Monday, April 12, 2010

The iPad Vs. Tablets and Other Similar Appliances

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
Today, in the Twitter stream, I saw mentions that Google will have a rival to the iPad in the form of an Android tablet, soon. Some of the comparisons are similar to previous comparisons that the Android phone was going to be the iPhone killer. Of course, history tells us that the iPhone is still around and flourishing; but so is Android. So what can we expect from an Android, Windows, or other form of tablet against the iPad?

Well, as experience tells us, every iPhone killer that came down the pipeline, Android, Palm Pre, and whatever else they throw at us, has failed to deliver the death of the iPhone. I can explain why this is. The iPhone is awesome. I own an Android phone; but I will admit that the iPhone is spongeworthy. So, the death of the iPhone never came about because for many of us, Android/Palm Pre/Whatever is "good enough".

A while back I was bullshitting with a friend; we came to discussing that these days we are mainly a society of "good enough". I can identify with this mentality; having a blogging and podcasting background, we often focus on putting out the content rather than trying to achieve perfection. It just has to be good enough. Otherwise, you spend a great deal more time on producing and don't achieve much higher returns.

Apple is different in that they bust their butts creating and manufacturing truly breathtaking products. They shock and awe the market with every product launch, lately. But, that is their market. Going back to the days when Apple only made computers, you would have a Mac if you were some fancypants graphic designer or were rolling in dough. If you wanted performance, you got a Mac. The rest of us bought PCs, which were good enough. Corporations and governments invested in PC networks because they are good enough. Apple is still around. They market to those who want "the best".

So, I laugh at all the predictions that Google is going to come up with the iPad killer. That's not Google's game. Just like Microsoft won market share with an OS that was good enough, Google has put out free products that are good enough. Android will eventually have a larger market share than the iPhone. The Android tablet may eventually also overtake the iPad. But, neither the iPhone nor the iPad will die; the target markets are completely different.

Also, keep this in mind; every Android phone out there means another "locked in" Google user. It's damned handy to have your contacts, calendar, and emails automatically synced to the web. The main problem with Android has been a series of unimpressive hardware platforms. Apple went for sexy; and they nailed it. Google is going for mass adoption; and they are getting it.

Where Android phone manufacturers can go wrong is by making their handsets cost as much as the iPhone. If the price is the same, you might was well go with the iPhone. Seriously, there are more iPhone accessories; because it's roughly the same product with every iteration. Each Android or other OS has different designs for each handset, making it less appealing for companies to make accessories. In addition, you know that iPhone users have more money and are willing to spend it.

If you are considering the Amazon Kindle or Barnes and Noble Nook for reading books, how does that compare against a $500 iPad? Both those products are half the price of an iPad. In addition, they do not carry any monthly fees for Internet. If you are mindful of your spending, wouldn't those two products be good enough when compared against the iPad? After all, your phone and computer already bring you Internet. And you also have a DVD or Blueray player in the living room. Those are good enough, right?

So, the Android tablet will absolutely not kill the iPad. Different market. Different objective. Apple wants the few, the proud. Android wants the huddled masses.

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