What Android Really Needs Is App Differentiation--Especially On Tablets
With the Android mobile OS grabbing headlines every day and prompting lofty market share projections from analysts, it's easy to argue that Google's once-little project has been a success. It was only March of last year, when many observers wondered if Android had failed. Despite the success that the OS has had on mobile phones, though, several people are noting that it is a failure on tablets at this point. Larry Dignan, for example, thinks the Android tablet experiment is a miserable failure.
Android tablets are around, but they don't provide the differentiated-from-norm experience that the iPad does, which has a lot to do with the applications available. There is a lesson there, and it carries over to Android on smartphones. How successful can Android really ever be if the best, and the most applications are available for Apple's platforms?
Dignan has this to say about Android tablets:
"Android tablets are a big FAIL...We were looking forward to the Galaxy Tab as a device that could give Apple’s iPad a run. The rub: The hardware is nice, the software integration is so-so at best and the price just isn’t right."
Hardware issues and price aside, though, the iPad simply has a huge ecosystem of applications that are ideal for it, and many being developed that are only for it. Publishers and musicians alike are adopting the iPad, and the band The Gorillaz--by no means a small band--just announced its intent to release an album recorded entirely on the iPad.
Android tablets and smartphones are both still behind Apple in terms of application availability. This is no small issue. A huge part of how Microsoft's Windows platform became dominant on the desktop is simply that the company convinced application developers to produce far more applications than were available for other platforms. Apple and Linux distros have been scrambling to make up ground ever since.
If Android tablets are indeed a failure out the gate, that implies that the iPad is going to command the tablet market for some time to come. The fact that in March of last year people were prounouncing Android dead on smartphones is worth keeping in mind, though. If it's too early to declare Android tablets dead, then now is definitely the time to call for the maximum number of best-of-breed applications for them possible.