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

Closing Statements

Apple goes where the market leads

Robin Harris

Despite trying to tie the iPad to the iPhone market, it is obvious that the iPad is more like the iPod market. Like the iPod, Apple invented the tablet market, set the bar, and has established a dominating market share.

Many companies came and went in the music player space, which Apple continued to dominate, until the iPhone began obsoleting the iPod. The same will be true for tablets.

The basic arguments for eventual Android dominance are price and - maybe - choice. But Apple is the low-cost producer, and as the iPod shows, they are willing to go where the market leads. If they need to they can build a $250 iPad - and keep their market lead.

Android for the mainstream

Christopher Dawson

I love my new iPad and so do 99% of the 3 million people who bought it in its first weekend on the market. That really is an impressive number, one much like the numbers that Apple posts whenever it releases a new iPhone. Those numbers, though, largely represent the low-hanging fruit of early adopters and Apple faithful. As the tablet becomes a mainstream device that, for many, replaces a home PC, the market will shift in much the same way that the smartphone market has evolved.

Apple certainly isn’t going anywhere, but there’s room for two at this party. Android will continue to appeal to bleeding edge users and developers/hackers requiring more flexibility than iOS offers. More importantly, at the mainstream end of the market, it will deliver ads to fill Google's coffers, low margin/high volume sales for OEMs, and solid value for consumers and businesses.

Apple's party is far from over

Josh Gingold

What I'm about to say is bound to be controversial, and most of you will not be happy, but I think that Robin Harris has it right.  The sun is far from setting on Apple's party and the iPad, or more specifically the iOS, will continue to rule in the foreseeable future.  There simply is no denying the advantage that Apple has in a market that is increasingly driven by consumers.

For me, there are two key issues that arose from this debate and hence formed the basis of my decision.  First, Microsoft Windows 8 will soon make its presence known in the market and seems much more likely to cut into Android share before converting any of the iOS faithful.  Second, Apple's much-criticized approach to integrated engineering actually provides a competitive advantage when it comes to controlling the features, direction, and, yes, the price of its products.

Which is actually better?  All I have are my opinions but Robin's comparison to the iPod is a good one.  Every music device was supposed to be the "iPod killer" and yet here we are.  I believe the same will be true for the iPad, not because I'm a fan of Apple products but rather the company itself which seems better prepared than any other to find and serve its market.


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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