My other half is planning to buy an iPad after much deliberation. I do understand the desire to find an alternative; especially if you’re an existing Android user. There are benefits to sticking to a single platform for your personal computing needs when it comes to synchronisation and functionality - a benefit that Apple are making the primary focus of iOS 5 with iCloud, and that Google are capitalising on with Google Docs and the multitude of other Google Account features. Having all your devices make the most of your existing system is simple and convenient.
It’s been a fairly long and hopeful wait for a worthwhile Android tablet though, yet after a year there’s still no good offering. Many manufacturers are far too interested in trying to sell you a feature that the iPad doesn’t have to really sell you the features you need. Flash and removable storage aren’t actually defining advantages in the tablet race (they’re not adding anything to the device’s usability) and the more that manufacturers seem to concentrate on superflous features the more the devices and their price-tags bloat. It’s evident in most consumer electronic stores now that all the devices are about the same price, but the majority of Android tablets only offer you a seven inch screen for that investment. Add to this the comparative performance of the hardware involved (put an iPad and an Android tablet side by side and simply switch orientation and see the difference) and the iPad simply wins.
Admittedly, it’s been very hard to compete with Apple’s cost efficiency; they seem to have found the sweet spot with their integrated build that’s shaved those all-important dollars off their price. The ‘premium’ brand is ironically about the best value for money in the tablet market.
So while I understand all the deliberation, and the desire to maintain loyalty in a brand that you’ve used for a year and found to be for the most part excellent, in this case it’s just not worth holding up that hope forever. Despite our regular iOS vs Android verbal boxing matches and my own personal preferences I still believe it’s the right choice. Credit is due where it’s due and the HTC handset that’s been used for the last year and some has proven it’s worth, but in no way have any of Android’s tablet offerings stepped up to the mark. Yet.