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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Xoom, the iPad 2, and the next App Gold Rush

I knew, of course, that when I picked up a Xoom something else would get announced shortly after.  Naturally, Apple did not disappoint here.  I'd considered getting an I pad last year but wanted to see what 2011 might bring.  March is barely a whisper of Spring and the tablet wars are truly underway.

The have been two interesting trends since Apple's announcement. One is the coverage of what the iPad 2 didn't bring to the table: no Retina, no Thunderbolt, no USB, no SD slot, no 4G.  Hardware-wise, the new iPad's real trick is to maintain a bit of parity with the Xoom while cutting into the price point.  And of course, now you can get the still quite attractive original I pad for even cheaper.

But still, I don't think I've seen quite so many articles following in the heels of an Apple announcement which points to all the things Apple didn't do, instead of what it did.  Sure, the magnetic cover is slick ... but give me the pixel density of Retina, or at least the resolution of the Xoom instead.

The other trend is the rather palatable, though predictable, word from the Apple camp of ... so what?  It's still going to be the hottest thing since sliced bread and everyone will want one.  And, they're right - Apple me brilliant in its conservatism here, leveraging their excellent hardware profit margins and superior software suite to push their platform.

Did I say superior software suite? I did, but before the Android mob shows up on my doorstep - let me just say I love my Xoom and have zero regrets in purchasing it.  My iPhone is perfectly sufficient for my iOS needs, and I've had a blast with the Xoom so far.  But that's not to say Google can simply dismiss the iTunes factor, or that Motorola can really compare the current stock of iPad apps with a handful of apps geared for the Xoom.

But like I said in the last post: we don't have a mobile landscape, we have a tsunami.  Android tablets will sell and as that market grows larger it will attract more developers.  Google, or Amazon, or someone will realize the next app gold rush is starting.  We may be living in Apple's Post-PC world, but it's a world whose rules are becoming more strongly defined by software instead of hardware ... and Android as a lot of resources for delivering software.