Published in Notebooks

Android fights iPad with low prices, gets bloody nose

by on09 March 2012

Dual-core Android 3.x tablets for €299 are not enough

We could hardly be more annoyed by Google’s pathetically slow update schedules. For the time being, this is our biggest complaint about the entire Android ecosystem, as users are still stuck with 2.3 on most phones and 3.x on tablets. But there is more.

Apple has just rolled out the new iPad, with a Retina screen and revised A5X SoC, so we thought it would be interesting to see how the competition was doing. By competition we mean brand name 10-inch Android tablets with 16GB of memory and at least a dual-core processor running Android 3.x. We would have preferred to include some Android 4.0 tablets in the mix, but there is just one on the market. Write to your favorite Google exec to complain about it.

So, Apple’s new iPad starts at €475, while the iPad 2 is now selling for as little as €379. Brand name Android 10-inchers kick off with the €299 Lenovo Ideapad K1, which is pretty good value for money, as it features a 1280x800 screen, 16GB of storage and Tegra 2 SoC. In the €300 to €350 price bracket, you will find a few 10-inch Tegra 2 tablets from Motorola, Acer and Asus, but as you get closer to €350 the bang-for-buck factor wears off.

The iPad 2 16GB is now €379, and although it has a 1024x768 screen, we believe it offers better value for money. It has a top notch OS with regular updates, faster graphics and Apple’s build quality is second to none. Also, let’s think about depreciation. In a year or so, when you choose to sell your toy, the iPad 2 will be worth more than any of its competitors and you will probably have no trouble finding some takers, either.

With the new iPad, priced at €475 and up, we are in an entirely different league. Not a single Android tablet comes close in terms of display resolution, but then again the price different starts to swing back to the Android side. This is particularly true if you need 3G connectivity or 32GB of storage. In the Android universe, you will pay about €400 for a 3G tablet with 32GB, but Apple will charge you €700. As usual, Apple will charge you a hefty premium for extras, so going for 4G and more storage will cost an arm and a leg.

So what is the bottom line? Apple will continue to dominate the high-end tablet market this year, no question about that, and it will put even more pressure in the mainstream. Android has a great fighting chance in the low-end. Cheap 7-inchers will be Android’s playground, but there are few compelling arguments for Android in the high-end. This time around Apple’s success will clearly be the result of Google’s failure, not innovation. Apple did not introduce a game-changer, but the new iPad is more than enough to maintain a competitive edge over Android.

You can check out the pricing here.

Last modified on 09 March 2012
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