Will Android tablets always play second fiddle to the iPad?

Moderated by Josh Gingold | March 19, 2012 -- 07:00 GMT (00:00 PDT)

Summary: Robin Harris sees the iPad continuing to rule, while Chris Dawson says Android will dominate the market's long tail.

Robin Harris

Robin Harris

Yes, iPad will rule


No, Android to close gap

Christopher Dawson

Christopher Dawson

Best Argument: Yes, iPad will rule

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

Android will remain on the outside looking in

Robin Harris: Apple has re-defined music players, smart phones, notebook computers and tablets. They've also gobbled up the lion's share of the profits. Apple once dominated the graphical PC market, before losing it to Windows 3.1. They currently dominate tablets likewise. Will Android do to the iPad what Windows did to the Mac?

No, it won't for several important reasons:

* Apple is the volume producer and has the lowest cost structure.

* In addition to its supply chain advantages, Apple has a strong application base and is more congenial to developers given its limited number of platforms, simpler business model and large installed base.

* "Almost as good as" and "slightly cheaper" aren't inspiring battle cries. Unless and until Apple really screws up the iPad formula, Android will be on the outside looking in.

Android will dominate the all-important long tail

Christopher Dawson: Yeah, yeah, the world is all atwitter over the new iPad. Even I'm excited to get mine. It, like the original iPad and iPad 2 before it, looks to set the standard for the tablet market.

That's hardly the end of the tablet story, though. Just as the iPhone took the smartphone into the mainstream, so too will the iPad make tablets a must-have. A look at the smartphone market, however, show us how the tablet market will evolve: Apple will make billions selling at the high end and Android will dominate the all-important long tail.

This isn't a matter of playing second fiddle - It's market segmentation. The Kindle Fire has already shown us what an Android tablet can do at the right price. It's only a matter of time before a variety of well-used Android tablets become a far more common sight than shiny new iPads.


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  • I think we pay too much attention to horse races

    The better question for consumers is "which device best serves my needs and wants?".
    John L. Ries
    Reply Vote I'm for No, Android to close gap
    • Agreed

      The BYOD is a fairly recent trend for smart phones and tablet computers. This trend was given quite a boost from the iPhone and iPad. In the consumer area, Apple will probably dominate but in the enterprise business there are other computing needs not met. The iPad is now in its 3rd generation but without some features I would have liked to see like the ability to add an SD memory card to increase storage. I think an Android based or even Win 8 based tablet with more flexible options would give iPad a run for the enterprise business market.
      Reply Vote I'm for No, Android to close gap
      • iPad will rule business

        Not sure why people still think iPad can not be used as a business platform. I have used this for the last two years with a app called Citrix. IT runs perfectly and keeps getting better. Adroid OS does not work well with Exchange servers. Which most companies use. I run 65 Driod phones and all of them have problems from missing emails, calenders, contacts and the dreaded mutiple email bomb that there is not fix for. I have twenty iphone 4 that I have not had one single problem with. Not one. The OSi vs A OS is night and day. OSi is smooth and it works with exchange and the A OS is unpolished and you expect updates every five months.
        The bigest problem for Droid lovers is that there are twenty to thirty phones and tablets that they never can get around fixing and updating the firmware. With Apple it take one firmware for all my apple devises. Just one. The ease of Apple products can not be matched...
        Reply Vote I'm for Yes, iPad will rule
      • iPad is better suited to corporate use

        With the ability to customize your tablet (Apple has software for iDevice provisioning and management), and especially with the LACK of external storage etc. the iPad is more suited for the tightly controlled enterprise environments.

        The business environments wants stable, no surprises platform. There is only one such viable at the moment: the iPad.
        Reply Vote I'm for Yes, iPad will rule
    • For a customer, yes

      For a developer, it is very important to pay attention to the horse race.
      Michael Kelly
      Reply Vote I'm for No, Android to close gap
      • I'll agree with that

        But there is a need for cross-platform toolkits in the mobile space. Just because portability is anathema to commerical OS developers doesn't mean that application developers should cooperate.
        John L. Ries
        Reply Vote I'm for No, Android to close gap
    • Well Stated

      I get tired of all the fanboys from all sides who denigrate the others products for no reason than they are choosing sides. John L. Ries nailed it...which device best serves my needs? I use a Windows 7 notebook for my business, an android phone and an ipad for light internet and entertainment. In each category, I have found these items to be the best fit for what I use them for. YMMV, but to rule out an item simply because you don't like the company that made it is simply a close- minded, short-sighted way to live your life. Personally, I love that I have options, and can take the time to make an educated choice.
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • I agree but how many

        people actually buy based on their needs?
        Right now I suspect it is well under 50%.
        Reply Vote I'm for No, Android to close gap
      • Right so

        But the question here, to you is: would you use rather an Android tablet instead of the iPad. Why yes, why not?
        Reply Vote I'm for Yes, iPad will rule
      • Prices are within the whim range

        A need is not needed.
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided