The iPad 2 has been announced, demoed and spoken off by just about anyone with access to an Internet connection over the past few days. Now that we generally know what the new version of the iPad looks like and what are its features it will be easier to consider Apple’s competitors’ strengths and weaknesses
Motorola has recently introduced the Xoom, a competing product which has a configuration which matches most closely the second generation 32 GB iPad 3G, however it is significantly more expensive than most iPad versions. In fact, as Steve jobs pointed out during his introduction of the iPad 2, only the 64 GB iPad 3G is a bit more expensive than the Motorola Xoom. That might not be a problem as the tablet has a slightly bigger screen and higher resolution cameras, weren’t it for the terrible software.
What?! Terrible software? But isn’t this tablet supposed to be the first to come out with Google’s Honeycomb Android 3.0 OS? The one that is optimized for tablets!?! Yes it is, and according to comments such as you can watch on TechCrunch TV, it crashes all around. The folks from TechCrunch weren’t the only ones to have a bad experience with the Xoom. Another person to report crashes was James Kendrick of ZDNet Mobile News who tweeted about his experience with the Xoom today.
“The inconsistency of Honeycomb on the XOOM is disturbing. Wildly varying owner experiences re: FCs, reboots, lockups.” – James Kendrick on Tweeter, March 6th 2011.
Isn’t it amazing that Motorola has considered that it okay not only to launch its tablet with a non-working SD-card reader but with an OS that is still full bugs? I can understand Motorola wanting to get its product to market before the iPad 2 was announced, but they’ll only give a lot of people a bad impression of their product, for not having waited until Google had stabilized the OS. While their brand is getting associated with tablets, it is being so in a bad context, but maybe they consider that is better that people talk about Motorola, even if it is to say bad things about its products.
Another interesting competitor is Samsung. Right after the iPad 2 was announced by Apple, one of the company’s VPs was caught on record saying that “Apple had made it very thin” and that they (Samsung) would have to review the “inadequate components and price”. Most people understood this to mean that Samsung would be going back to the drawing board like HP did last year, in order to release a competitive product. It turns out, though, that they are not. They are going to release their “inadequate”product on schedule.
HP is the only company to have gotten the message back in 2010, that this game isn’t about who has the camera with the highest number of megapixels. Its about the experience! HP seems to have gotten the memo last year when they decided that their Slate product would not be competitive against the iPad and decided to acquire Palm with its webOS operating system and go back to the drawing board. While I have not yet personally seen an HP TouchPad, it certainly seemed a lot closer to the iPad than Android is. Hopefully, at least the TouchPad will turn out to be a worthy competitor to the iPad in 2011.
I hope that the other companies that are planning iPad competitors finally get the memo this year. Those that don’t get it are going to continue to talk about meaningless products which will get little if any attention from those that have had the chance to try out an iPad or a TouchPad.