Android Tablet vs. Apple iPad: 10 Features Google Handhelds Need Now

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Android Tablet vs. Apple iPad: 10 Features Google Handhelds Need Now

by Don Reisinger

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A Solid Touch Screen

A tablet is nothing without a good touch screen. Apple's iPad has an exceptional display that delivers the kind of multitouch functionality that every other tablet maker should strive for. Unfortunately, several of the current tablets don't have the high-quality touch screen that's required in today's tablet market. That needs to change. Going forward, all Android-based devices need to boast a top-notch touch screen.

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A Big Display

Speaking of that touch screen, it needs to be big. Apple has shown that a 9.7-inch display works quite well for tablet users. It not only allows users to enjoy video, but it gives them the screen real estate they need to type out documents and perform tasks. A small display is ideal for a smartphone. But for a tablet, a 10-inch display seems to be the sweet spot.

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Android 2.2

The biggest mistake Dell made when it released its Streak tablet was not offering Android 2.2. Instead, the company delivered Android 1.6, making the Streak a far less desirable product. Any future Android-based tablet must run Version 2.2 of the operating system. It's the best version yet. And it's the best alternative to iOS 4.

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Corporate Functionality

Part of the problem with Android-based tablets is that, so far, they haven't catered to the corporate market. Cisco plans to change that with its upcoming Cius tablet, but it's alone right now. If Android is going to keep up with Apple, the enterprise is the place where it can do that. After all, the iPad isn't the most enterprise-friendly device. And most companies are balking at adopting it right now. If an Android-based tablet can deliver a viable alternative, Google's OS might prove troublesome for Apple.

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A Solid Vendor

Android-based tablets can only appeal to customers if they come from a reputable vendor that has a long history of making solid products. Dell should have been that company, but it made a huge mistake with its Streak. Now, Archos is trying its luck. But it doesn't have the market appeal that Dell has. If Android is going to be successful in the tablet market, it will need companies like Samsung to carry the market. That's why the Samsung Galaxy Tab is so important.

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Apple-like Hype

The main reason Apple was able to sell so many iPads was the hype the tablet received when it was announced. It was something new, it came from Apple, and it delivered functionality that consumers had been hoping for. Today, it's a wildly popular product. Android competitors need to find a way to build hype like that. The Samsung Tab is a good first step, but it's not currently matching the iPad's level. Hype means quite a bit in the tablet space. And every Android vendor needs to remember that.

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Viable Advertising

Anyone who has seen Apple's iPad ads knows how well the company markets its products. Steve Jobs ensures that his company's commercials are simple, but effective. And they get people thinking about the tablet. New Android-based devices need to mimic Apple's ad strategy. Consumers want to be interested by ads. If they are, they will be far more likely to buy a product. Android vendors would be smart to keep that in mind.

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Google: The Hardware Marker?

All this talk of vendors leaves out the single company that might have the best shot at overtaking Apple: Google. Right now, Google is simply providing the software to hardware companies in an attempt to capitalize through advertising. But if Google comes up with a tablet of its own, the company could do quite a bit to help its cause against the iPad. Being a hardware company doesn't seem to interest Google right now, but it's worth considering.

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Strength in Numbers

In the end, Google's hope is for Android OS devices to outnumber iOS devices in homes across the world. To achieve that, the company will need to follow its smartphone strategy and bring Android OS to as many devices as possible. So far, Google seems to be having success with that. Going forward, it should double down on its vendor relations. The more Android devices there are, the more options there will be available to consumers.

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Verizons 3G Network

One issue with the iPad is that it works only with AT&T's 3G network. Because of that, some companies and consumers are loath to get the iPad 3G and pay AT&T for somewhat spotty 3G coverage. Android-based tablets can capitalize on that by working with Verizon's 3G network. Finding ways to distinguish a product is the best option. And Android tablet makers can't forget that.

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