Android tablets still aren’t ready

Android tablets have been around for awhile now, and have finally started to make a mark in the tablet market. It all started with cheap, Chinese-knockoff style tablets, that ran old versions of Android, eventually moving up to tablets like the Motorola XOOM, which had an OS optimized for tablets. We now have quad-core monsters like the Transformer Prime, as well as the budget Kindle Fire.

Let’s go back to those cheap knockoff tablets. They ran old versions of Android, not optimized at all for that extra screen size. For the most part, these tablets included resistive screens and horrid specs. Google wised-up, and released the Motorola XOOM a little over a year ago. It featured Android 3.0, Google’s first Android version that was truly optimized for tablets. It was meant to be the true alternative to the iPad, and Google did refine the whole OS for a larger piece of hardware.

Despite these large advancements, I cannot justify buying an Android tablet, at least right now. To be completely honest, I couldn’t justify buying any tablet. But that’s besides the point. Android has a ways to go before it can be a true tablet OS, one that can compete, stay fluid, and ultimately move some units.

It’s no secret that Android tablets that featured Android 3.0 struggled. For the most part, they were over priced, and just didn’t sell well. Samsung admitted it. We’re sure other companies rethought their strategies. In the fall of this past year, Amazon did the unthinkable, and released a tablet for only $200. That tablet ran a HEAVILY modified version of Android 2.3, and wasn’t really an Android tablet in the first place. However, it did have major sales, being one of the best sellers of the 2011 holiday season. It also proved something about Android tablets: they sell when they’re cheap.

And to this day, that has been one of the main factors when people purchase Android tablets. In my mind, there are a few reasons Android is not the optimal mobile OS for tablets. First, and this applies more to Android in general, is that there is not a strong media delivery method. Sure, Google Play now offers movies and music, but it isn’t as strong as Microsoft’s Zune or Apple’s iTunes. In time, I can almost guarantee this will strengthen. Google is trying, but it isn’t going to happen out of no where.

Apps have become the biggest factor in any mobile device these days. Android tablets do have optimized apps, which take advantage of the larger screen. There’s one big problem for most of them though: they suck. Okay, there are some good apps. But no where near the quality of ones the iPad offers. Android phones are finally getting enough attention to have comparable apps to iOS, but the same does not apply to Android tablets. Games on Android tablets? That’s laughable.

I will give Android one mark, and it’s that Chrome for Android is quite possibly the best mobile browser currently available. The only problem is that it’s only available on tablets running Android 4.0, a very small portion of the tablets currently on the market.

Before I get ridiculed for “being an Apple fanboy” and that I’m “on Apple’s payroll”, keep in mind that I’m not saying Android tablets will stay this way. I really do want Android tablets to succeed, and become dominate in the tablet market share. But both Google and Android have a long way to go before everything is competitive. It’s still a product little over a year old, and it needs time. A year from now, everything I have just attacked will probably have changed. Until then, I’m staying away from Android tablets.

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