In just two days Apple will ship the new iPad. It’s tempting for some to wait for a new Android tablet that has similar specs, but it’s not that easy.
Interestingly, the new iPad uses parts built by Samsung, which some could take as a sign of Samsung’s next Android tablet. That’s not what it means. There are a few points to keep in mind while waiting for a new iPad competitor from Samsung.
First, it’s important to know just how Samsung operates. Yes, Samsung can produce the Retina Display and manufacture the A5X chip for Apple, but that doesn’t mean Samsung Mobile has the same parts. Samsung Mobile has to bid Samsung for parts just like Apple has to. That’s part of the reason some Samsung smartphones use Qualcomm chips instead of Samsung-made Exynos CPUs.
Samsung Mobile might be working on a tablet to rival the new iPad in specs, but other companies like Sony could just as easily bid for the same parts.
If (probably when) Samsung releases such a super-tablet, it could best Apple in every spec possible and it still won’t matter. Samsung has tried to combat Apple with tablets of every size from 5.3-inches to 10.1-inches, and none have been terribly successful. Some of the Galaxy Tab tablets run just as smoothly as an iPad in some cases, yet Samsung still can’t get them to sell.
When’s the last time you saw somebody using a Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 out in public? You’re more likely to see a Kindle Fire on the street, and those numbers are minuscule compared to the iPad.
The Samsung Android tablets don’t do well because despite Samsung’s best effort in making its devices look great, the Android ecosystem just isn’t there yet. Tim Cook talked about this at the new iPad announcement, showing the Twitter and Yelp Android apps on a tablet, pointing out that they’re just blown-up smartphone apps.
That seems to be the rule, not the exception, for Android tablet apps. Google may like the idea of building an app once and running it everywhere from a phone to a tablet and even on a TV, but that doesn’t make for great tablet apps. And it certainly doesn’t make for an ecosystem that the average user wants a part in.
The new iPad we know is here, we know it will run iOS 5.1 and will be updated to the next version of iOS when Apple releases it. An Android tablet with a similar screen and specs is unknown. No company has announced anything yet, and when they do there are no guarantees of what version of Android it will run. It could be running Ice Cream Sandwich when Google starts talking about Jelly Bean, and following recent trends it would be a long time before the tablet would see the update. In other words, “real artists ship.”
If Samsung does make a tablet that rivals the new iPad, however, it should hold it back for a few months and wait for Microsoft. If the rumors of a Samsung tablet with an 11.6-inch display with a 2560 x 1600 resolution and a 2GHz dual-core Exynos CPU with quad-core graphics are true it’d make a much better Windows 8 tablet. We already know that Samsung will be making Windows 8 tablet, and it’d be nice to see the attention turned there. If any platform has a chance to put a dent in the iPad’s dominance it’s Windows 8.
More than a year after the first Android tablet hit less than five percent of Android users are using Android 3.0 and above, and that number includes Galaxy Nexus users. It might be time to let Android be a minor player in the tablet space and let Microsoft take its shot at Apple.
A powerful Samsung tablet could be just the thing to get the ball rolling.