that made come back to the Prime. Sure, it might be a bit laggy in some places, and the battery life isn't nearly as good as the iPad, but I can honestly say that I still really enjoy it. And as far as I'm concerned, that's the most important aspect of it.

  • Andrew

    While I agree with most of your points - especially the Play Store being horrible - I think you're underestimating and dismissing the effect Apple has on people and their wallets. Call it whatever you want, but when Apple releases a new product, a lot of people DO rush out and buy it regardless of how much they actually need it.

    I know only a couple of people with iPads, but they basically don't use them, and they do nothing on them that they couldn't do on their phones (which are sitting in their pockets). People buy them because Apple made them, and I genuinely believe that accounts for a significant number of sales. Significant enough to not outright dismiss off hand, at least.

    My usage of my own Transformer Prime varies wildly. I probably wouldn't use it at all if it didn't have a hardware keyboard attached, quite frankly. I still hold the opinion I had before getting it, which is that tablets are basically useless. I use mine as a laptopesque second screen to my PC, mainly for things like IM and watching videos while I do something else on my computer. I do use it quite a lot for this, and occasionally I use it to make myself a little more socially available to my flatmates; browsing the web on the sofa in the living room rather than on my PC in my bedroom. My girlfriend also owns one and uses it as a laptop for her work, but otherwise doesn't use it at all.

    (As an aside, I don't know if it's just my tablet or not, but it's horribly laggy and freezes constantly.)

  • Charles Bryan

    Great article.. The cleaver comparison is totally valid.. This is what people who 'create' more than they 'consume' have been thinking all along..

  • tBs_Battousai

     I too agree that Android tablets are still a "work in progress" (I do wonder if Google were caught off guard by Androids success) but I've found that my tablet has all but replaced my laptop for everything other than Excel and PowerPoint (I prey to every god daily that the full blown office suite comes to Android soon or the next version of QuickOffice is awesome).

     I find that I check my phone when I get up and will read my emails before getting out of bed but if i have reply I'll grab my Xoom (i have the keyboard and mouse) while eating breakfast then I'll check my support tickets to see if I'll be in for a s*** storm when i walk into the office.

     At work our support desk software has an Android app so I'll carry my tablet so I can access support tickets wherever i am on site...

    While at home on an evening if I'm browsing the web, tablet every time (I never fire up my laptop to browse the web), I might play a few games but if I've got time for games I'll fire up the PS3...

    Where I agree with you completely is Apps and content, like you said apps designed for a phone screen rarely work on a tablet and content for me is just a none starter, netflexlovefilm are ok but I'd rather just pay for what I watch rather than paying monthly...

    But in regards to saying iOS users will pay for apps and Android users won't is not quite as cut and dry as it sounds, I would suspect that people that can drop £600 on an iPad have more spare cash to spend on apps than someone who picks up a £300 Android tablet who might not be quite so well off...

    All in all a good read and here's hoping that Google manage to keep improving every day...

  • Uri Shtand

    Before I had the tablet (ASUS TF300) I thought pretty much the same as you. However: 
    1. Google maps (so much better)
    2. The tablet is now in the living room (the laptop is in the closet - so casual web is often done on that.
    3. Try to take a ride in the train - every 3rd person uses a tablet or a kindle, And for a good reason - it's much more comfortable than a laptop and easier on the eyes than a phone.
    4. Recipes - A tablet in the kitchen is not a phone or a laptop in the kitchen.
    5. I'm currently busy planning a trip - almost everyday I sit with the tablet and with the book (Poland), and fill in stuff on trip-it.

    I do agree that there are not enough tablet specific apps - but I think that's solvable. Apps don't go away. With time, we will see more apps and they will fill the space. 
    That is - 100 tablet apps a month is still 3600 apps after 3 years.

    How many applications are installed in your laptop? How many are used?
    Probably around 10. 
    Apps are solving a crucial problem in Phones (screen size). That problem doesn't always exist in a tablet.

  • creativerascal

    The best part for Google would be that even for the Win tablet..people would be using the Chrome browser. So ultimately Google will make money irrespective of Android success in tablets

  • Guest

    I read and play games every night my rooted Nook Tablet.

  • Heather O Sheets

    As I read this on my Asus 300 I can't help but to notice just how many comments are coming from Android tablets. My education is in computer science so I am fairly well veered in the ways of the tech Greek and couldn't live without some sort of computing technology. That being said, my Asus has become my go to for everything. It has nearly replaced my PC and while I do love my HTC Android phone my tablet can do anything my PC can. It isn't just a tablet, its computing on the go. Possibly the author of this article wasn't aware of how many people are using Android tablets and seemed to have missed the mark Microsoft will likely botch their tablet up with a price mark-up too high our be unstable with thousands of updates to fix and Apple, well I still find them to be like AOL for the masses.. simple enough for everyone but not all that great.

  • Jwhap

    I can honestly say, once the novelty of my tablet wore off and I upgraded my laptop, I reach for my tablet less. 90% of my computing is done on my gnex and the other 10% is because I am dicking around with my phone or the battery on my phone died and I am using my laptop to get me by.
    I really understand the author's point here. I think Google needs to improve the tablet space to be more successful and quite frankly, if they don't, Android could eventually go as quick as it came. If MS is.able to compete in the tablet space with good UI, a productivity suite that is a solid in between, solid hardware all of a sudden there is a compelling reason to look at windows phone.
    From a business stand point Microsoft is attacking the right market as they seem to continue to struggle with their phones. Getting entrenched in the tablet space may also drive their other ventures.
    I tthink this is both good and bad for Google. Hopefully it will cause them to innovate more in the tablet arena.
    On that note, this is also how I see the Asus pad phone doing well in the Android ecosystem!

  • kennashua

    Yes, sorry, but I use my Android tablet daily. First thing I grab for when I wake up.

  • osalha

    Lets see,

    I read on my tablet.
    I hear music my tab.
    I email using my tab.
    I watch all the movies on my tab.
    I watch all the youtube on my tab.
    I... I... well I spend all my day on my Galaxy Tab 10.1

    I think I use my Laptop ONLY to flash my tab...
    ... and my phone ONLY to call.
    and if my Galaxy tab is away for whatever reason. I have my dad's Xoom.

  • Sprocketeer

    Maybe you should try a Bluetooth keyboard with your tablet. My iPad + Bluetooth keyboard = my laptop sometimes collects dust for a day or two.

  • Deng Jia

    I use Xoom,  as you say not so much, not must in everyday live.
    but here in china, the game is kind of different,  many low quality video is shipped with website and app (compare with youtube which is forbidden in china), and people don't like pay for app by now even in ipad (many are jail breaked).  so the short point is not so short.  but on the other hand,  why didn't you mention Amazon's kindle fire,  isn't it a success of android tablet?  (In china it may not so popular, because its store is not so popular, so just count it out china).
    This morning , I heard someone analysis that developer not interest in MS's surface.  but after read your artcle, I agree that office is a big power.
    as a developer, follow the economic reason I want to dig into mine of ios,  but feel confuse of the many platform, not so comfortable about MS's unavoid appear

  • Mr Guest

    My wife uses our Motorola Xoom a lot for browsing and shopping. I use it for reading and annotating PDFs (using RepliGo).
    I also use my Motorola Atrix a lot throughout the day (and RepliGo is fine on that too!). I bought a Lapdock and modified the system image on the Atrix a lot, and now it is much much more usable and actually has useful apps (instead of just Firefox).
    I own various other devices (macs, PCs, Linux boxes) and find that I tend to just RDP or VNC to them from the Lapdock.

    So yes, there is much Android usage here, and it is all happy too.

  • Dan is not a man

    Mark my words! The single most distinguishing characteristic that separates iWhatever success from Android failure, is responsiveness and human / machine interaction. 

    The iWhatever strikes an immediate connection with people because of our propensity for being control freaks (especially in the west). When you touch and move your finger on the iOS device there is only an imperceptive delta between human and machine. In other words, you command the device like a God. Humans, especially euro-origin-westerners, like controlling things, hence our affection when they bow to our will. 

    If Android were to put its might and weight behind fixing responsiveness, it would be a savage blow to Apple and catch up the majority of the lead.

    I am correct. It is the thing that people cannot express when they fall in love with the iOS devices; even if a lot of the responsiveness is trickery, e.g., loading on-close screenshots as an app is loading, etc.

  • Anm

    Galaxy Tab 10.1. I use it at work as second screen for my personal email, etc. If I charge it near my bed, I never get to sleep, as it has a large library of games on it, as well as Netflix. I've stopped traveling on vacations (and select business trips, but that is rare) with my laptop, because it travels easier, and for this reason alone, my next tablet will have 4g (currently wifi only).

    And here is the kicker: I own an ipad. It is the thing that never gets charged. I use it for testing and investigating UI features that people talk about. Also, music creation/synth apps; Android sound manipulation libraries suck compared to Apple's.

  • Mover_mapper

    I cant understand the lame reasons and excuses authors puts up. If android tablets are not selling like android phones the reason is because people are more interested in buying a phone rather than a tablet. I have a android tablet, and never missed the android phone, except when I think about portability. 

    The reason I believe why ipad sells more than android in tablet that is because the ipad2 and ipad3 have evolved more than android did in the same time period that took apple from ipad1 to ipad3. The original ipad1 though sales not withstanding was a disaster (atelast for me) if you compare it with the android tablets of the time ( the galaxy tab etc), but apple has significantly improved the user experience of ipad2 as compared to ipad1 and not to mention about the aesthetics of ipad2. So in all while android based manufacturers focussed more on mobile phones, apple focussed more on tablets if I may say. And that is why we have seen android eating into the phone market and apple into the tablet.

    The aesthetics part is a very difficult one to ignore, and even more so for tablets than it is for phones as tablet being so big in size can really appeal to people if they are good looking and ipad2 is way much better looking than android tablets, but however I rate the samsung galaxy tab 2 too at a very high rate. But thinking about other android tablets they are like large brick works and seldom can people get excited by it

  • http://twitter.com/axian A.X. Ian

    Android on phones succeeded because the market was primed to sell all types of phones. They've been doing it successfully for years. With kickbacks, promotions and fast churn rate the phones took off. Carriers and stores made it possible. Plus most people knew conceptually how to operate such devices.

    iPad was an entirely new thing and no one was ready for it. Not Google, not the carriers, not the stores. It's not a computer, a phone, nor a picture frame. The manufacturers are utterly clueless how to make these Android tablets appealing or functional. Add to the fact that Google screwed the pooch by bunching up tablets with phones to reduce fragmentation and you get the worst of both worlds when it comes to apps.

  • spydum

    I live on my tab2 when I am at home. However I do agree: I have no interest in buying apps. I suspect because most Android tablets are promoted as being cheaper than Apple devices, you end up with a consumer base that its grounded in frugality (stingy bastards).. It also doesnt help, as you mentioned, software selection for tablets is weak.

  • lexein

    There's an additional Google sin: cutting off people who _want_ to buy from Android Market/Google Play. The Market and Play are not accessible from tablets with 2.3 which do not identify literally as phones, as documented in the Velocity Micros Cruz PS47 user manual, but not in the sales literature. 
    I've tried loading several versions of Market and Play, with no joy. Anyone know if rooting/reflashing with one of the alternative ROMs will address this?

  • http://profiles.google.com/nikcolman Nikolas Colman

    You really need to look at sales figures over the past year before writing stupid articles like this.
    I'm sure there were equivalent articles about Android phones a few months after their release and I'm equally sure their authors were as wrong as you are.

    • Darwin

      Yes let's do. Nobody is buying Android tablets. Despite companies like Samsung that use shipped numbers as if they were actually sold to a customer instead of sitting on a shelf.

  • http://twitter.com/DenizOzanGeorge Deniz Ozan-George

    I use my OG Xoom all the time--everyday. I got rid of my laptop and couldn't be happier. It's a PITA to read anything on my SGS2 phone, even with that nice large screen. The Xoom is great for productivity--I take it to meetings and into the field. I have a BT keyboard case and mouse if I want more of a laptop experience but without the extra bulk and weight. Honestly, I have my Xoom with me all the time and have it rooted, rommed, themed and tweaked to the hilt. Over 400 downloaded apps and great battery life and performance. I guess you just got the wrong tab.

    • gfacekilla01

      Exactly.

  • http://www.seriousbusiness.ca/ Darryl Wright

    My phone is my 'commuter' device, my tablet is my 'couch' device and I only use my PC these days for development or as a stereo. In fact, if I could find one, I would prefer to use my tablet as my stereo and pump the audio from it to some kind of Bluetooth speaker amp - I just haven't found one.

    I use it for reading (Kindle, Kobo, Flipboard, Currents etc) and my daughter uses it for Netflix (Backyardigans) while it frees up the TV for my wife and I. 

  • Jon Garrett

    David,

    I wish I could slap the shit outta you for writing this article. I wouldn't be surprised if you wrote this article on your iPad.

    stop your crying and use android police and whatever influence you might have to make the Android tablet experience better.

    • Darwin

      Typical Android high school kid.

  • Freak4Dell

    I definitely don't instinctively reach for my tablet. 99% of the time, my phone is more easily accessible, and if I'm doing something that only requires a mobile device, then the phone will work just fine. If it's easier to do it on a laptop or a tablet, I usually choose the tablet.

    That being said, I wouldn't instinctively reach for an iPad, either, so my lack of use of a tablet has nothing to do with the fact that it's an Android tablet. If it did, I wouldn't have bought an Android tablet. Tablets are still pretty much pointless devices when you really get down to it. Sure, the bigger screen is nice, but I'd much rather have the portability of the phone, or the power of the laptop.

    The only way I see myself instinctively reaching for a tablet is if the tablet is part of my laptop. Give me something that has a touchscreen like a tablet, a keyboard dock to make it like a laptop, and a full desktop OS, and you'll find me reaching for my tablet all the time. Basically, I want a Windows version of the Transformer Prime, which is what the Surface Pro appears to be (though the pictures look like they're using a bluetooth keyboard or something instead of a true dock). If I don't happen to need the keyboard, I can just grab the upper half and use it. If I do need the keyboard, I can just dock it. I would probably still use my phone for basic things, but my tablet usage would go way up.

  • http://twitter.com/TheTechChat TheTechChat

    I have absolutely no desire to upgrade to the SGSIII. Why? Because I barely use my SGSII any longer as more than a communications device (voice and texting). I also use it in my car, but only for music and navigation. Why? Because I'm either using my notebook for the most complex work that I do, or my tablet for everything else. RSS reading on a phone is terribly inefficient, and relegated only for my most bored moments while waiting in line for my lunch order. Same with browsing, and ebook reading, taking notes, and... well, again, everything that I don't use my notebook for. 

    I mean, seriously, are we really debating this? Is a 4.5" screen or a 14" screen really optimal for ebook reading? Or for watching Netflix? Or for pretty much anything while lying in bed or lounging on the couch?

    Yes, I'll agree that Google has work to do to make Android tablets successful. Making tablet apps easier to find in Google Play would be a good start--maybe that would help convince some developers that writing tablet-optimized apps is worth it and that Google is committed to the platform. And, Android tablet manufacturers could put a better screen in a tablet or two--I have a new iPad only because the screen is so awesome. Toshiba's putting a nice screen in the Excite 7.7 (same as the one in the Galaxy Tab 7.7), and maybe ASUS will redeem themselves with a good screen in the Infinity TF700.

    However, discounting tablets as worthless because you happen to be okay with seeing tiny bits of text or Web sites at a time on a phone seems silly to me. Not everyone agrees with you, hence the... what... 50 million iPads or something that have been sold?

  • George Shannon

    You are a big follower, you're thoughts are everyone else's and you just sound like an anti android person. Everyone is doing better than Android. ok asshole. irresponsible writing. Go follow the next trend and buy something you don't need just to have it and say you have but you won't use it. Dick Head.

  • ocping

    So you're basically saying Android tablets are bad because you can't buy movies off Google's own service? Sorry, that's just your opinion.
    The stereotype that Android users are mainly tech-savvy is PROBABLY quite true. And you all know what tech-savvy people do to watch movies.

  • Best Friend

    I own a Galaxy Tab 7.0 plus. The only disadvantage with android tablets I find so far is that most of the apps in Google Play are not tablet specific. Otherwise, mine one is perfect for web browsing, video watching and even photo editing and sharing. Overall, I am happy with the tablet and not going to trade it at least for next 3 years. 

  • Chris Davis

    I do have an issue with someone being an android columnist who only uses their tablet a  few mins a week.   Even if to be more informed on why you think it sucks.  With that said, the size of phones was a good point.    I use my tablet a lot, but mostly to play games and watch netflix.   

  • smithnr

    I'm still rocking a Xoom wifi, and I have to admit, when I had the original iPad, I did tend to use it more than I do my Android tablet (despite my Android tablet being able to do more things). I think it is because when I used my iPad, I had the full iWork suite, which allowed me to use my iPad as a note-taking machine for class. I have yet to find an Android app that I like as much as the iWork suite. I also find the slight lag in typing on my Xoom annoying for note-taking.

    That being said, just recently my Macbook's adapter cord broke and I'm not Mitt Romney, so I couldn't afford another one right away. My Xoom became my primary computer for about 10 days and it went surprisingly well.

  • http://twitter.com/Ranmore Ranmore

    I use my Samsung 7" tablet for 2 hours a day whilst commuting for web browsing, eBooks and email. Why - because it's cheap, tough and has a decent display. Phones are too small and you can't use a laptop standing up.

  • gfacekilla01

    This is a very good post. I currently have an OG Xoom on ICS, a 7" Galaxy Tab OG, a Razr 4G phone and a Z835 Toshiba ultrabook. Both of my tablets get extensive use, everyday. News, reading, web browsing, entertainment, research and photo viewing are just some of the many activities my tablets help me with. My phone is used for texting, calls and very limited browsing only. The screen just doesn't cut it for much of anything else. The Z835 is for school work and digital content creation. And after updating my Xoom to ICS, it is used more and more everyday. I think Android tablets do have a place and they have established themselves against smartphones on one end and notebooks on the other.

  • Zerzateen

    I stopped using all tablets and since I got the Samsung Galaxy Note. I watch movies on the Note, send long emails, read news, listen to music. It's the best of both worlds phone and tablet..... Fabulous Phablet.

  • chrisbramm

    Admittedly I don't use my tablet at home much when I have my laptop on hand but it is especially useful when I am sat in the library and want all my lecture notes on me and I don't want to carry a laptop. Also I am about to buy a desktop so bought my tablet to give me a bit more portablity when my current (4 Year old laptop dies)

  • Colin V.

    I use my tablet a good 5-6 hours a day.

    I reach for my OG Transformer to do whatever I need: Internet, media, maps, email, notes, documents. I personally think that as the market is becoming more complex with "The Next New New" products and operating systems, Developers are trying to make the tablet's as friendly as possible. No lie, I use Hovernote and OverScreen while doing research, it makes a perfect couple. I constantly use my tablet, and with the battery life it packs, it has lasted me two straight days during college. I'm not complaining.

  • Red

    I also read this on my Android tab - so there ya go.... I use it every day, but am not hung up on media (movies-Music and so on) so suits me fine. Just as well that's not a priority - it's no speed demon, just used for email and web browsing mainly...  it cost NZ$80 and I love it! Even my "i" obsessed friends have to concede it's hard to beat for the money. Good on ya, the lil' green guy.

  • http://twitter.com/MaW Matthew Walton

    So, what things should Google do if getting developers on board isn't enough (despite one of your primary criticisms being the weakness of the app ecosystem on a tablet)?

  • punkchobit

    I reach for my android tablet so often I disabled the internet connection on my cell phone

  • Line

    You should really buy a dock for your transformer if you think the Windows tab is sooo cool .. cause that one plain sucks, you cannot use it in trains, in the bed, or at the uni if you want to work, you will have to use a netbook which cant even show youtube streams in hd properly, or you will buy an ultrabook and wonder why you did not just get a transformer with keyboard.
    Seriously, the transformer is THE reason i got a tablet, no other tablet made sense to me anytime, but the transformer is just awesome.

  • Stuntman06

    I happen to reach for my Android tablet almost every day when I get home from work. If I plan to do anything on the net such as surf or check my social networking, I would reach for my Android tablet. I reach for my phone if I plan to do something that only takes a few minutes. If longer than that I use my tablet. I reach for my PC if I plan to play some PC game that doesn't run on Android. If I had an iPad, I would still use my PC in this case as I don't think the iPad runs those games either. I am even typing this message on my Android tablet.

    I would love for my tablet to be able to replace my PC completely. Right now, I would say it does 75% of the job. My tablet needs a good spreadsheet program that is comparable to Excel on the PC.

    I would use my tablet over my PC any chance I get because my tablet is lighter and can last all night without having to plug it into the wall outlet. My PC which is a laptop cannot last 3 hours without needing a charge. It's also bulkier and heavier which makes it less portable.

    FYI, the tablet I have is the Asus Transformer TF101. I have a keyboard dock with it as well. The iPad and its accessories have nothing as good as this.

  • raindog469

    My tablet isn't about productivity apps. My tablet is about things that are too cumbersome on the laptop and too tiny on the phone. Reading books, magazines, graphic novels, and actually, PDFs in general is just nicer on the tablet. Skype is nicer. Navigation will be much nicer, once Google gets their offline caching rolled out for us wifi users, but I already send a PDF of my route to my tablet when I don't want to do it turn-by-turn. Bigger screen, easier to read.

    And then there's gaming. I'm not a huge fan of most games without physical controls, but when I want to play a game of World of Goo nowadays, I don't fire up my Wii or bring it up on my laptop. I run it on the tablet. Same with Osmos, Angry Birds, and (at least since losing the Game Gripper I bought to give my phone a D-pad and buttons) even MAME and Stella.

    It's also my preferred device for playing Buzztime Trivia in a bar... even though their half-hearted Android app is the poster child for phone apps not written to scale up correctly on tablets. That's because it doesn't matter to my business if my tablet runs out of batteries and I can't get to a charger. My phone, on the other hand? It matters very much.

    I don't use it for editing spreadsheets and rarely use it for terminal stuff. While my tablet case has a keyboard built in (welcome to the party, Microsoft, you're late) having the keyboard flipped out in laptop configuration is just as inconvenient as my laptop, and with a smaller screen. Microsoft's going to run into that with Windows RT on 10-inch devices, too. There's a reason netbooks were extinct almost instantly when Apple made the first tablet that actually worked. Instead of a smaller, lousier laptop, they made a near-perfect content consumption device that's... well, really not very good for productivity at all. And it wasn't meant to be.

    But anyone who actually reads a book now and then is going to want a tablet, whether it has an Apple logo on the back or not.

  • Mick D

    You make some good points here but they are badly and and misleadingly presented. For a start with Apple you have to have what Apple will let you have. While with Android you do not have to use Google service. OK down loads from Google is not as good as Apple but I can choose from many services provided by others.
    You have extol the the great value of the new Microsoft tablet with out being able to try it or it's apps or its software. So perhaps you should have waited to see if it is as bad as Vista was.
    I have an Asus transformer TF300 with the keyboard/dock. This makes it into a very functional notebook. I use this most of the time as it is available in seconds and can write many long emails and docs with ease. I have several laptops that I could use and do use if I need to work for many hours but only because I plug them into large monitors, yes monitors 2 of.
    Having said that you are correct there are short coming of all tablets, as there are short comings of laptops and PCs.
    Is the iPad the best yes but it is also the most expensive. it is the most restrictive as you will have it the way Apple says and no other way. I can make more choices by choosing an android device with features and or price. As to comment on size of phones I almost bought the larges android phone on the market but do not have the funds at this time. Other people might choose a small phone that is what you get with android devises from different manufacturers.

  • archont

    I don't get it. This whole tablet fad, I just don't get it.

    Tablets are devices which scale the physical dimensions of phones but don't scale the capability. They're clinging to their primitive phone roots and offer nothing, except a larger display. Can I run my own distro on a tablet? Can I setup my ipad as a low-power firewall/VPN gateway? Can I go and start writing some simple code and run it on an ipad?

    The answer is no.

    Netbooks are the answer, a full x86 architecture in a small package. Sure, they're bulky and don't have the idiotic consumer-oriented OOH SHINY appeal - I don't care. But that's about it, they're superior in every other area and by a huge margin.

    Apps? Please, the apps on both android and the ipad are dinky little single-purpose utilities. The number of apps you can run on the ipad doesn't equal one one millionth of the binaries, scripts and raw sources you can run on your netbook. Add to that those applications are actual applications and are designed to get stuff done. Since you have a physical keyboard and hotheys you can do stuff FASTER than on a touch-based device.

    Media? You've got hundreds of various media players, codecs that support even the most esoteric formats. You can actually manage your media library on a netbook - edit metatags, download album covers or download and adjust subtitles. You can even encode your music in your format of choice - FLAC to MP3 - and with patience even movies. Ever tried ripping an album off of youtube videos and then filling in the tags ON A TABLET? And they're supposedly media-oriented devices.

    The truth of the matter is tablets are just shiny underpowered junk. They are a step backwards for computing. Instead of making smaller computers that do more, tablets are bigger phones that do less. They're manufactured to be deliberately difficult to repair and maintain, their software is almost baked into the device making it hard to replace

    • Tsonga

      reading ebooks on laptops/netbooks sucks....i prefer a touch interface (eg nexus 7)

      i agree with the rest of the stuff u said though...ultrabooks and netbooks can do a whole lot more. soon we will have touch screen ultrabooks with metro which will kill tablets lol.
      But for now i am gonna buy a nexus 7 because i read lots of books and hate scrolling on my heavy laptop (its also hard to lie on a couch etc with the laptop)

  • monteuxrove

    Try programming for the Android, you will hate it even further.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.gardiner.754 Mark Gardiner

    I use my galaxy tab 7.7 in preferance to my desire HD phone for emails web browsing
    Using my tab alot for watching movines whle flying or use hdmi to conect to tv to watch movies

    J
    Although due to issues with android, like movies being deleted from my tab by android and various other issues I will not buy another android device
    I think the delting of files is due to known bug where media scanner deleles media from directories with .nomedia tag. Was suposidly fixed in gingerbread though
    I guess everyones android is different for same release

    Hopefully ics will fix the issues I have and restore
    I love the size of my tab 7.7, but not android bugs

  • Chris

    I used to use my galaxy nexus for everything. Now I only use it as a source of Wifi for my Nexus 7. And, what do ya know, my nexus 7 fits in my pocket just perfectly.

  • Tony

    I'm an android developer, and I agree with this article.

  • cliff_dangers

    You're wrong about why Android tablets aren't flying off the shelves like ipads. Iphone users have been stuck using the same 3.5 inch screen forever and so crave more real-estate. Also, fanboyism cannot be ruled out so easily. Anyone reading tech blogs can attest to that. You did get one thing right about android phones being bigger and so people may not be so apt to go for a tablet. However, the difference between a 4.3inch screen and a 10.1 inch is not trivial. Sure you can do everything you want on your phone, the same thing could be said for the iphone, but doing it on a bigger screen is just better be it games, browsing, movies. Which brings us to content. There is nothing an ipad is doing, in terms of content, that android can't. You harp on about that fat bloated POS itunes as if it's something special. It should be avoided like the plague. There are a wide range of apps to get content on android tablets. Lastly, you talk about productivity. Are you insane? The vast majority of people who buy smart phones and tablets do so for internet, games and media..period.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Matthew931 Matthew Drake Smith

    I have the Toshiba Thrive and I completely replaced my laptop with if for some 2 months my laptop is only better for downloading big files . I have used my tablet to put things on my phone because this tablet has many features that others don't like a full sized hdmi port, full sized sd card slot, usb, a dock port and it now has ICS. This tablet can replace a laptop easily for a daily person now if you want applications for work they might not make them for android.

  • Chad

    I have to agree on many of his points, I have been trying to find one decent android tablet, and not having much luck. They seem to be pieces of crap. The ones that have worked decent, don't have flash, don't have the Adroid/google market, so you can't get netflix and most of the good apps. I recently bought a
    Toshiba 16GB Thrive 10" Tablet w/ Android 3.2 Honeycomb Thinking that I was buying a higher end product would be better. It was a manufacturer refurbished model, charged started it up went through setup, started checking out, froze. Had to hold the power button in to shutdown. tried it again, it froze and restarted itself twice, then had to force the shutdown again. tried again froze again, gave up. junk, I don't know what good these android devices are? I do like my LG optimus smartphone to a certain extent, it is the best working android device I have ever owned, even has netflix. I cannot and don't see why someone should have to spend $400 or more to get a decent device, especially when there capabilities are so limited. I could spend $200 on a windows computer that can do way more. I am really disappointed and discouraged with these android tablets, from my experience they are not worth the hassle, just headaches

  • In the minority

    I am definitely in the minority but I don't own a smartphone. If I did, then yes, a tablet would be redundant. But I save big bucks by only having a prepaid phone and not needing to be in touch with every person at every moment in my life. A smartphone would be much handier to use with apps like shopsavvy when in stores, but since that is not in my budget, a tablet with wifi capabilities is serving a great niche for me.
    It is my kindle as well as my planner and organizer. It is my game provider during downtime. It is my quick internet check without lugging out my laptop. It's my weather informer when laying out my kids' clothes. It is my mp3 player now that my kids broke my original one (yes, using amazon mp3!).
    Honestly I like it better while at home than a phone since it has a larger screen which is great for my kindle reading. And the keyboard I have with it is a million times better than a phone keyboard or a keyboard app.

  • GamerEX

    I have just bought an Android tablet with a integra duo core processor. I was told, oh that makes it more capable for games on it. So I figured id try out this area of games, the app world. So after waiting almost 3 weeks for it to ship 600 miles and 5 hours of messing around with it. I can safely say I have the worst, most piece of shit of the universe. It is a android device that doesn't use and can't use, without a long list of bull shit, Android Market. On top of that. It didnt recognize my wifi signal until I did a brain surgery of complicated crap with my router, now the stupid paper weight of a tablet connects but my home pc doesn't (Currently at a friends house) So yeah. If anyone is curious its a eLocity A7+. I updated the firmware to the most recent as well, and still had all this crap happen. (Only took 2 hours to update /sarcasm)

  • sjpd

    absolutely spot on. i just use my android "tablet" for reading ebooks in bed. i wish i had just bought a kindle. great analogy, exactly sums up whats been annoying me about the £100 i spent on this hardly used crapslab.

  • Pete

    Looks like this guy was super wrong... Nexus 7's are selling like crazy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sharan.narayan.5 Sharan Narayan

    Apple Sucks!!!
    their UI is very childish

  • http://www.facebook.com/LorenzoDynamite Lorenzo Schoovaerts

    The reason you probably do not take your tablet all that much is likely because of Android. I mean, it is okay but not fun. You say the iPad does everything the iPhone does only better. Hmm that is partly true and partly not. Some apps simply are only usable on an iPad. Pages and numbers to name a few. Also, composing mails on an iPad is indeed much easier. iOS is not completely identical on the iPad and the iPhone. And let's not forget you cannot make phone calls with the iPad (over GSM network that is. Over WiFi you can).

    I have been trying Android devices a few times and found them functional yet not that easy to use. And because Android is built for being used on several devices they must support a vast number of hardware manufacturers. You thus get a much heavier OS that does certain things in a very generic way to give tablet and cell phone manufacturers a common ground. iOS due to its limited number of hardware and due to the fact Apple controls every piece of equipment, is very much aligned.You get a lighter OS that performs even faster on less performing hardware. I totally love my iPad. I find it very very usable. I don't want to bitch on Android. But they DID copy iOS. read here:

    http://www.loopinsight.com/2011/11/08/ios-or-android-which-came-first/
    and even better: this:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/oct/25/google-android-copy-ios
    Google's product manager Hugo Barra, when asked about them copying iOS and showing them A/B comparisons answers, "I do not want to get into this." I rest my case.

    Buy whatever makes you happy. Just stay true to yourselves.

  • Torei

    I hate subjective articles based on the own feelings of the writer. These types of articles aren't worth even posting.

  • mbfield

    not a tweener! use my tablet all the time as an e reader, watch re-encoded. movies Trnsfrmr nfinty.vast amount of storage capability compared to the fettered Ipad . zune wrks better thn ipod

  • AJ

    I use my Android tablet every day for at least a few hours. I never forget to charge it, though it rarely needs a charge (another benefit over my laptop). It has virtually replaced my laptop, and now I barely use the laptop. I would say that the laptop is the kitchenaid stand mixer with all the attachments, and my iPhone is a paring knife, and the android tablet is the chef's knife. But maybe that has to do with the impossible-to-use iOS, which is the single worst operating system I have used. Shockingly bad. I should note that I hate my iPhone, and want to trade anyone for something android now that I have used the Android OS.

    I can dictate entire emails aloud to my android (I do all the time), I can dictate aloud on open office, I HAVE open office, and it is exactly the same. I don't really need the keyboard, but I can type nearly as fast on the soft keyboard as on a netbook, and the bluetooth keyboard is even more convenient. I am finally using email again, something that I nearly abandoned because I didn't want to type on the phone, and I didn't want to power up, go to the site, log on, and then start email on my laptop. I should use an email app on the laptop, but there aren't any that are as convenient as the gmail app.
    I will say that recently I started using my laptop more because I realized there were a lot of people that I stopped talking to... because facebook sucks sooooo badly in app form that I stopped using facebook. But It sucks in iOS or android, so that is a facebook problem, not android. Once the facebook app looks just like the
    I am also quite impressed with the play store, and I find it far more useful than the iphone app store.
    I just can't find anything good about iOS, and I am surprised by the iPads' popularity. I figured that everyone would use an android tab, recognize its usefulness, and iPhone/iPod/iPad and all non-ultrabook laptops would finally die away... but statistics and sales are proving me wrong.
    (As to the "intuitive" claim of the apple fandom: My young niece tried to to use my mother in law's iPad and was completely confused, constantly asking me how to get to things and how to get to the options, etc. So I handed her my android tablet, and she was online and showing me her favorite youtube clips and downloading games in a few minutes. I laughed because I had the exact same experience. I feel that Android VERY is intuitive.)

    • FanboysAndNoobsSuckForLife

      iPads are much better for productivity. Try it first and check the nice productivity apps

  • yea wutever

    Why do people always leave out the biggest common use case for these devices? People use these things on the toilet. Until these kinds of articles tell the complete truth, they are just marketing drivel.

  • handsome22

    i believe google is straightening things out with ti omaps chips in most of their products. the omaps does have a handyful of integrated encoders/decoders

  • Bill

    since I got my Asus tablet 4 months ago, i have used my laptop 3 times since. I use my tablet 8-10 hours a day, every day. I don`t want to try and live without it.

  • Droid

    Android tablets are pointless. Dont get me wrong, they are cool little gizmos but they do nothing more than what and android phone does, and a phone can make calls. I got given an android tablet 2 weeks ago, and after messing around with it for a bit and playing a few 'not bad' games I have no use for it (accept as a universal remote). I dont take it out with me and everything I can do on it I can do much better on my pc or games console. The best thing ive used it for so far is Skype and that is better on my pc too.
    I think im just gonna use it as a glorified usage monitor or task manager for my pc, at least it will get some use.

  • ipads are igay

    I use my android tablet almost everyday, iturned my hp touchpad into an android tablet by hacking the bootloader. I read comics and play games and web stuff on it. Im also into using caustic to make drum beats on it. My android tablet can do more then any ipad. I can play ps1 games on it with a ps3 controller, i just beat shadowgun while on a train. Stop being a hater. Its your fault you cant entertain yourself, and spent way too much money for any tablet. I spent 170 on a 32gb tablet with the same screen as an ipad 2. If you were smarter and complained less you would find some android tablets are just as good as an ipad. Yes ipads own the market. Yes they are the standard, but i hate apples ecosystem and will never use itunes to do anything. android tablets are rough around the edges but android 4.0 and jelly bean both are vast improvments over honycomb( ive been on ics for almost a year) this author is clearly better at bitching and spending money then he is resourcefulq

  • blaquesmith

    I'd always been hardcore android from day one. The problem i have is the quality of android tablets is very poor. I used a samsung tab 10.1 and after the initial honeymoon period, i'm annoyed by the increasing sluggishness of the os as well as the constant crashes of the browser to the point that i would rather use my wife's ipad than to use my own android.

    From the feedback that i get from my friends with the newer tablets, it seems that the problem i have is still there. I'm at the point where i'm considering to switch to ios even with apple's closed system. I just need a device that works properly without giving me grief.

  • Maneesh

    I reach for my Google Nexus 7 all the time. My 4 year old son loves it, and my wife has stopped browsing on her smartphone. I am thinking of getting another android tablet.

  • W.

    I love my TF700, I'm typing this response with it. I use my tablet daily and prefer it over my laptop and especially my phone (EVO 3D). My three year old daughter loves her Galaxy Tab 10.1 and stopped playing with and refuses my phone. I think the keyboard dock makes a big difference though for me it really makes all the difference and I rarely take my tablet off the dock. I use it mainly for games, Youtube and email. My laptop is used for letters and such because I have yet to find a decent office app that doesn't mess with formatting.

  • Sven

    It sounds like the author wasted a lot a money on a gadget he didn't need. He uses it maybe twice a week because he feels "obligated to 'stay in touch' with it."

    Am I the only one laughing at this ridiculousness?

  • m

    helloooo all. i currently have an ipad 1, galaxy tab 10.1. sony laptop,and three macbooks of different varieties. i hate the sony.. mostly because of the os. love the macs and like the pads. oh ya and an iphone. i use the iphone the most... i do love to read on my pads and only use the computers when i have to. i take an online class and the computers are the only way i can get ito the java app. i would definatly trade everything but my macbook pro 17 for a surface...most likly ill just add it to the collection. i love gagits.

  • Himdeep Rekhi

    I get where you are coming from but same doesn't hold true for everyone.

    I am pretty happy with my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 & while I don't spend a lot of time everyday on it but I happen to enjoy it for whatever time I can spare. This would hold true even if I am owning an ipad (which I bought for my father's birthday).

    The reason I like Galaxy Tab over iPad is:

    1. Expandability - Most android tablets offer nearest PC experience. They offer on-board Micro SD or USB slots or offer an adapter. They are the cheap way to expand your memory & more reliable than Dropbox or box because wi-fi connectivity can be dodgy. Of course, option for dropbox-esque facilities are always there on top of that. I couldn't afford more than 16Gb tablet (at least at that time) & I have huge collection of music, movies, e-books, comics etc. All I have to do is connect USB through connector kit, & use the designated app to read it directly from USB.

    2. Drag & Drop - I am so surprised that everybody keeps saying that ios is so simple. How exactly is it simple. It can't even drag & drop. & I am so surprised that nobody is even bringing that point. Do people really find syncing through itunes better or easier. I certainly don't & for me this remains a major factor for not going to Apple stuff.

    3. Apps - People keep saying that ios apps are more polished & better. Probably they are but they cost money. Android ones are free. I don't care about company or business model. I care about what suit me the best. Android has a lot of free apps backed by ads. If I really like the app, then I will purchase it & I do purchase it. With Apple most free apps are limited demos & others are crap. I certainly don't need hundreds of apps. I have got my reading apps, some cool game apps, wallpaper apps & few other misc. apps & I find them pretty nice quality & they almost never crash. Yes, Tablet friendly apps are less but for me at least they are enough. I am not planning to marry my tablet. I have a life & only use my tablet

    4. Widgets - I love widgets, live slideshow & live wallpapers. They just are not the choice in ipads at the moment.

    5. Ease of use - Call it desktop mentality or whatever, I just find Android tablet to be easier & making far more sense to me. With iPad, I had to scrounge the net (& waste so many hrs) to find how to transfer e-book to iPad but with Sammy GT, it was just natural & intuitive. There are many little things which really makes a lot of difference as well.

    Where iPad wins, IMHO, at least at the moment:

    1. Build Quality - I really think Apple iPad's build quality & looks are second to none. They just are class apart.

    2. GUI - Apple are master of GUI. Their ios is more fluid (maybe because they don't allow widget & have fewer devices to worry about - Widgets I need & want, variety I don't care as their hardware is good enough) & their apps icons are just beautiful.

    3. Updates - Apple updates their software faster & more often.

    4. Apps - While my needs for apps is limited, there might be people who might be avid gamers or need very specific apps. Apple seems to have more polished apps.

    I think one of the main reasons (besides that ios was in market earlier) why iPad is the undisputed king is OS. Honeycomb was just OK (some might say that it sucked) & I think this is the biggest reason why Android is losing in tablet race. ICS is much better though but as you pointed out correctly Microsoft is in the race now & it might trounce both Android & iPad in sheer productivity & acceptance in corporate world.

    But for casual customer, who is used to ipods & is an early adopter for iPhone (& have maybe have macs), iPad will feel like a better fit. The thing is that I never liked itunes & always found it to be a nonsensical software but for better or worse it got accepted & Apple has never really addressed some of those key failings in their itunes design. All they seem to upgrade in itunes is putting new ways to earn more money (or adding more content) which is fine as it is their business model but for quite a bit of people like me, we would want an option like what Android offers - Sync or Drag & Drop.

  • Rege

    I own a no-name tablet from china that has Sim Card, HDMI, Front face camere adn mini SD card input. Minimum these features I want in a tablet, but unfortunately here in the US none of the major tablet manufactures produce such divices, or at lest I don't know any. They all far short in some area. It seems they just don't get it. This tablet that I have I carry everywhere. Use it for reading, u-Tube, watching international TV channels using HDMI output to my TV, Skype, games etc. The only problem is these no-name china made tables is cheaply made and could easily stop working, like in one of mine the batter gave up after just 30 days. I am still waiting for a reliable, fill all ultimat tablet.

  • http://twitter.com/Appledystopia Appledystopia

    I agree with much of what you say. I'm tired of the hype and fanboy mentality. You can see it on most of the comments too. Tablets in general are not as useful as a notebook computer. Even the popular iPad (which I own) is not as useful as a Macbook Air. There isn't even much of a difference in terms of form and size. A Macbook can do far more than an iPad.

    I wrote a piece on my website called "iFad" which was about the hyped notion of the post-PC world. I feel this is still true, a few months after posting it. But I will say this -- iPads have their place in the world. For example, I went to have my car serviced, and the attendant checked me in on an iPad. Then, while waiting for the oil change, an auto equipment salesman was using his iPad to check inventory and prep for his meeting with the dealership manager. Most Fortune 500's have either planned or are planning to launch iOS apps for their employees to use. For employees out in the field, it is very useful, particularly when internet connectivity is enabled with a 3g/4g network.

    I also really dig GarageBand on the iPad. The touchscreen of the iPad makes for a really amazing music creation experience. Professional musicians use iPads, and there are a variety of pro-audio music accessories. The ability to tweak parameters with a touch screen interface is useful. While some notebooks also have touch screens, the iPad's ability to dock and interface with audio equipment (such as the Akai Synthstation) makes it the both the brain and limbs of a music creation system. The form factor of a tablet -- a slate without a keyboard -- makes it much more dock-able. Form is vastly important in computing. Apple seems to get this more than any other company. Even my gym has iPhone, iPod and iPad docks built into the treadmills (for use with Nike's iOS offerings). Apple is also great at creating standards. AirPlay is included in many A/V receivers -- Yamaha, Pioneer, Marantz...

    My feelings about the iPad and the post-PC world have changed somewhat. I see iPads being deployed in the working world. Some of the misgivings I had about using my iPad as an entertainment center have been mitigated. For example, playing Hulu Plus from my iPad to my Apple TV used to work very poorly. in a few months, however, the Hulu app has improved and Hulu Plus is now available on Apple TV. People claim Apple is "evil" but allowing Hulu Plus on Apple TV is clearly an anti-competitive move. (There are rumors that Apple will buy Hulu...)

    I think much hype and fanboy distortion still surrounds the next generation of mobile computing. I still wish I just invested a few hundred bucks more and bought a Macbook Air, instead of an iPad. All tablets still offer a comparatively watered-down experience compared to computers.

    One can see, in light of the "leak" that Apple will be moving away from Intel chips, what I had long expected -- the convergence of full-computers with the next generation. Notebooks will eventually be gone. In fact, I think desktop computers will be replaced by docking your mobile device (why do you think they upgraded to the Lightning connector?). The computing experience of the not-so-distant future will be devices that you take with you, and slide into a dock. Sure, this is nothing new. Most laptops have docks. My point is that desktop and notebook computers will be obsolete. With every release of Mac OS X and iOS, the desktop and mobile operating systems are converging. Faster broadband will eventually enable the cloud to be as fast as a hard drive (in several years). We are not in the post-PC world, but on the brink of it. Much of the media has prematurely creamed their pants over tablets and smart phones, however.

    That said, as it stands now, tablets are novelties for most users. They do have their place in the working world. I'd still rather have a slim notebook than an iPad.

    • FanboysAndNoobsSuckForLife

      exactly the point shitdroid nerds dont understand

  • shedman

    I can always get the same app my iPhone using friends have(and paid dearly for) only difference being , I can get it for free. Also , usually looks and works better on my android.

  • dan

    The Google email app won't search email. That deserves a lawsuit, as Google sells this as usable with Exchange server.

  • gogoboy

    Most Android device owners are rebellion youngsters who don't really care much of the serious integrity software nor bother to reward the real creativity origin as long it symbolize a part of anarchy cult or something provide lots of freebies. Corporation for Android has its similarity, couldn't care much end users as long as it helps generate income to satisfy investors. Android Device from smartphone to tablet, I got it all and use it every single day. Like my Desktop and laptop, at least 4-5 hrs. It remind me back in the 90's of Microsoft Win9X. sucks big time. Most of it it Apps, including OS itself, are either half baked, or full of holes created plenty of opportunity for a skill hacker to break into the device invisibly. Pretty sad the hardware upgrade not thru pieces as we did in desktop but you got to move over to new one entirely. The owner eventually will get a upgrade fatigue syndrome because it's not roughly once a yr but rather quarterly something gimmick minor pop up from different makers of the the devices - waste of time and do much damages to environment cause hardware junks.

    • John O’Connor

      What are you smoking hippie ? Puff puff pass

      • FanboysAndNoobsSuckForLife

        just a butthurt nerd. his comment isthe same based on my android exprience. the apps are worse than quarter baked. small textboxes, small icons, elements etc. android tablets can never eplace pcs ever. android tablets are the worst

  • http://www.facebook.com/dolly.starkloff Dolly Starkloff

    so is anybody good with android tablet info, cause atm my tablet isnt charging and has a ! on the battery I plug it in, please connect charger, me:"wth" unplug replug and nothing change from host to usb and still nothing i keep it plugged in for 3 hours and nothing I got it on black friday and I thought it looked alright for just facebook, but for it to work just fine and then not work is really unreliable and it looks like I might have to return it :(

    • John O’Connor

      How are you charging it? Is it plugged into a wall socket with the proper cable? If all connections are where they should be and its not charging its time to bring it in for a replacement or swap since it was a recent purchase

  • Adam_P

    I use my android tablet to browse the internet from my couch or my bed. If I want to be productive I do something at work or at my desk at home with my laptop. I watch a lot of sporting events and I love browsing the web at the same time. I am actually more efficient with my time. I do all my shopping and news reading on my tablet after work. I hate browsing the internet on my phone.

  • gogoboy

    no doubt about Android is tablet world of 80's Win9x. crashes, freezes, mysteriously shut down your browser...etc. Android suppose solid, secure, and stable as Linux but justisn't thecase on real world. perhaps, Google doing a bad job? If you realize on Android get some serious task done, you must out of your God-Damn-mind.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mdonaghue2 Melissa Donaghue

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! my Coby Kyros 7" and I use it CONSTANTLY! The only things I go back to my Thinkpad for lately are using Photoshop and sending the prints to my Giclee printer, and watching Netfix(FUCKING POS Silverlight!!!) I've always HUGELY preferred PCs to iCrap for many reasons, so I'm not going to be buying into any of that, ever, and I'm also not interested in paying phone companies so I can use the internet on a tiny, overly expensive phone; all wifi for me, thanks. The writer of this "review" REALLY sounds like he's got an Apple-line to tow, as well as money to throw out the window. I DON'T, so I'm quite free to report that as someone who is NOT new to the tech world, I am completely pleased with my inexpensive Android tablet AND the selection of apps available for it. I don't care how little "cool" factor the Coby brand has either; for YEARS now I've always been able to count on being pleased with their products far beyond what the pricepoint might lead one to expect.

  • Art Cancro

    How much did Microsoft pay you to write this article? It's obvious you are a paid astroturfer.

    By the way I have an Asus Transformer TF700 and haven't touched my laptop at all since I got it.

  • Gigi

    I use my android everyday.....read myself to sleep with it. Stick it in my purse, crank Pantera while buying my hummus supplies. Watch a movie on Netflix while having a pumpkin bagel at Panera. Answer my email, and check my facebook business page while waiting for the damn doctor to realize I had an appt 2 hours ago.

    Android is my friend. :)

    Turned away from Apple when my Ipod stopped working....for no apparent reason. This being the larger, way over priced model. What happened to all that music I purchased? "Sorry....cant replace that for you."

    I now has Cloud and android via amazon!!!! *smiles* Apple will never get another penny from me......EVAHHHHHH!!!!!

  • Mike Sweeney

    To be fair I don't really see the point of tablets anyway. I just got one the other week as a gift and, I am desperately trying to find legit uses for it. My friends have iPads too and they just seem to use them to get on facebook, twitter or youtube more. Seems like you have the same issues!

  • drone

    the problem here is you use everything apple gives you and you think that there are no better solutions. The fact is there is always a better app somewhere. Google provides basic apps because google know there will be somebody who can catch the idea and push it further. Apple gives quite advanced solutions and block people from developing similar apps because they say that since there is one app that sends SMS there is no need for something better.
    Apple users are worse that WIndows users. Windows users see from time to time that there are better web browsers that IE, there is free Open Office. Mac users just get stuck with whatever Apple provides and pey loads of money to get brainwashed that there is nothing better or chaper.

  • john johnson

    i use my tablet all the time its a very good paper weight and fly swatter and it also comes in handy as a chopping board. the reason for this is it wont connect to wifi or anything else via usb and it cant read its micro sd card. ive looked on the internet to see if any one else has had these problems and you guessed it nearly every android tablet user has this problem and there is no way to fix it so if you have £50 to spend and thinking of getting an android tablet think again, thers so many things u can do with your money that will last longer and be a much more enjoyable experience ie you could always give your money to some crack head to rob your house and rape and kill your wife and kids and you will feel so happy that you didnt wast your hard earned cash

    • John O’Connor

      I would be interested to know if you have heard the phrase "you get what you pay for?" I wouldnt expect much more than a paperweight for a tech device that costs £50 out the door. To denigrate an entire market because you bought a device that retailed for the price of 2 bluray movies. Even a good childrens tablet will cost you $200.

  • Dre

    My android tablet has more than paid for itself by allowing me to not pay for a smartphone plan. The logic of the central argument here (tablets are redundant since we all have smartphones) is flawed. The author never even considers that he or his listeners could exist without a smartphone and expensive data plan. I have a tablet and love! I almost never turn on the laptop or desktop at home except to pay bills or send longer emails. Best of all, I don't need to lug around a large expensive smartphone in my pocket, just a small inexpensive phone to make voice calls on....remember those?

  • 123

    Pure waste of time...

  • Kris Adams

    Great article.

    Recently, I have taken ownership of an ExoPC tablet (Windows & tablet) and installed Android ICS on it. This is my first experience with Android and first experience with a tablet.

    My views are very similar to what you raise in this post. I am quite disappointed in the experience. And when I have to give this tablet back and buy my own one, I do not think I will lean towards Android. Surface or Ipad (mini) seem like the best options to me.

    • John O’Connor

      In all fairness I don't believe its best to judge your android or even windows tablet experience on a pre win8 developer tablet that was never fully designed to work properly with either android or windows 7. This experiment, while a novel idea was was never fully supported or developed any further than a possibility.

  • David Manson

    I think the Google Play content is lacking and android apps that are supposed to run on any device really need to be redeveloped by Google. Not to mention there needs to be an airplay alternative.. These are not luxuries they are necessities if Google wants to remain competitive. Really tired of wanting to buy a Movie on Play only to find out I can't even rent it.. The content selection is truly horrid.

    • Leif

      It's tough to be you.

  • ljatlanta

    I've just begun exploring android. I've set myself a challenge of using a cheap-assed 7" D2 for everything I'd normally do on my desktop PC for a month. So far the obstacle is Google itself. I'm doing fine with the preinstalled utilities, and kindle, the gmail client, and chrome all cover a large percentage of my daily computer usage, and work fine. But I've yet to successfully use the Google store. This is crazy. Granted I haven't spent a lot of time figuring out why I can't connect, but this is the sort of thing which should work seamlessly given that I have a Google account and an android tablet. There should be no hoops to jump through.

    I'm going to slog away until I'm using the tablet as successfully as possible, but I agree with the gist of your article.

    • John O’Connor

      I'm a little confused here. Are you saying that you are both intentionally using inferior equipment and also not using the single sign on feature of Googles integrated services but that it is not working the way it should be expected to?

      • ljatlanta

        I'm not sure I accept the loaded term "inferior equipment" for what I'm using, but it's definitely a cheap tablet. Everything I've downloaded and installed from the Amazon android store has installed and run on this device with no noticeable issue, so I don't think there's any issue with the hardware running apps. In fact the core Google products (gmail,chrome) work on the D2. As far as I can tell so far the problem is that the Google play app is restricted to a list of specific devices. This means that while I can get apps from Amazon, I can't get them from the company which should be doing the most to promote the android ecosystem.

        If I'm interpreting this correctly it seems to defeat the purpose of having open architecture.

        • Freak4Dell

          Google sets forth a certain level of standards that must be met before they'll give manufacturers access to their closed-source applications. The Play Store and most other Google apps are part of this package of closed-source applications.

          Android itself is open, but Google apps are not. If you want Google apps, buy a tablet from an approved manufacturer. The Nexus 7 is the most cost-effective one.

          • ljatlanta

            I've always had a fondness for minimalism, so I'll just continue to get apps from other sources. I can't really see the point in restricting access to what's essentially nothing but a download tool, especially if Google has any real commitment to extending android's share of the tablet market.

          • Freak4Dell

            It has to do with wanting quality. If somebody gets a knockoff drug store tablet and it doesn't run the Google apps well, they'll think not only does the tablet suck, but Android sucks and Google sucks. Google can't exactly prevent people from thinking Android sucks when all they experience is these cheap tablets, but they can keep people from holding a grudge against Google, and they do that by restricting their apps.

            Granted, I'd argue that there are lots of devices out there that are "approved" and still are terrible, but I can see the spirit of the policy, and it's one I agree with. I would actually make it more strict if it were up to me, but whatever.

          • ljatlanta

            My own approach is much different, but not with getting into a flame war about :-) The table I have is so far running every app from kindle, to Pandora, to browsers and word processors without a snag. Google just doesn't seem to be paying much attention to the tablet market, period. Most people who buy something other than an Apple product realize that the cheaper they go with hardware, the higher the risk. Looking at opposite ends of the scale on the desktop market, both Windows and Linux are running on everything from very high end equipment to garage shop junk, and the availability on a range of equipment helps them, rather than hurting them.

            I personally decided on android because I consider Apple's dictatorial ecosystem creepy.

            Needless to say, I'm posting these comments via my cheap D2, and it's every bit as efficient and effective as if I were using a more expensive tablet.

          • Freak4Dell

            Windows isn't free. The manufacturers have an incentive to do their research and make sure it works, because they paid for the product and unhappy customers means they not only lose money on the hardware (as Android manufacturers do), but on the software as well. And of course, there's plenty of complaining about how Windows sucks because of the people that use it on crappy machines. Apple makes a huge profit off of people that actually believe that nonsense. Often, people who buy cheap things and then return them go to the opposite end of the spectrum and buy the expensive ones instead, thinking that was their problem in the first place. Plus, MS does put out minimum required specifications, and pretty much every computer sold with Windows meets those specifications. I can't think of any examples off the top of my head as it's been forever since I've worked on an underpowered machine, but some software will warn you repeatedly about not having the required hardware, and some will even refuse to install.

            To say whether it helped Linux or not is hard, considering the almost meaningless marketshare that Linux has.

          • ljatlanta

            At this point I don't expect Google to do anything other than what they're doing. I already have enough apps on the device to do nearly everything I regularly do on a desktop computer. I still think it's a misguided approach, but it doesn't affect my opinion of the android OS.

            7" is about the minimum size in which I can thumb type efficiently, but the device is small enough for me to carry virtually everywhere. GPS would be nice, but its absence isn't a deal killer. I can work productively with it anyplace there is a wireless access point, and where there isn't I can take notes or read documents offline. So the only real considerations are lack of hardware defects and durability. For around eighty dollars I can browse reviews, gamble on a device, and "roll my own" with respect to software configuration.

  • Ted_kazynski

    Yeah android tablets will never take off....... This is a cop out article. First of all, Android has a file browser. Much more productive than any ipad. Seeing how ipad are chained to the you'll never plug one in and get anything off from it without owning the computer it's attached to. Android tablet apps is a fucking sad argument. I own a nexus 7 and have never seen one app that didn't fit the scree appropriately. Microsoft is walking dead in the tablet world and can't give away their shifty devices. Meanwhile Apple hasn't released a damp thing in 2013. People are still trying to compare tablets to the awful already outdated ipad mini. Get over it. Android is still making strides while many other companies are looking stagnant.

  • Mike

    This has to be one of the most twatty blog post I've ever read. Everything you say is anecdotal, and backed up with emotional and unreliable data. Your opinions are biased, and your personal experience mean exactly fuck all in actual application. Really bro, go back to high school creative writing where this garbage technical writing belongs.

  • kamon

    i own a $130 10.1 tablet dont get me wrong the hardware sucks. I have opened it many times and had to fix the headphone jack. But unfortunately im a highschool student with no income and a large family. the two computers we do use are constantly being usedby my sisters and the laptop i have is a late 90's early 2000 IBM that my dad let me have. that thing is so slow it takes me 20 min to open up itunes. Its fine for papers but all internet searches I do on my tablet. I also do not have a smartphone. it takes me a minute to type a sentence txt. so For some of us, android tablets are the only way to go.

  • robramrod

    Microsoft is doing a good job of making their services available for use on all devices except cell phones. Android tablets have more capabilities than cell phones as far as storage and synchronization with the internet Isp's such as e-mail, calendar, services provided by microsoft. A cell phone is not a good comparison to make with a tablet if you ask me, because of the length of time it takes to updati finde a cell phones features, and the lack of practical function for memory, and the accessibility and speed at which information can be received and sent. A tablet is a far more user friendly device than a cell phone and I don't believe a person should have to look at a one or the other statement when used together they can be quite effective tools.

  • Solgirl

    I have a Motorola Xoom. I TRY to use it frequently. All the other wireless things I use here at home or elsewhere work just fine. The tablet, no matter WHERE I use it moves like dial up (I know many of you have no idea what that is, but trust me, it was horrible or we wouldn't have high-speed internet now).

  • Eva Rinaldi

    I think kids are a big part of the tablet market- they want to be able to play games and stuff, but you don't want to trust them with your phone or pc, and a tablet is cheaper than a laptop and easier to throw into a backpack or car. Most of the parents I know use tablets for this- it's also very easy to control what apps and stuff your kids have access to.

    I've noticed my number one use of my tablet is either- too lazy to plugin laptop, phone screen is too small for this website and I need the full version, or when I want to have a reference document open at the same time as working on something on my PC in full screen- like a function of tabbed browsing. Google chrome's sync feature is useful for that, and don't get me wrong, I love pocket and dropbox, etc. but I feel like more services that allow you to sync your pc and tablet would make the tablet more useful.

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