Android iPad Competitors

When Apple introduced the iPad in 2010, many wondered if it would take off. When it did, people starting asking when a Google Android OS tablet would be introduced. Several have been released since then, and more are sure to be released as the tablet market shows no signs of slowing down.

With Apple's iPad, there's only one type available (memory/storage and mobile network connectivity variants are the only current options), while Android's open source operating system means that several manufacturers can build and market tablets and personalize the OS. The sophistication of Android's UI, and its rapidly-growing apps market, leave users little to envy about iOS. How do Android competitors to the iPad compare? Read on, and check out the comparison table at the end.

  • Motorola Xoom
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab (including the 10.1)
  • LG Optimus Tab (G-Slate)
  • HTC Flyer

Apple's iPad 2 is smaller, lighter, sleeker, and with a cleverly-integrated cover. These Android tablets have their work cut out for them.

Motorola Xoom
Motorola Xoom

Motorola Xoom

With impressive hardware and software, the pricey Motorola Xoom is the Maserati (or Porsche) among Android tablets now. Here's why the Xoom compares favorably to its competition from Apple, even the iPad 2:

  • Honeycomb (3.0) - with a major overhaul of the interface over 2.x, Honeycomb also optimized for the tablet experience
  • Great screen resolution: 1280x800, vs 1024x768 on both the original iPad and the iPad 2
  • Better browser (arguable): Chrome's integration brings easy search and cross-platform bookmark syncing
  • Better Google app integration: Maps, Gmail, Calendar - all better on Android devices
  • Can play Flash, although this is becoming less relevant as HTML5 adoption continues to grow (although hitting a Flash-enabled Website and seeing that box with the question mark is really frustrating on an iPad!)

Comparable to the iPad 2, the Xoom features:

  • a dual-core processor (the Tegra 2)
  • gyroscope, for better gaming (this was missing in the original iPad)
  • front- and rear-facing cameras

Cons vs the iPad 2:

  • a bit heavier: 1.6 lb (730g) vs 1.5 lb (680g)
  • half the storage: one option, 32 MB, vs up to 64 MB on the iPad 2

Pricing is very similar to the iPad 2, accounting for the fact that the 32GB variant is the only one that Motorola offers, while Apple offers 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB options. The Xoom runs for $539 for the Wi-Fi only version, $799 for 3G-enabled but without a contract, and $599 for a 3G-enabled Xoom with a 2-year contract with Verizon.

The Xoom is the tablet you want to have if you love the iPad 2 for its full range of capabilities and intuitive tablet interface, but are more wedded to the Google suite of apps, Android, and its app Marketplace than you are to Apple, iTunes, and the App Store.

Samsung Galaxy Tab - with white back
Samsung Galaxy Tab - with white back

Samsung Galaxy Tab (and Galaxy Tab 10.1)

Samsung's Galaxy Tab was the first major Android entrant in the tablet wars with Apple. In addition to a different operating system and a different app ecosystem, the Galaxy has a smaller form factor - a 7-inch (18 cm) screen, instead of the iPad 2's 9.7-inch (24.6 cm) screen - and substantially lower weight - at 1.3 lbs (599 g) - compared to the iPad 2. What the Galaxy Tab lacks in sex appeal it makes up for in terms of portability.

The primary criticism of the Galaxy Tab is that the OS (2.2, or Froyo) isn't really optimized for a tablet-like experience. When Honeycomb (the latest Android OS update, 3.0), with a more explicitly tablet-friendly interface, is launched for the 10.1, expect that gap to close up rapidly.

Its second-generation product, the Galaxy Tab 10.1, goes head-to-head against the iPad 2, with a bevy of impressive enhancements: a dual-core (Tegra 2) processor, dual cameras (enabling Facetime-like video chatting), and Honeycomb. A release date and price point have not yet been revealed, but conventional wisdom seems to suggest that it will be available sometime during the summer of 2011 and be priced competitively against the popular iPad 2. However, with the Xoom and Optimus already available, the longer Samsung takes to release its new tablet, the more it will have to drop its price to remain competitive.

LG Optimus Tab (called the G-Slate via T-Mobile)
LG Optimus Tab (called the G-Slate via T-Mobile)

LG Optimus Tab (G-Slate)

The LG Optimus Tab, marketed as the G-Slate by T-Mobile (a nod towards Google, no doubt), is high on portability, weighing in at an anorexic 0.9 lb (420g) and with an 8.9 inch screen. Sporting Android OS 3.0 (Honeycomb), the Optimus Tab has a similarly optimized user experience as the Xoom and Galaxy 10.1. With the Tegra 2 dual-core processor, it's certainly powerful and fast enough for gaming, video and processor-intensive apps.

In most of its specs, it's similar to the Galaxy 10.1, but it does offer HDMI output, something Samsung's newest tab does not.

With 32GB of storage, LG's tablet costs $699, so about $100 cheaper than the Xoom but also smaller (with an 8.9" screen, compared to Xoom's 10.1"). Carriers matter, as well: the LG runs on T-Mobile's HSPA+ (4G) network, while the Xoom makes use of Verizon's LTE (4G) network. 

HTC Flyer
HTC Flyer

HTC Flyer

HTC, the popular handset maker who manufactures many of the most popular Android phones (like the Desire, Incredible, and Aria), has ventured into the Android tablet wars with its Flyer, which it seems will be a more affordable option for potential buyers. Its smaller screen (7") and single-core processor (but a fast 1.5 GHz one) suggest it's not going up against the more powerful Motorola, Samsung and LG competition, or the iPad 2, for that matter. It also does not explicitly support 4G wireless data connectivity, instead supporting 3G technologies (HSPA & WCDMA).

Most interestingly, the Flyer also adds a stylus ("magic pen") that allows you write on the screen as an alternate input form. I'm not entirely sure this is a move forward, but maybe this will appeal to some.

 
Xoom
Galaxy 10.1
G-Slate (Optimus Tab)
Flyer
iPad 2
Screen size
10.1
10.1
8.9
7
9.3
Resolution
1280x800
1280x800
1024x720
1024x600
1024x768
Weight
1.6 lb (730g)
1.3 lb (599g)
1.4 lb (620g)
0.9 lb (420g)
1.35 lb (610g)
Processor
Tegra 2
Tegra 2
Tegra 2
1.5 GHz
Apple A5
Storage
32GB
16/32GB
32GB
32GB
16/32/64GB
Removable Storage
Micro SD (up to 32GB)
No
No
Micro SD (up to 32GB)
No
Operating System
Android 3.0
Android 3.0
Android 3.0
Android 2.4
iOS 5.0.1
4G support
Yes (Verizon LTE)
Yes (Verizon LTE)
Yes (T-Mobile HSPA+)
No
No
Rear camera
5MP
8MP
5MP
5MP
720p HD
Video
1080p
1080p
1080p
720p
720p
Flash
LED
LED
LED
No
No
Front camera
2MP
2MP
2MP
1.3MP
VGA
Wifi
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
GPS
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Audio
3.5mm
3.5mm
3.5mm
3.5mm
3.5mm
Multitasking
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Adobe Flash support
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
App availability
200k+
200k+
200k+
200k+
350k+
Video playback
1080p (HDMI)
1080p (HDMI)
1080p (HDMI)
1080p (HDMI)
1080p (HDMI)
Battery capacity
6500 mAH
6860 mAH
6400 mAH
4000 mAH
6930 mAH

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Comments 6 comments

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

Wow, what a great overview! I really appreciate the videos and descriptions - and it's brilliant to be able to see all of these tablets compared in one place. Great Hub!


livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thanks, Simone!


xcubist profile image

xcubist 5 years ago

Nice reviews, being an original ipad person, gotta say don't plan on upgrading to the 2 anytime soon. But I'm kinda digging that XOOM with the storage option. Oh yeah, and that's it's flash ready, nice.


Nelle Hoxie 5 years ago

My little NookColor wants to be an Android Tablet. It has a spiffy little web browser and when it get's its app store it'll rock.


Timshapiro profile image

Timshapiro 5 years ago from USA

I wrote my own article about tablet PC's. Personally I think everything out on the market right now when it comes to tablets is pretty pathetic. People complain about weight and that seems completely irrelevant to me, it's not an E-reader, it's supposed to be a damn computer in your hands (something the Ipad has yet to accomplish. Instead they try to deliver "the internet in your hands" without delivering the internet in your hands seeing as it's not flash compatible).

These Android devices may be getting a little bit of hype but here's the fact of the matter. Google doesn't give a crap about their products. They could all fail but for so long as they find a niche in any of their products they will find a way to transform the internet forever (and that's really where google makes all their money) Google's primary focus is on the Google OS Tablet which only has a few preliminary videos that shows a few ideas on how the interface will work on a tablet.

My money is on a Windows 8 tablet seeing as there's rumors of Windows 8 having a tablet friendly interface setting. I really think you'd like to see the general information that I present in my post. It's not talking about specification of various devices but it is talking about the market and customer expectations and pet peeves.


lemonkerdz profile image

lemonkerdz 3 years ago from TRUJILLO, PERU

Thanks for the info. i'm just looking into buying a tablet now and saw the motorola xoom although good i've seen the Asus 16gb Transformer at a pretty decent price. Although it is not on your list, have you put it to the test to give an opinion?

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