As soon as I saw the preview for Android 3.0, optimized for tablets, I was in awe just like everyone else.

The preview is amazing, right? I agree, but previews can be misleading. There are a couple unanswered questions: How is the battery life? How big of a tablet are we looking at? I may have mentioned that I don’t want another 7 inch tablet, I’d say that’s pretty important to me.

The answers to these questions will determine how they do against Apple’s iPad. I’ll explore a few key features that will be important if Google (or anyone else really) want to take on Apple.

Multi-touch I know that Android has multi-touch, but it’s still not on par with iOS devices. It looks like transitions are smoother and more responsive, but then again I didn’t see any fingers either. If multi-touch isn’t improved based on what Android devices has now,people will continue to eye other options.

Battery One of the best things about the iPad is that it will last a long time. Specs say that it will roam the internet for 9 hours without a charge. One of the ways they accomplish such great battery life is by dumbing down multi-tasking—but people love it. I for one would be willing to give a little battery time for more processing, but I wouldn’t bet that everyone is. If the battery doesn’t last long (I’d say at least 5 hours) … well, just don’t count your chickens… or baby bots.

Apps Yes, Google, I know that you’ve got every possible version of every possible app on the internet from word processing to photo editing, but people are still a bit wary of that concept. To many, an internet app is a slow app, not everyone has lightning fast internet. The people I’ve talked to about their iPads say they can do more than 90% of their work on their tablets. They also all have Pages and Numbers installed. So, Google, you might want to think of a mobile version of Google Docs that syncs to a users account.

Screen Size There’s not much you can do on a phone in way of real work. You can check your email, you can play a few games, but when you want to do real work you pull out a bigger screen. It does look like there will be a lot of variety (I’ve seen anything from 7-10 in screens) so there should be something to make everyone happy.

The advantage Google has over Apple is that Google has other’s developing the hardware for them (which leads to lots of diversity), the disadvantage Google has that Apple doesn’t have is that Google has other’s developing hardware for them. They don’t have as much say as Apple does. Googe doesn’t have one hundred percent control of multi-touch, battery life, apps, or screen size—so lets hope that the hardware vendors are listening too. I will say that if Google can live up to their preview of Honeycomb, they’ve got an awesome start when it comes to tablets.

Did I leave anything out? Let me know in the comments.

Software looks slick, but I have the same concerns. Multitouch is a deal-breaker if you've ever used an iPhone or iPad. It's got to be at least as good or I won't even consider switching. Another barrier to entry for someone like me is that I already have a lot invested in apps for my ios devices. I wouldn't want to start over. And if Apple continues to make me a happy customer, I won't have to.
Mark Richardson on 2011-01-07 10:14:12.0