Here’s Your iPad Competitor

Lots of you Android fans think I’m a shill for Apple, and from where you sit I guess I understand that perception.  After last week’s announcement of the new iPad several of you complained that I said there wasn’t another tablet that “could touch the new iPad”, and then pointed me to the new Asus Eee Transformer Prime.

I admit I hadn’t previously heard of the new device, but after reading a lot about it, I’ve come to two conclusions:

  • Performance spec wise, it looks to be near equitable (or better) to the iPad
  • I still can’t give it a nod over the iPad simply because of the lack of quality tablet specific apps in Google Play

Hey, the Prime has all the bells&whistles.  It’s fast, and will be the device to test Apple’s unproven claims that their new A5x/quadcore graphics module will be four times faster.  This thing has the new Nvidia’s five-core Tegra 3 chipset and by all accounts is “blazingly fast”.  Nvidia has already publicly stated they will be testing Apple’s claims and publishing them as soon as they get a new iPad in their possession.  That will be great to watch.

It has a 1080p display with a slightly lower pixel count to the new iPad, but it also has great battery life and an optional keyboard dock that makes it into a laptop of sorts.  The keyboard ($149) also gives extra battery life and USB ports.

All reviews tout a high level of build quality and the aluminum case feels great.  It also features Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and starts at $499.

The problem with this as an option are the apps.  Android has struggled to get developers to make tablet specific apps (largely because of the various screen size options) and therefore it pails in comparison to iTunes in this department.  Most apps are just the blown-up to full screen size version and with the 1080p resolution just exacerbates the “pixeled out” look.

Not everyone wants an Apple product.  I get that.  And the Asus Transformer Prime does appear to be a worthy competitor to the new iPad and is a better unit performance-wise to the iPad2.  But.  People buy tablets for the apps, and Android just isn’t the same community for apps as iOS.  For more reasons unknown and unexplainable Android users don’t download and use apps in the same way or numbers as iOS users.  I know this from my own personal app development and is a source of much conversation in the app development community.  Certainly there will be comments below that will want to argue that, and to them I say, go buy a Asus and be happy about it.  There are several Android smartphone devices I would easily recommend over the iPhone4s, but I can’t give any Android tablet the nod over the new iPad – no matter how fast it is.

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