iPad competitor or smartphone on steroids?
So Apple has had quite a run with the iPad, with competitors pretty slow to respond. Samsung recently introduced the Galaxy Tab in Europe, and the media has anointed it as the first real competition the iPad will face. I was recently interviewed for an article in Product Design and Development Magazine comparing the two, and in preparing for that discussion, I came away thinking the comparison is off the mark. These two products are different enough in form factor and configuration to cater to different uses. The larger question may be, "Is there a market for both form factors to thrive, or will one win out. Perhaps the best solution is somewhere in between.
The Galaxy Tab is an Android based slate with a 7" screen, will be offered initially only with wifi AND 3-G (requiring another cell carrier commitment), and has camera and phone functionality included. This sounds more like a mobile productivity tool.
The iPad's success to this point seems to be largely based on it's appeal as a lifestyle product, with a larger screen and size (web browsing, shopping, video watching, e-reader, photo browsing, sharing, etc.) and is selling mostly in wi-fi configuration.
Here are some of the key differences, head to head:
Where Galaxy Tab exceeds iPad:
- Portability – 40% smaller, 50% lighter
- Integrated cameras – for still image video capture/ videoconferencing
- Phone functionality - At least in Europe; Apparently not to be offered in US
- Flexibility - I/O options, storage expandibility, Android ecosystem open-ness
- Speed - 512mb Ram vs 256mb (Big deal?)
- Web browsing experience – More seamless due to Adobe Flash support
Where iPad exceeds Galaxy Tab:
- Viewing experience – 40% larger display means more functional and communal in sedentary situations
- Optimized OS - Android Froyo 2.2 is squarely a phone OS that has not been optimized for the tablet form factor
- Quality and consistencly of experience - Rock solid, tightly managed OS and app ecosystem, producing a seamless user experience accross multiple product types
- Head start in market – Well known incumbent vs newbie to the category
- Depth and breadth of apps – Again, the head start has created many advantages, but the gap is closing
- Depth and breadth of content – polished store experience
- Battery capacity - 30% more run time
For those interested in digging a little deeper, here is a quick comparitive overview of each product, compiled by Mark B and Michael J, and my notes framed up as answers to four very basic questions the editor planned to ask in the interview. I'd love to hear others' opinions on this.