LAS VEGAS, CES 2011 — Android tablets have a ways to go — that seems to be the emerging consensus here at CES.
I couldn’t help but notice all the floor chatter going on while people were playing with any one of the dozens of new Android tablets here on display at CES. As I listened, the crowd consensus became clear to me—not only are all the new Android tabs not as good as the iPad, they’re not even close.
Why? Well that’s what I started wondering. I wanted to hear unfiltered reviews on what potential users were thinking. So after hearing the 100th person murmur something like, “this doesn’t work nearly as good as the iPad,” I starting getting nosy and asking them why.
“It’s confusing to use,” one woman explained to me about the Samsung Galaxy tab. She couldn’t figure out how to interact with it. She didn’t know what it was about the iPad that made it feel so intuitive to use, she just new the Galaxy tab made her feel like she was doing a math problem. She also didn’t like the quality or dimensions of the screen. The text wasn’t sharp or large enough. It was hard for her to see. Two other gentlemen also commented on the tab screens they had seen. They felt like all had much lower quality screens than the iPad.
Other tab-testers I interrogated were frustrated the that touch controls on the tabs seemed laggy, unresponsive, or inaccurate. I definitely understand this complaint. It’s a common complaint about Android phones. It’s one of the first things I look for when I get to play with a new Android device. Many times, though a tab has touch control, the screen animations are jumpy or laggy, or the don’t accurately interpret your touch. In my experience, the iPad rarely, if ever, has these kinds of problems.
There was one Android tab though that consumers seemed excited about. The newly-announced Motorola Xoom looks great hardware-wise, and the touch controls seemed responsive, snappy, and fairly accurate (though definitely not as “buttery” as the iPad).
It also has a vibrant 720p screen, and the the dual front and rear cameras are a nice touch. It’s also running the newest version of Android, 3.0 (aka Honeycomb). But we’ll have to wait till this ships in 3-4 months before being able draw any conclusions.
The Xoom on display here at the convention isn’t a fully-functional unit, it’s a locked down version that only plays demonstration videos showing what the Xoom is eventually supposed to be able to do.
So while I’m sure Android tabs will keep getting better, at this year’s CES, I think twitter user @sahaskatta summed it up best when he wrote:
“A bit sickened by the number of shitty Android tablets at CES. Literally every company has one. 99% are crap.