The iPad is everywhere, Android tablets not so much

Every day I see iPads, a lot of iPads, out in public. What I rarely ever see are Android tablets.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor

Most days I work all over the downtown Houston area. I move from place to place, paying particular attention to the mobile devices that people use. I see iPads, lots of them, everywhere I go. I see people carrying them in hand while walking down the street. What I rarely see, almost never in fact, are Android tablets.

No Android
Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

This surprises me. The Houston central district is a tech-savvy place, with universities, major oil companies, and companies working in the legal system all over the place.

A fair number of mobile workers I see, and most are indeed working, have iPads. Some use them with a keyboard case as I do, while others tap away on the tablet screen. It's not uncommon to see more iPads in use than laptops at some stops, and at least half of them have keyboards.

You'd think statistics alone would have some of them show up in public if sales were good.

While I see iPads everywhere I go, the Android tablet is nowhere to be seen. Not even models from giant Samsung are evident.

This surprises me, as I would think some percentage of the mobile workers I see would go Android. I've used Android tablets and most are good choices. It is telling that few I see are making that choice.

I'm not saying that Android tablets, Samsung or other brands, are not selling. However, I am wondering how many mobile workers in the US choose Android when it comes to tablets since I never see them. You'd think statistically I'd regularly see them in public if sales were good.

Of course, maybe some other factor is in play here. Maybe the supposedly big group of Android tablet owners don't work in public like iPad owners. Maybe they are assigned by employers with the stipulation they aren't to leave the workplace. No, that doesn't make sense for mobile devices, and I confess I can't come up with a single compelling reason behind the lack of Android tablets in public, other than they aren't being bought by many here in the US.

Perhaps the total domination I see from the iPad is specific to Houston. I doubt that, as I see the same when I travel. There are iPads everywhere, yet Android tablets are a rarity.

As a platform agnostic tablet enthusiast, I like Android tablets and have owned a number of them. I regularly use the Kindle Fire HDX for work, which is kind of an Android tablet. I would think I'd see more of them in public than I do. Heck, I can't remember the last time I've seen an Android tablet being carried or used in the places I frequent.

As much as I like Android tablets, I do prefer the iPad Air when it comes to serious work. I must not be alone in this regard, otherwise there would surely be Android tablets everywhere I go. I guess they are languishing on the shelves at Best Buy.

Perhaps it's different outside the US. Sales must be happening somewhere, or else companies would stop building so many Android tablets. Sales figures show Android tablets far outsell the iPad, so somebody is buying them. It's a real mobile tech mystery, with so many Android tablets being sold, where are they?

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