The tablet market is heating up, and it seems every day a new device is announced that has the potential to unseat the iPad. Many of them (ARCHOS, for example) boast qualities such as a simple user interface, “better” specs, freedom from the tight grip of Apple’s control, and a seemingly-endless amount of extras that make them better than the iPad. Unfortunately, they tend to lack key ingredients that would make a huge difference in their performance in the market. I’m a firm believer that real competition would be a good thing for consumers and technology in general.
There are tablets currently being sold that have a sizable amount of the market share, and in that sense they are providing competition to Apple. The problem is that there isn’t a tablet out there right now that can realistically unseat Apple from its position on top. There are some key points that tablets need to address in order to compete with the iPad.
For some reason, tablets made by manufacturers that have bragged for years that their products beat Apple’s premium prices are not only more expensive, but alarmingly so. Only recently have manufactures started to produce tablet computers at a competitive price. If you’re going to compete with the iPad, you need to set a competitive price.
There is nothing in this world more annoying than buying an app and finding out it only works on certain devices on the platform. Even though you meet every spec requirement the app has, it just doesn’t run on every device using the same OS. The tablet market, especially where Android is concerned, is still in its infancy. Google has taken in the reigns of their Android OS and taken steps to control how its used with tablets. This is how Apple is doing it, and by following their lead, Google may be able to come up with something that really competes with the iPad.
The argument of which OS has the most or best apps has been made more than a handful of times. Simply put, the app market on competing platforms is thinner and younger than on iOS. Because of this, other tablets have a hard time convincing users that they have the best experience to offer consumers. There are some clear advantages to a more open development system as seen in Android and others. The downside, however, is a lack of overall quality control. Users may purchase a bad app and have their overall experience with their device negatively impacted because of it. That isn’t to say that every app made for iOS is superior; some of them are still quite bad.
Competition in tablet computer market would be a very good thing for everyone that has ever wanted or needed one of these devices. It will drive innovation, potentially reduce prices, and allow consumers a real choice between two or more solid options.