Why all the hate?

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Google’s big announcement of Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) yesterday at their conference clearly received a lot of press coverage across the web and in the news.  Most of the coverage was excellent focusing specifically on it’s features and possibility down the road.  But some sites decided that they would start the flame wars.  Mind you, this is all before Honeycomb has even been released to the public, and more than likely  these sites haven’t even had time with it.  But, I’m not just talking about the Apple Fanboys and girls here.  There was plenty to go around from the Android camp as well.

So, why all the hate?….

After seeing the impressive announcement of Honeycomb yesterday, I was pretty excited about what this meant for the overall tablet market.  As Android has done with smartphones, they will do with tablets.  Design an OS, and let the manufacturer’s decide what device to put it on and market it.  It has worked this far, so why change now?

Honeycomb will be a featured tablet on the upcoming Motorola Xoom.  This will directly compete with Apple’s current and future iPad, and is more than likely one of the few real contenders we will see this year.  The new tablet and the new Android OS will surely be a great combination of features and specs.  There will be lots of widgets and customizations featured in 3.0 that brings a different user experience from what’s out right now compared to the iPad and even Samsung’s Android Galaxy Tab (even though Google did not back the Tab).

But browsing my RSS reader yesterday brought up an interesting article from AppleInsider that peaked my interest.  It isn’t the first time this has been done, nor the last, but nonetheless it was so utterly silly.  The article was titled “Android 3.0 Honeycomb more akin to Tablet PC than iPad,” and simply goes on to list all of the reasons why the new tablet and new Honeycomb version will fail and do so miserably.  The article was actually quite comical if you give it a read.  And again, the same goes for the Android camp.  In speaking with Andreas today, he showed me an article he was a little miffed about.   As you can see, the crap goes around and comes around.  But why?

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We all understand that no device has all of the features we all want.  It’s too hard for this.  That goes for tablets, smartphones and media players.  A Cowon guy cannot stand the “lifeless” sound quality of an iPod, but at the same time an Apple fan won’t stand for the lack of apps from Cowon.  Apple uses their proprietary connector on their iPad which offers more functionality, where Android will more than likely be using micro USB and HDMI hookups which offers more compatibility.  Someone likes the preference for aluminum, or shiny finish where others like textured and matte.  Just differences.  That has been a battle between Mac and PC (except a PC is anyone’s personal computer) for years.  But is there really much of a difference?  They all do the same things.

So what about the biggest difference, the OS?  Clearly Android will be running a completely different style OS from iOS.  Android started that way in the beginning, and will obviously continue.  Android runs widgets and a notification window shade, iOS uses push notifications.  Apple can multitask now, but Android can multitask a little differently.  But with the multitasking comes the downside of extra battery use.  It’s a trade-off just like anything.  But to throw you guys a curve, the underlying OS is still relatively similar.  Both still are touch focused with lots of eye candy.  Both use icons and a grid style layout.  Both have 100’s of thousands of apps to choose from, and counting.  Android is open, and Apple is closed, but how much of that really changes the environment for 90% of the consumers out there.  Apple products have more accessories available, but Android products have more choice in hardware available.

Going back to the article, AppleInsider slams the new Honeycomb for having a “busy new desktop,” and the iPad offers a “far more simplistic home page,” basically giving Android a hard time for being different from Apple while at the same time admonishing “the eBook app and turning virtual pages using the same page turning effect Apple showed off a year ago when it launched the iPad.”  So is there a reason to harp on the difference of Android from iOS, but then also harp on the similarities?

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In the end, I simply just don’t get it.  I like Android and prefer it over iOS.  I am a T Mobile customer and my wife gave me the G1 as a present when it came out.  Was it because the iPhone wasn’t on the network? Maybe, maybe not (ask her).  But I sure am glad I stayed with Android.  It’s not perfect, but I enjoy it.  But before I upset the Apple fans, we also own an iPad.  It’s a great device that will be used for awhile.  I have my eyes on some of these new Android tablets getting ready to launch, as well as waiting for the full stable Honeycomb release for my Nook. We shall see what the future holds for me.

But when it comes to these flame wars and constant bashing of one side to another, it simply does us no good.  Especially in the media department.  Here at NBT, we simply like tablets no matter what OS they run.  Like it or not, these two operating systems are more similar than we think.  There aren’t many apps on either platform you can’t get on the other or one extremely similar.  How different is a Mac from a Windows or even linux (which has become extremely user friendly)?  How different in build quality is a high end Android phone vs an iPhone?  Just get whatever you like, and be happy for the people around you that get a different device whether it’s an iPad, Blackberry Playbook, HP Slate, Android or anything else.  Otherwise we wouldn’t be talking tablets today.  We’d still be pushing around boulders with our bare hands.

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Allen Schmidt

Allen is a former contributing editor at Nothing But Tablets, which was merged with Pocketables in 2012.

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