I am a big Android fan.
I currently own a Samsung Epic 4G (from the Samsung Galaxy S line) and I love it. A great screen, great processor, a keyboard, and access to Sprint’s 4G network. But most importantly, the Android OS is finally stable, fast, and feature laden enough to hang with its fruit inspired counterpart. I could go on and on about the greatness of my phone … but this post isn’t about that.
For those of you who don’t know, it looks like Samsung is going to be the first (possibly just one of the first) out the gate to compete with the iPad head on. They are taking the beauty that is the Android platform and putting it into the tablet form. This should deliver a comparable experience and not leave you tied down to Apple (i.e. all your apps don’t have to come from the App store). As someone who has issues with the amount of control I would have to give up to own an iPhone … this device speaks to me. Check out Engadget for more details on the actual device.
But here is the problem … the app store just isn’t ready …
I have many issues with Apple, but there is one fundamental thing that they get right 95% of the time and I utterly respect them for it. They only release products when they are finished (not caring about how anticipated it is)!
Apple hasn’t been perfect (Apple TV), but they are still leading the pack. If they release an iPad, they already have killer apps developed, a app subsystem to support it, and have started getting buy in with key partners early enough (200 accessories at launch). There would already be several “killer apps” and a strong ecosystem to ensure consumers that as soon as they take their new eToy out the box that it will spring to life and work as advertised.
Android … *sigh*
Google (and partners) innovate so fast that they rush to release. Instead of doing all the testing and auxiliary support needed, they often take whatever they have working out to the market before fine tuning the details. They sometimes rush things unnecessarily and force the users to be beta testers. Bugs aren’t found out in a lab, but on twitter.
And this is my fear with the Galaxy Tab. There are already reports here indicating the new tablet won’t have good support from the app store. Hasn’t that become one of the main driving factors in smartphone (and smart devices) adoption over the past few years. Isn’t there a mean race between smartphone operating systems to release good app stores filled with 50 different timers, 120 different calculators, and 4 different “iBeer” apps? How are we supposed to properly enjoy this device when the software isn’t ready?
Well, I do hope that Samsung takes a point from Apple and realizes that they have already lost first mover advantage. As a result, a well produced product at a compelling price point and that offers a rewarding experience is what will be needed to knock out the incumbent. Android has only matured into a proper smartphone operating system within the past year or so (I owned a T-Mobile G1 … the first Android phone, which reeked of “we have to get it out the door”). Let’s not rush things and lets make sure that Android is ready to make the move to a tablet form factor before we start throwing it in the hands of consumers and besmirch the fine name that Android is building for itself.
Eh … maybe I should stop complaining and hurry up and develop a killer HD app for the tablet and corner the market.
– Damien Peters