A 2012 iPad Owner Buys an Android Tablet…

The day has finally come. I think I’ve messed with my Galaxy tab to talk about what I like about each, and what I don’t like.

This is what I use my tablets for – just so that you know if anything I say below is a waste of time for you or if its actually useful.

  • Browsing the web
  • Sifting through my email
  • Taking notes
  • Another screen – with a web page or something for reference
  • Social Networking
  • Listening to Music

iPad Is Missing Apps

The iPad is missing a bunch of apps that I use on a regular basis. A lot of these apps are unsurprisingly from rival Google. The apps that Google does provide tend to suck. If I could glare at apps, I’d be glaring at the lame excuse for an app that Google Voice and Plus are. This isn’t Apple’s fault though, but the Android tablets have decent versions of these apps. Just sayin’.

The Galaxy Tab Keyboard(s) Are Lame

Every tablet keyboard I’ve tried on Android has been a painful experience. They all use some kind of gimmick, but none of them actually work.

Apple’s keyboard, when I first started using it came off as annoying, because I was stuck with it. I wanted the option to choose a lame keyboard if I wanted. I soon found that I could type 60-70 wpm on it though!

I haven’t been able to get anywhere near that with Android keyboards because none of them shape the on screen keyboard to match a real keyboard. Probably because they’re trying to build one app that fits all the various Android tablet form factors.

The iPad Doesn’t Look As Cool As the Androids

I really like having a launcher, widgets, and animated backgrounds. The purpose of a widget is to allow you to do something simple without actually opening an app. Something quick.

The animated backgrounds look sweet. This one is my favorite.

There are lots of different app launchers that all offer various features like customizing the background color, hiding built in, uninstallable apps that I never use, etc. When Tron had come out, I had a Tron theme for ADWLauncher, with Tron icons and wallpaper.

The iPad Is Far Better With Touch

Man, where to start. Gestures.

The iPad uses gestures like crazy. To switch apps, I take four fingers and swipe the screen left or right. None of this “hold down the home button for a second, then choose my app” waiting crap. If I want to leave an app, I take my four fingers and collapse them. If I want a mini launcher to show up at the bottom with music controls and apps, I use four fingers to “pull” it up.

The screen is much better with my Wacom stylus as well. Using the Autodesk Sketchbook app, I’ve found the iPad is far better at dealing with input from the stylus. My lines are smooth and more accurate. There is still a long ways to go in this department for Apple, but I think they do it best.

Conclusion

Apple wins. The keyboard by itself is probably what pushed things over the edge for me. The high-res screen is awesome, but its not as big of a deal for me as the keyboard. I’ve managed to work around the lack of apps by using apps on my phone or finding 3rd party apps that don’t make me want to scream (but cost money).

Am I way off? Start a flame war in the comments. I’m ready for you. With my iPad. And 60-70 wpm…

Here is my advice to Google for a tablet that I would buy:

  • Make it so I can type on your keyboard. Seriously. This is a big deal. The “buy a bluetooth keyboard” response is lame. I might as well haul a laptop around at that point that does more.
  • Take more advantage of gestures. Make up your own. If patents are in the way, find a new way to control things or fight the patents in court. You’re not using touch very well to control a touch device.
  • Improve the screen. Higher resolutions, better touch sensitivity. Samsung is kind of doing this with the Note. Keep going in this direction. If it was just this and the keyboard, I’d use the Galaxy tab for everything. (I’d miss gestures still, but I’d live).

My advice to Apple:

  • Make it possible for developers to customize their tablets. If I’m in your Developer Program, I’m obviously more technical than Grandma and could really take advantage of more options.
  • DO THIS: Swipe Selection
  • Loosen the controls on your App Store. I could write an entire post on this. To sum up, Safari is not a very good browser. Its barely above Internet Explorer in my book. I’d rather use Firefox or Chrome, (or possibly Opera even). Websites render correctly in those. Especially the annoying websites at work.
  • Put a GPS in the WiFi version. Seriously. I’m taking my Galaxy Tab backpacking because of this. Its really annoying.
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