Want an iPad alternative? Wait for Android 3.0

Google’s Android OS has done wonders for companies looking at competing with Apple’s iPhone. It has applications, a strong web browser and allows manufacturers to focus on device hardware or and other ways to differentiate their products. When rumors began solidifying around Apple’s iPad, which runs on the same OS as its popular iPhone products, many manufacturers quickly began working on iPad competitors. Those manufacturers (Asus, Dell, MSI, Samsung and more) have decided that they would also adopt the strategy of using the one OS on multiple device types. However, the truth is that Android simply isn’t ready.

The first issue with Android on tablets is that there isn’t a reference hardware design for Android tablets, meaning that applications have to be designed with a large range of hardware configurations in mind (a problem that also exists with Android on phones). Tablets running Android do not have access to the Android marketplace, and so far manufacturers have opted to create their own marketplaces for their devices – but with developers already being flooded with marketplaces and devices to develop for, this is not an ideal solution. Even standard Google applications aren't available on Android tablets, such as  Google Maps and Gmail. Although Google is not encouraging Android tablets at the moment, it has noticed the tablet-trend and appears to be answering those demands with Android 3.0.

Gingerbread, Android 3.0’s codename, is rumored to have minimum requirements similar to those of Windows Phone 7 (1GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM), but will also introduce support for larger screens/resolutions (possibly up to 1366x768) which will be perfectly sized for Android tablets along with a revamped UI. If all goes to plan, Android 3.0 will be the Android OS that manufacturers have been looking for – and should solve the multiple-marketplace problem that’s currently troubling developers. It’s expected that Android 3.0 will launch before the years end, but that might not be soon enough for those itching to get their hands on an iPad competitor such as the Eee Pad, WindPad or Galaxy Tab. For those people, they need to be aware that there’s no guarantee that those devices will receive an Android 3.0 makeover when Google releases that anticipated update later this year – especially if they don’t meet the (rumored) minimum hardware requirements.

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What android needs very badly is international language support. It needs to support unicode so it takes off in the international market. Right now, for me, it's disappointing that I can't read sites in my language.

Oh no, you mean Android is not going to be completely open now? Wonder if the Google open platform lovers will make mention of this. Looks like even google has figured out that this is the way to go. Took MS 10+ years with their phone to figure this one out.

i think that while apple has a fully tied in os and hardware..android is not quite in the same boat when it comes to their requirements..but im not sure this will be the best move for google..since they have already a google os in the works..so android for an 'ipad-designed' alternative doesnt seem to make much sense..

nope not going to happen i'll wait to see what Microsoft has to offer if its not that good i'll end up buying apple ipad. android does not have place in my choices

What happened with Chrome OS, I thought that was being build for tablets as well or is Google just sticking with Android now?

I always wanted a tablet computer but they were always too expensive to justify. When the iPad came out I thought it was silly to make the screen resolution 4:3 and not wide screen. So I thought I would replace my net book with one of the convertible ones that have come out. When I tried too read books and PDFs on it the screen resolution was all wrong. So I ended up buying a iPad. No it is not magical but works for all the things I need a tablet to do except inking. I do not use it to replace my net book, just as a reader, to read email (it is great to read email but it doesn't manage it very well), and light web browser. In my opinion all the tablets that are coming out are not going to be adequate for the multiple uses that they will want a tablet to do with a wide screen resolution. I really wanted MS to make the courier but had to settle for something else.

I love my ipad and its ease of use. I use it to read neowin and surf the net, watch youtube and its easier for me because I don't have to walk over and boot up my PC, the ipad is already there open and ready. It lies on the keyboard dock on my kitchen table and its great for the quick google or to check my emails. I still use my computer for Games, Office and all that stuff but the ipad has actually transformed my computing and made it alot easier. I didn't wait for android as I believe it is too fragmented for the moment and I will wait until I see an android solution that guarentees me a proper app store and updates for the foreseeable future. OOPs this was meant to be a reply to KSib LOL

So, here's my question for you Neowin: What do you (YOU, not people in general) use a tablet for? Is it to complement your PC? Do you have it instead of a laptop or netbook? Did you buy the iPad just because Apple made it and it looks cool? I just wanna know.

Don't get me wrong, if someone GAVE me one I'd totally use it to read news and look at youtube stuff and all that jazz (cept playing games prolly), but I wanna know what the stats are on people who bought one.

KSib said,
So, here's my question for you Neowin: What do you (YOU, not people in general) use a tablet for? Is it to complement your PC? Do you have it instead of a laptop or netbook? Did you buy the iPad just because Apple made it and it looks cool? I just wanna know.

Don't get me wrong, if someone GAVE me one I'd totally use it to read news and look at youtube stuff and all that jazz (cept playing games prolly), but I wanna know what the stats are on people who bought one.

It's replaced a laptop for most basic browsing which I've had for a very long time. I still have a desktop for major work though. I'd say it'll complement a desktop decently well if you know its limitations, but laptop only users are more iffy.

I use it as a device to browse internet, check email, look up maps, youtube, internet radio etc all around the house.
The best things about it are the battery life, no heat/fan noise, higher resolution than my netbook. I also think the 4:3 ratio is the best size, the Samsung tab looks too stretched for my liking.

I don't have to 'work on the go' any more, so it is a perfect netbook replacement for me. I haven't even taken the iPad out of the house.

If I had one, I'd carry it with me just about everywhere. It would not replace my desktop, but it would replace my laptop for some tasks.

Primarily, I want a tablet to take notes using OneNote. I would have bought an iPad if OneNote were available for it, but it appears I'm waiting for a Win7-based tablet.

torrentthief said,
meh, just buy a netbook with windows 7 on

If you find me one with decent resolution and a touchscreen that i can flip around and place over the keyboard sure
I think Asus have one in their Eee line but it's just crap so no thanks

Leonick said,

If you find me one with decent resolution and a touchscreen that i can flip around and place over the keyboard sure
I think Asus have one in their Eee line but it's just crap so no thanks
It's called a convertible, there are plenty of models around from ASUS, Lenovo, Dell, HP, etc.

Leonick said,

If you find me one with decent resolution and a touchscreen that i can flip around and place over the keyboard sure
I think Asus have one in their Eee line but it's just crap so no thanks

Hey! It actually works! I have one - the ASUS T101MT. I freakin LOVE it! <3

Leonick said,

If you find me one with decent resolution and a touchscreen that i can flip around and place over the keyboard sure
I think Asus have one in their Eee line but it's just crap so no thanks

... and running an OS designed for a touch interface.

Right now, there's only the iPad. Android OS will be interesting on a tablet though. Windows 7 is not. It's annoying like hell to use with a touch interface, since its widgets and window management weren't designed for it.


Gingerbread, Android 3.0's codename, is rumored to have a minimum requirements similar to those of Windows Phone 7 (1GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM)

This rumor has already been debunked in numerous places. They are recommended specs, not minimum.

I don't understand why they don't have access to the marketplace. Do they need a license from Google or something?

Stonos said,
I don't understand why they don't have access to the marketplace. Do they need a license from Google or something?

Google _at this point_ only allows redistribution of the marketplace on phone hardware. So tablets that also have call functionality can put it on the device, tablets that don't, can't.

Hey randomevent,
I actually work for ASUS and those tablets are 'expected' to come out Q1 2011. Keep in mind that ASUS's Eee Pad range will be on Andrioid until that date - unless they decide to go Android all the way.

randomevent said,
I know nobody knows anything about WinCE7, but not even mentioning it is a bit harsh when ASUS is designing a tablet with it.

Actually ASUS dropped it, opting for Android instead.

I always ask myself, why do people need tablets? Before the iPad there was nobody interested in this device class (except some businesses). Now many people think they can not life without a tablet...why? It is not important if Android is ready now or later, give them time and wait for a solution that can compete with Laptops, with real multitasking, with interaction between apps, with file system access and without a need for another computer...

bluefisch200 said,
I always ask myself, why do people need tablets? Before the iPad there was nobody interested in this device class (except some businesses). Now many people think they can not life without a tablet...why? It is not important if Android is ready now or later, give them time and wait for a solution that can compete with Laptops, with real multitasking, with interaction between apps, with file system access and without a need for another computer...

The same reason people didn't really browse the net on their phones until the iPhone came along - there wasn't a product good enough to meet that need. There hasn't been a tablet device simple enough with a quick boot up time and great battery life to entice people into that market

bluefisch200 said,
I always ask myself, why do people need tablets? Before the iPad there was nobody interested in this device class (except some businesses). Now many people think they can not life without a tablet...why? It is not important if Android is ready now or later, give them time and wait for a solution that can compete with Laptops, with real multitasking, with interaction between apps, with file system access and without a need for another computer...

I've always wanted a tablet, but as DomZ says above they haven't been always been good and simple device to just use that have good battery and so on.
I will probably get myself an iPad when available here, just wish it had a pen, but the keyboards works really good too so...

DomZ said,

The same reason people didn't really browse the net on their phones until the iPhone came along - there wasn't a product good enough to meet that need. There hasn't been a tablet device simple enough with a quick boot up time and great battery life to entice people into that market

+1

I've always wanted a tablet, but the technology behind older tablets made them undesirable. Before this year, tablets were a laptop with a swivel top with a hefty price tag. Years ago, Gateway had a tablet that I would have considered buying. It was actually a tablet that had a docking station. But it was a Gateway, and its price was far too expensive.

I think the desire to own a tablet has been there for quite some time (most people I know have wanted one, too). But technology and price made them unfeasible until this year.

This is a good article. It brings up a good point. iPad and os are both matched with one piece of hardware to design apps for.

Android can have a dozen hardware pieces with the same or similar os running apps designed for one of those hardwares. Confusing. Need one tablet for the os.

ccoltmanm said,
This is a good article. It brings up a good point. iPad and os are both matched with one piece of hardware to design apps for.

Android can have a dozen hardware pieces with the same or similar os running apps designed for one of those hardwares. Confusing. Need one tablet for the os.

+1

ccoltmanm said,
Android can have a dozen hardware pieces with the same or similar os running apps designed for one of those hardwares. Confusing. Need one tablet for the os.

Some call it confusing, I call it choice and think it's one of the advantages of Android. It causes problems but imo it's better than having only one device.

dr_crabman said,

Some call it confusing, I call it choice and think it's one of the advantages of Android. It causes problems but imo it's better than having only one device.

I still disagree. Having one device, for one company (and one OS) gives incentive for developers to CONTINUE to update and upgrade their apps. Take the old iPAQ's of yesteryear where apps were made and then forgotten about (mapopolis). You need that insurance that your device will continue to be supported.

Panagiotis G. said,
it is not minimum requirements, they just recommend those systems

Actually, those specs are reported to be minimum requirements. Phones that don't meet that spec will forever be on Android 2.2

dagamer34 said,

Actually, those specs are reported to be minimum requirements. Phones that don't meet that spec will forever be on Android 2.2

Rom developers will find a way around that, they always do. Hell Cyanogen managed to get Froyo to run on the G1 (sans JIT compilation) when support officially ended with Android 1.6

dagamer34 said,

Actually, those specs are reported to be minimum requirements. Phones that don't meet that spec will forever be on Android 2.2


Actually, those are a recommended specs, not a minimum. Right after that story broke a google rep came out saying so.

dreamsburnred said,
I'll wait until there is a competitor that has a UI that works, or just use the real thing.

<<snipped>>

Edited by xendrome, Aug 29 2010, 4:41pm : flamebait

Dead'Soul said,

<<snipped>>

Or for those of us intelligent enough to realise there's more to tech life than just Apple

Edited by xendrome, Aug 29 2010, 4:51pm :

dreamsburnred said,
I'll wait until there is a competitor that has a UI that works, or just use the real thing.

Yea somehow I get a feeling that the ipad 2 will be around and in my country (sweden don't have ipads yet) before i see any other tablet/slate with a decent UI...
Seeing how android has developed this far, I can't exactly say I have any high hopes about it becoming a good UI any time soon, as much as I want to like it I don't.

Dead'Soul said,

<<snipped>>


This is the same logic I heard growing up in the rural South. "My Daddy drives a Ford, my GrandDaddy drove a Ford, and my GrandDaddy 3 generations back drove a Ford, even before they had cars. Pretty closed mind. Closed mind = no progress.

Edited by xendrome, Aug 29 2010, 4:03pm :

simtek said,

This is the same logic I heard growing up in the rural South. "My Daddy drives a Ford, my GrandDaddy drove a Ford, and my GrandDaddy 3 generations back drove a Ford, even before they had cars. Pretty closed mind. Closed mind = no progress.

+1

Competition good, monopoly bad. As an iPad owner I welcome anything that'll force Apple to compete and evolve...

yes, competition is very good, but a competitor must be available with the original one. Nothing matters if you do same thing later...