This year's center-stage rivalry in tablet computers is shaping up as Apple versus Android, according to analysts. Windows, meanwhile, remains hobbled by its PC past.
The rise of the tablet happened almost overnight, after the April release of Apple's iPad, which, as Steve Jobs boasted recently, has been selling at a clip of "one every three seconds." So, the burning question for analysts and consumers alike is, which technology will compete most effectively with that of the iPad, which runs on Apple's iPhone OS?
Answer: Google's Android. Windows may yet power popular tablets, but for now, that seems less certain than Android, analysts say. "Windows is still quite heavy, in terms of its power consumption," Jeff Orr, an analyst at ABI Research, said in reference to its tendency to overtax the minimalist silicon in tablets.
Even Dell, despite having deep roots in Windows, has chosen to come out initially with an Android-based device, the Streak. "Dell is deeply committed to Android," said Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies. "There will be a lot of experimentation by them, but at this point, they are going full-bore with Android."
A research note this week from analyst Charles King at Pund-IT gushed about the Streak, whose smaller screen size places it somewhere between the larger iPad and a smartphone. The device comes with "3G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth wireless support, integrated GPS, [and a] 5-[megapixel] camera," along with "integrated Google Maps and turn-by-turn navigation, easy integration of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube social-media apps, [and] Android app/market access," he wrote. "This is an impressive package by most measures, but what is most notable is that...the Streak is actually a study in iPad contrasts: a significantly smaller display, integrated camera, immediate support for voice calling and eventually for video chat, easily upgradable memory and accessible battery and, last but not least, support for Adobe Flash." … Read more