Now that Google's Android platform is rising in popularity and going head to head with Apple's iPad, things can get a little confusing when you are shopping for a good tablet without hassle. Actually for some people, if you're standing 5 feet away it can be hard to tell them apart sometimes. Which one are you going to choose? You have the iPad, the Nexus, the Kindle, the Galaxy, the choices seem endless. If you have a few hundred dollars burning a hole in your pocket and you're sweating trying to figure out which tablet to pull the trigger on, all of your problems can be solved by simply asking yourself what you are actually looking for in a tablet.
Let's look at some pros and cons of each device.
One huge strength of the iPad is it's whole ecosystem. This includes the App Store with almost one million different apps that are designed specifically for the iPad. And if they aren't designed for the iPad, they can still run on the iPad with pretty much no issues. There is also the extensive list of accessories that you can get for it. These include iPad cases, wireless keyboards, even external speakers. You can even hook your guitar up to you iPad and use it as an amp, or download arcade games and play all day without spending one single quarter.
The iPad also seems to be a bit more stable than Android tablets. Apple approves each individual app before it hits the app store. This insures that is does what it says and most of the bugs will be worked out before you even have the chance to download it. See, for Apple and it's app creators, they only have to worry about a select few devices, making it easier to work out the kinks. Android has an absolute ton of different devices, and despite efforts to make their OS more simplistic and easy to use, Apple has them beat in that category.
There is a big trade off in being more stable and easy to use. This takes away the ability to fully customize and to expand. Yes, it is great that each app is reviewed and tested before it hits the store. Yes, it's great that iPad users don't have to worry about malware infections on their devices. But this approval process does cut out some pretty useful apps. The iPad also completely lacks the ability to expand it's storage. You can't use flash drives, SD cards or anything of that nature. What you get is simply what you get.
An iPad is also more expensive than your average Android. When the iPad first came out, their price was one of their biggest selling points. At the time it was almost impossible to believe that a touch based tablet was only $499. Now, with 7 inch tablets becoming more popular, you can get an Android tablet that does just about anything under the sun for $199, which is almost half the price of the iPad Mini.
Androids biggest perk has to be the sheer amount of devices that you have to choose from and the amount that you can customize each one after you pick it out and make your purchase. Between the Google Nexus, Samsung Galaxy and Kindle Fire, there are three premier Android tablets to pick from. On top of those, there are hundreds of other brands and models to pick from. In the past few years, Android has also grown up quite a bit. They support many features like, like widgets for example, that Apple has always stayed away from and completely ignored.
We also have the Google Play market which has come a long way in the past few years. Now you have literally just about the exact same amount of apps as you'll find in Apple's App Store. While the lack of quality control for apps means more of those apps could be a little bit screwy, the boost in numbers does offer a lot more variety than Android ever had before, even just a few short years ago.
New 7 inch tablets also provide a cheaper entry level price range than Apple.
Of course a big con would be the lack of supervision over Google Play. You know what you're getting when you download big-name apps, but when you see a little unknown app that sounds cool, you honestly have no idea what you could be getting into.
Piracy has also done a lot of damage to Android. While it's probably possible to pirate apps on the iPad, it's actually a really big deal on Android. It's really easy and people do it all the time. This is causing some developers to stick to building apps specifically for iOS devices rather than risking the money it would take to develop the app for Android. This is the biggest problem when it comes to top games that you may want on your tablet. They may never be made.
THE BIG PICTURE:
A great tablet for anyone. You can write books, create music, surf the web, whatever you want. It's also great for anyone who is a little bit intimidated by technology because it is so simple to use, and there really isn't anything to worry about. You can have more fun with less time spent trying to figure it out.
The Android audience can be a bit more broad. Anyone who wants to watch movies, read books, listen to music and play casual games. OR, those of you who want to customize and and tweak your device to get everything out of it that you can to get the best experience out of your media. The price tag won't hurt your pocket, you have a ton of options to choose from, and you can always upgrade your device whenever you decide you need more out of it.
With all of the great tablets on sale this holiday season, I hope this helps!