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Apple iPad VS. Android Tablet: At Work and at Home

Mar 14, 2012 9:37 AM, By Jason Bovberg

Tablet computing is the wave of the future. Which one is best for your connected environment?

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OK, suppose you take one of the many Android-based tablets to work in order to make a presentation. You need to connect your device to a large display for the meeting. You’ll understand immediately that, compared with the iPad, you have a wide array of connectivity options built into the device. You can use a generic cable to stream video, view photos, display an app, project PowerPoint presentations, and simply display the Android UI—thanks to standard USB (either mini or full-sized) and HDMI output ports built in. The USB port also obviously gives you unlimited storage-expansion capabilities.

Whereas the iPad locks you into the proprietary Apple approach, Android tablets literally open up your options as a result of Android’s inherently open architecture. An army of hardware manufacturers are today angling to pioneer their own Android-based tablets, creating a competitive atmosphere that’s filled with feature-rich promise. Hot tablets in this market include the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Toshiba Thrive, the Motorola Xoom, the Asus Eee Pad, the Sony Tablet S, the Acer Iconia, the T-Mobile G-Slate, HTC Flyer, and the Amazon Kindle Fire. Display sizes among these models range from 7in. to 10in., and resolutions range from 480x800 standard-definition to 2560x1600 high-definition. More important, the varieties give you a wealth of mini or full-sized USB ports, mini or full-sized HDMI ports, and micro or full-sized SD output—sometimes multiple ports of the same variety. The Android market offers a breadth of options and power, perhaps at the expense of the glossy, “it just works” usability of the proprietary iPad. (Some Android models, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, are also going the proprietary route by offering limited I/O options with non-standard dock connectors.)

Whereas the iPad has FaceTime, Android has a number of video-calling apps to choose from (including Google Voice), but none are as popular or usable as Skype. Skype only recently unveiled two-way video calling on Android tablets at CES 2012. Promising the obvious benefits of cross-platform compatibility and support, Skype is just now becoming an eye-opening advantage to going the Android route. And it supports video calling over 3G—but you’ll have to do your research and make sure your Android tablet has a chip and antenna to connect to a 3G data network.

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