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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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 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.


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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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..

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.

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.

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