Comparing Android Tablets With The iPad

Article by Peter Nisbet

Which are best: iPad or Android tablets? What’s the difference between them, and which should you choose? We shall first discuss the Android and Apple software platforms in general, and then discuss them in terms of tablet computers, specifically the iPad 2 and the Android Honeycomb operating system used in the Motorola Xoom tablet.

The fundamental difference between the Apple and Android operating systems for tablet computers is that the Apple system is a closed system, specific only to apple devices, while Android is open source. What this means is that developers can use Android free of charge, boih to deign apps and to create hardware to use with the OS.

Android now belongs to Google, who purchased it form the developers Android Inc. in 2005. Google offered it free to the market as open source software under the OHA (open Source Alliance) – although Google is currently taking action against at least one Asian firm for the way they are using it. It can be used under the Apache free software license.. Canalys listed Android as the worldwide best-selling software in 2010 for smartphones.

A Common Platform

That’s the background for Android, which is now being used in tablets in competition to Apple’s iPad. Because the iPad uses a proprietary software platform, it is by nature more restrictive than Android devices, and therefore does not have the same breadth of communication between devices as Android tablets would theoretically have. However, because Android tablets are in their infancy, this degree of platform commonality has yet to be used to any advantage.

In fact, it is highly likely that individual Android users will be protective of their own devices, and that the full benefits of a common platform are unlikely to be developed. Nevertheless, because of this common platform, it is highly likely in the future that apps and other forms of software will tend to focus on Android rather than Apple. For now, however, there is still a larger choice of apps available for Apple devices than for Android tablets – but this is expected to be only a temporary situation because development of Android apps is now continuous.

iPad 2 Vs Android Tablets

So how does all this translate into the hardware using each of the two operating systems? It is fundamentally now a comparison of the iPad 2 with the top Android tablets. There are several tablets that fail to match iPad let alone iPad 2, but there have been several good tablets developed using Android by top firms such as Acer, Samsung and Motorola, and is the latter that we shall consider here.

The Motorola Zoom Tablet uses the Android Honeycomb OS, and is thicker and heavier than the iPad 2 (0.34 v 0.5 inches). Each has dual-core 1GHz processors, although while the iPad2 is believed to have only 512MN RAM, the Xoom has 1GB.

One excellent feature of the Xoom is that you can plug it into your PC and access your files. You can download from one device to the other or transfer files between them. With the iPad 2 this is a ponderous process that has to be done through iTunes. No need you use iTunes to download music: rather than using the clunky iTunes with all the memory it takes up to download your music, you can do so by dragging and dropping to the Xoom tablet.

Multitasking Comparison

Another advantage of the Android tablet is that it is true multitasking which the iPad is not. The iPad is more a matter of changing between tasks, with a small amount of processing in the background, but not true multitasking. There are many other benefits that the Android tablets can offer over the iPad 2, including more flexibility in file handling, and icon presentation. Because the operating system is open source, you can communicate with any device using it, and are not restricted to Apple’s own software format.

However, the iPad does have some advantages in addition to being thinner and lighter, and one of these is the number of available apps as suggested earlier. This is likely because most tablet apps are based on the iPad, and are generally developments of the apps developed for the iPhone. Because there are now more apps being developed for Android because it is being used by multiple manufacturers, rather than just the one of iPad, there will shortly be more Android apps available on the market than those for iPad in any of its versions.

Apple Fan or Android Fan

Ultimately, the choice between the iPad and an Android tablet, exemplified here by the Motorola Xoom, will possibly come down to whether or not you are an Apple fan. Apple fans will likely stick to the Apple product, while there currently appears to be no compelling reason why PC fans should go with the iPad rather than the Xoom – though there are more excellent Android tablets on the market.

Android devices have been steadily coming onto the market, and taking an increasingly larger bite of Apple – this will increase as more firms appreciate the advantages of using shared Open Source software. Before long, the tablet market will be very similar to the current situation in the laptop market where we have those that go with the Apple way of doing things and those that prefer Windows. Only, it is now Apple versus Android. Who will win – you will decide that.

About the Author


You will find more information on how to choose an iPad or Android Tablet, and also a wide range of different tablets and laptops, on Larry’s website  along with many more aspects of tablet and computer techology.


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