What's a tablet? What is a tablet supposed to be and do? Nine years ago, these questions were at the center of the debates on new technologies, as Apple was preparing to present its first iPad and rival companies were eager to beat it. CES 2010 gave us an answer in the form of HP Slate 8.9-inch, a Windows 7 PC running on an Intel Atom processor. A few weeks later, the Apple iPad debuted with a 9.7-inch display, mobile chips and software. And then, a year later, Google released an Android version called Honeycomb, specifically designed for tablets.
Nobody understood the tablets at the time; everyone guessed. Originally, Apple had envisioned the iPad as the glossy equivalent of the Kindle of Amazon. The iPad would be more interactive, it would have applications, but its appeal was largely derived from "digital magazines" and comics created for the platform. Publishers quickly found this idea too expensive to maintain and Apple discovered that users were also using the iPad for many other purposes. The initial reluctance of the company to offer a stylus or keyboard has since turned into several generations of keyboard covers and pencils Apple. Apple's iPad development has been characterized by learning, adapting and developing.
What did Google do during this time? Well, the Mountain View company at took the world of smartphones with Android, so that's all. However, translating this operating system on tablets has been a chronic and tragic failure for Google. The Motorola Xoom and Xyboard, the transformer Asus Eee Pad, the Toshiba Excite 13-inch and many other companies from Acer, Dell, Lenovo and Google have promised to disappoint. Android on tablets has never been as appealing as on a few 7-inch devices – the Google Nexus 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab – and on task-specific tablets, such as Amazon's Fire HD and Nvidia's # 39; s Shield Tablet, which are both more content-oriented than the OS.
The reason for the failure of Android as an OS tablet should be obvious. Android is made for smartphones. The system requirements are tailored to the capabilities of a smartphone, its application library is designed to fit the screen of a smartphone and all of its simplified user features are designed for the vertical orientation of a smartphone. smartphone. While the number of phone displays has continued to grow over the last decade, it is likely that they will find their ceiling right when they reach the dimensions of Nexus 7 and Galaxy Tab. Android is not expandable to infinity.
Putting Android on a 10-inch tablet (or more) makes as much sense as looking for clothes for Yao Ming in a regular store. Of course, you can unearth appropriate scarves, ties and belts, but most things will be totally incompatible. Google received this message after its series of embarrassing flops. But instead of going to a tailor, the company has just started to look in the aisle of clown costumes with its operating system Chrome, as clearly shows the stealth Pixel Slate.
Android is an operating system designed for phones, Chrome OS is an operating system designed for laptops and mixing Android applications and Chrome software that Google offers on the Pixel Slate is a buggy mess. It's easy to fall into the trap of looking at the size of a tablet's screen and saying, "It's like a laptop, install a laptop software there." ", Or consider his touch screen and declare," This is only an enlarged phone. "Easy and fake.
Tablets, while close to phones and laptops, are unique. To have a good experience of the tablet, you need an operating system specifically designed for this task. It must offer an intuitive touch interface, like a phone, but it must also fully exploit its larger screen and its higher specification cap. The Apple iPad is of course the model to follow. Apple has developed custom X editions of its iPhone chips for use in the iPad, taking advantage of the larger battery and the best cooling of the tablet. The company has also devoted the major iOS versions to improving the functionality of the iPad, even though the iPhone remains its most important product. This, combined with the historical willingness of application developers to create iPad-specific applications, generates a distinct user experience for iPad only.
As long as Google continues to try to stack its software for other platforms on a tablet, it will continue to suffer the ignominy of failure. Android Wear on smartwatches, now renamed Wear OS, is another informative example of what should be a very simple concept: if you want to create the best possible version of any gadget, the software that you need designed for this. Anyone at Google should really check out the long, aberrant past of Microsoft that has been trying to thin Windows enough to fit its mobile devices. (Today's Surface Pro 2-in-1 is good, but it's still more laptops than tablets.) There is also a series of spectacular pseudo-mobile chips from Intel.
The future of technology will be defined by more software specialization, not less. Even today, the best fitness trackers feature a "featherlight" software specially designed for the efficient processing of biometric data. The best cameras, on which Google knows a lot, are defined by a highly customized and multilayered exploitation of the basic hardware.
Good software, despite its name, is incredibly difficult to do. This is what makes pragmatic companies try to take shortcuts, as does every PC manufacturer who sends a copy of Windows or every phone maker that uses Android. But Google is not just another company and its competitor, Apple's iPad, is not just another imaginary slab of transistors and pixels. To tackle the iPad, Google must give up on his law Dr. Frankenstein and take the time to make a tablet from fresh parts.
The truth is that virtually everyone in technology can build a good tablet, but very few of them have been able to create a good tablet experience.