These days, no topic seems to be more polarizing in the mobile space than Apple’s iOS (s aapl) vs Google’s Android (s goog). Most people are clearly on one side or the other and any general discussion of which platform is better suited for particular individuals usually degenerates into the “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” line of talk. The thing is,nobody can claim tyou’re wrong in your choice of mobile device or platform. Why? Because, they’re not you!
You have different computing needs than I do and vice versa, so we can both be right, even if we choose different devices or mobile operating systems. Having said that, I want to revisit my post from late January explaining why I dumped the iPad for a smaller Samsung Galaxy Tab. I bought an iPad 2 a few weeks ago, and now my house is home to both. And guess what? That’s not a bad thing.
Sure, most mainstream folks won’t buy multiple tablet devices because of the overlap in device functionality. Part of the reason I did buy the iPad 2 was for work purposes (such as my first impressions video), but I don’t get reimbursed for my gadget habit. The cost of any device I buy comes directly from my own wallet. So yes, I’m quite unique in that regard, and no, I’m not suggesting people rush out and buy several tablets. At least not yet.
There may come a time where owning multiple connected slates does make sense as we migrate to the “post-PC” era. It’s not hard to imagine when you consider that many homes own both a laptop and desktop computer, for example. That’s a situation of clear functional overlap. The difference is in the usage context: a desktop is generally used in one place only while a laptop can be used in many places. And that same contextual idea applies both the 7-inch Galaxy Tab and 9.7-inch iPad 2, although you could potentially substitute any 10-inch tablet for the iPad in the equation.
It turns out each device offers pros and cons depending not only on what I want to do, but more importantly, where I want to be doing it and for how long. To illustrate the point, here’s a simple summary of how each device fits my needs. First, what I prefer about the Galaxy Tab as I use it:
- Better for use away from the home office, as it’s more portable and fits in a jacket or back pants pocket.
- Better for any extended use where I have to hold it, because it’s lighter and easier to hold in one or two hands.
- My preferred e-reader device due to size and weight.
- Outstanding email machine for two reasons: excellent Gmail service integration and easier to thumb-type in portrait mode (the orientation I use 95 percent of the time).
- More fun from an enthusiast’s perspective if you like to tinker with the operating system as I do. I realize that for many, this is either a non-issue, but hey, it’s my list.
- It’s completely untethered from computers, as all apps and media are available over the air.
And now the benefits of the iPad 2:
- Better for use around the home, especially when I can sit and place it on my lap or a table.
- Better for media consumption due to larger screen and more mature ecosystem with iTunes, Netflix (s nflx), etc.
- Great for gaming due to the larger screen and wider range of available titles.
- I find a greater number of high-quality apps for the iPad. Both the App Store and Android Market are close in the overall number of apps, but iOS titles generally continue to impress me more than those for Android.
- Although I prefer to tote a MacBook Air for working outside of the home office, the iPad 2 is better suited for productivity than the Tab.
Mainly, when choosing between the two, I look at where I’ll be. You won’t often find the iPad 2 in my bedroom, for example. The Galaxy Tab is preferable to use in bed before I go to sleep, and it’s what I’ll reach for in the morning when I wake, due to the weight and size. But to check RSS feeds and news over coffee at the kitchen table, the iPad works better for me. And if I’m headed out the door, the Tab generally comes along for the ride.
In essence, the Tab fills the needs of a smartphone for me, minus the voice calls, although I’m still working on that as some hacks have added voice capabilities to certain Galaxy Tab models. I’m already anticipating responses that an iPhone could fit that need, and I won’t argue that point, because it has merit. I simply prefer using the largest display I can while mobile, provided I can fit it into a pocket or easily carry it around. Again: my needs and preference will vary from yours and we can both be “right.”
Looking over my lists above, the original iPad I sold actually meets the same needs as the newer iPad model. But I certainly welcome the additions of the cameras, the dual-core processor that boosts performance and the Apple Smart Cover, which I think is far more useful than the original iPad Case that Apple designed last year.
Could I have been happy with the original iPad? Probably, but not having it for a few months caused me to see what I missing. Like they say: Sometimes you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone. And I’m using the iPad 2 differently than the original model. I haven’t set up email or any work-related items on the device at all, which has turned the experience into one of pure entertainment. That, and my preference for cross-platform apps and services, may have influenced my decision to keep it.