Ever since Amazon dropped the price floor out of the tablet marketplace to $199 with the Kindle Fire, tech observers, and possibly many consumers, have wondering what Apple might do about it. After a couple of press events, we finally have the answer in the iPad Mini.
So here we have our four-way comparison of the top seven inch tablet offerings in the US.
Kindle Fire HD
|Barnes & Noble Nook HD||Google
|Base Price||$329||$199||$199||$199||The Others||Apple|
|Memory||16gb||8gb||8gb + Micro SDHC card||8gb||B&N for cheap expansion.||Amazon and Google|
|Screen Size||7.9 inches||7 inches||7 inches||7 inches||Apple||The Others|
|Screen Resolution||1024 X 768
|1280 X 800
|1440 X 900
|1280 X 800
|Size||11.67 cu in.||16.83 cu in.||16.45 cu in||14.66 cu in||Apple||Amazon|
1.0ghz A5 dual core
|1.2ghz OMAP dual core||1.3ghz OMAP dual core||1.2 ghz Tegra quad core||Apple|
Only in 4g models
|No||No||Yes||Amazon and B&N|
Front 720p Rear 5 megapixel
|Front 1.3 megapixel||None||Front 1.2 Megapixel||Apple||B&N|
|Stereo + Dolby||Stereo||Stereo||Amazon||Apple|
|Yes||Yes||No||Amazon and B&N||Apple and Google|
Of course the first thing that Apple supporters will point out is the superiority of iOS, and the Apple App Inventory. And in truth if you must have iOS then you must buy Apple and will forever do so . There really isn’t much a point in even looking at any other products if you must have iOS any more than there is any point in looking at other products if you must buy it in an Apple Store.
So since the point of this article is that you can and should be able to compare products I will state that Android is a completely capable operating system and the chances of not finding a suitable app for a particular need in the many thousands available on their devices is minuscule.
And if you want to attract tech consumers who believe that they should be able to compare products and yours is 165% the price of the others you had better blow them away on all the specs. And quite frankly the iPad mini does not. On size, weight, and camera there is a clear advantage, but at the same time the screen resolution and processor are behind the crowd. This will particularly be a difference for those who like to watch movies on their tablet since the screen proportions will require the iPad to have top-and-bottom letter-boxing on most movies.
The one feature that the iPad mini has that the others simply do not is the rear-facing camera. So a big question regarding whether the iPad Mini is worth it centers on how valuable is that camera. The answer to that may depend on whether the potential buyer already has a good camera on their phone. If their phone has a camera of equal or better quality, then having a rear-facing camera on their tablet won’t be worth much.
The next big question in the small tablet market will be who will enter it with a small Windows 8 device. So far the Microsoft Surface and the third-party announcements have centered on ‘standard size’ tablets. But once that is filled, somebody will have the idea of a seven inch Windows 8 RT device running on the same hardware.