Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Android and Friends to Take On iPad

The Taipei Computer Trade Show has long been a venue for manufacturers to show their latest wares in the gadget arena.

This year is no different as computer makers Acer and Dell have both announced tablet devices to compete with Apple's popular iPad, released this year. Both companies also said that their devices will be using Google's Android operating system as their software backbone.

This shows that Android is the OS of choice against Apple's proprietary operating system for its mobile smart devices (iPad and iPhone). It also shows that Microsoft may be out of the running, for now, as far as its mobile offerings as Hewlett-Packard is rumored to have delayed release of its tablet computer because of problems with Windows.

In the smartphone world, markets clearly divided and then Apple dominated because of several factors. The first was mobile carriers, with Apple tied to AT&T and others open to many carriers, this seemed like a losing situation for Apple. Fighting back on the software front, however, Apple dominated by giving a leg up to developers and dominating the applications market with more apps available for their devices than any other maker or operating system.

With hardware mostly all coming from the same core sources, such as ARM Holdings, which makes chips that power about 40 tablet-style devices currently or soon-to-be on the market as well as 10 e-reader devices for electronic books, the competition is all in software.

Android's clear advantages are in its free-to-use architecture, its more open availability to developers and device makers and the fluidity between devices. Its weak point currently is application development, for which it has only about 25% of what is available for Apple devices.

With Apple already well on in an early lead, it's questionable that others will be able to catch up, but Android devices are certainly planning to make a run at it.