One thing that must be remembered to all new buyers out there is that once they buy a tablet, they are most likely stuck with the apps available on that device. iPad has its iTunes, Google has Google Play, Amazon with its Kindle and Microsoft with its own system. Every one of them has their own ecosystem. Watch out what you are buying into.
To make it clearer, here is Warner Crocker of Gotta Be Mobile:
As I’ve been saying for quite some time now, picking a Tablet has more to do with which company’s ecosystem you want to buy into than it does with picking up a piece of hardware. Yes, the hardware is important, and consumers look to have quite a few choices at quite a few price points to choose from on the hardware front. Make no mistake though, once you buy a Tablet you’re buying into a digital world view that is defined by Microsoft, Apple, Google, or Amazon. Unless of course you’re like me and you like to dabble in each of those worlds. But for most consumers, it will come down to one choice. I’m guessing that there are more than a few consumers out there who don’t realize the full impact the ecosystem has when they are looking at these devices, or the sexy commercials. We’re reaching a point where not only do the hardware and the ecosystem matter, but how those choices fit in with what you currently use for your computing chores and increasingly your entertainment choices. Here’s my take on some of the choices.
Clouds, Storage, Media
Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft all want you, your data, and your content in their respective Cloud. To some degree your media choices are limited by content companies who allow those four to let you use their content. Chances are with video you’ll find most of what you’re looking for with Apple and Amazon, with Google and Microsoft currently lagging behind. Unless your tastes are really special, you’ll find pretty much any of the music you’re looking for wherever you go. If books are your thing then Amazon is the clear leader here, and not just on its own devices, because you can load up a Kindle App on any of the other platforms. iBooks and what Google makes available pale in comparison in my view, and Microsoft, who I bought my first eBooks from, just isn’t in this game.
If you want to mix and match (Google Drive on an iPad or Microsoft’s Skydrive on Android as examples), you can do that as well with all but Microsoft Surface currently. If you want to use Amazon’s MP3 player or Google’s Music Player you can mix and match on all platforms except Microsoft. You can, through 3rd party solutions, sync your music from iTunes on other platforms (excluding Windows RT). Apple, Amazon, and Android also currently give you access to third party media clients. Do you notice a trend there? I would hope you do. Again, I imagine that we see third party Cloud solutions for data and content on Surface in the future, but if you want to be portable now, you need to look at Android (including Amazon) or Apple. I guess a reverse of this would be when we’ll see an xBox music App on the other platforms. Of course there are third party streaming alternatives as well, and again you can have good luck with those currently on all but Microsoft’s Surface RT platform.
With regards to data, if you want to use a third party solution like Dropbox, you’re safe at the moment with all but Microsoft. Expect that to change, but currently there is no Dropbox (or other third party Cloud Storage) App for Microsoft’s Tablet.
In summary, we, the buyer must know what we are getting into. Some apps will not be available for certain ecosystem. So, make sure that the function of the tablet match your needs. Otherwise, you will waste your money.