What Kind of Tablet I Was Looking For
When I made the choice to get a tablet, I had some pretty specific things in mind for it. First of all, it needed to replace my laptop completely. It also needed to have some educational aspects so that my kids can use it. Lastly, I needed something dependable; something that I wouldn’t have to spend hours maintaining and fixing just so it will start properly.
By choosing the iPad, I was also saying no to its chief competitor in the OS department: Android. I’m a big fan of Google, and I’ve used their browser-based services like Gmail and Drive for years. I looked into the laptop-replacement level Android tablets and what I found influenced me to run as far away as possible. Why didn’t I choose Android? Here are a few reasons:
1.) Android is Unreliable. While I have long extolled the virtues of open source software, Android tablets don’t seem like very reliable productivity devices. And again, that was what I was looking for in a tablet – something I can be productive with. While trying out a “professional grade” (by which I mean, “costs as much as an iPad”) Android Tablet at Best Buy, I experienced a slow OS that suffered from bloatware, bad response times, lag, and eventually crashed and restarted itself. A nearby employee saw it crash and commented, “Again? We just put that one out today, it’s brand new.“
I don’t think I’m asking for too much when I say that I want my devices to just work. I don’t want to constantly have to find tutorials, fixes, and workarounds for my devices – they should work for me, not the other way ’round. The sense I got after trying out every manufacturer from Samsung to Asus was that I would have to spend a good deal of time looking after the tablet, which was time I could be spending getting work done. No thanks.
2.) Android is Fragmented. Another thing I noticed while trying Android on for size was that it varies a surprising amount from maker to maker. Samsung Galaxy Tabs are very different than Asus Transformers. Take a non-tech person who’s never seen or used a tablet. Give them a new Nexus 7 for an hour. Then, give them a Kindle Fire HD for an hour. Then observe the look on their face when you tell them that both are running the same basic OS.
Android fragmentation was another big turn-off for me because I was concerned with the instability. What would happen when I ran into a problem? I’d have to see if someone else ran into that problem, not only using my particular flavor of Android, but the same device, as well. While I know the Android user base is swelling worldwide, support is very important to me, especially community support for when the service package runs out.
3.) Android is a Huge Hacker Magnet. I have long believed that one of Apple’s biggest weaknesses is security. As I understand it, they are incredibly easy to hack, and that includes the iPhones and iPads. However, hacking has changed a lot over the years, and it is no longer about one-at-a-time break-ins. Hackers these days have grandiose long-term schemes where they create botnets by infecting computers worldwide and linking them to a phishing scheme. Recently, 5 men were arrested for hacking the NASDAQ exchange SQL servers and mining credit card numbers from the retailers who are connected. One-at-a-time hacking is generally reserved for FBI agents and the like – it’s incredibly unlikely to happen to your iDevice.
The Android system, being open, is a ripe target for hacking. The number of Android malware apps will probably pass one million by the end of the year. Because you can download Android apps from the Internet, hackers have begun creating fake versions of real apps and creating entire websites that look legitimate. Once you download the App, it takes advantage of vulnerabilities and subscribes you to “premium services” for a monthly fee. The luckier victims just have their information stolen.
Never Say Never
Now, none of this is to say that I’ll never buy an Android tablet. If I do, I imagine it would probably be a Nexus, since that’s the “flagship” Android experience. But until a manufacturer can produce an Android tablet that is responsive, stable, and doesn’t require constant maintenance, I’ll stick with my iPad. Even though it’s only good for blogging, writing, video and photo editing, painting, sketching, creating, designing, and making music.
If you are an Android tablet user who works exclusively through your tablet, I want to hear from you. send your story to: editor[at]iPad4Life[dot]net.