Figures suggest expensive data plans for Android tablets are making it difficult for Android slates to compete with Apple’s iPad. There might be millions of apps in the App store and the design of the Apple iPad 2 might be faultless, but the lack of a data plan with the iPad is giving it a massive advantage over Android tablets. Tablets such as the Transformer Prime feature superior hardware to that found on the current iPad 2, and many Android tablets sell for far less than Apple’s premium product , but no device can match the runaway success of iPad sales.
Ease of purchase is an important factor in opting for an iPad as your tablet device – memory and color are two considerations, and the other is WiFi or 3G. 3G onnectivity of course means users can get online almost anywhere, and this optimal connectivity is what motivated Apple to negotiate contract-free connectivity with AT & T in the first place – pay-as-you-go is a great way for Apple to offer consumers a feeling of control over their finances when shelling out on a premium product.
Conversely, the lack of no-contract data plans with Android devices is strangling Android devices in the marketplace – anyone wanting mobile connectivity must commit to a two-year contract on top of the cost of their tablet. Granted, you can opt for WiFi, but connectivity will be limited to hotspots, so folk wanting true mobile computing – the internet wherever they are – often simply go the whole hog when selecting a 3G-enabled tablet, and plump for the iPad. Premium product, premium service, premium control over monthly outlay.
Carriers have not rushed to offer monthly data pans with Android tablets, so as 4G tablets filter into the mainstream, expensive data plans will be standard. Yet premium Android tablets already have a hard time emulating Apple’s iPad hardware for the same price, and with a two-year contract for $30-80 in addition, they will remain beyond the budget of most people . An Android tablet purchase at $500 + $50 per month for two years is equivalent to $1700 over two years, or a minimum $65 per month, whereas buying an iPad 2 for $600 with data charged at $20 a month when required means a minimum monthly outlay averaged over two years of $23 per month, or $43 with data. Plus with an iPad users can sell their device second hand if they choose to upgrade, and simply restart from scratch, while the Android gang willbe stuck paying off their contract long after the iPad 3 has arrived, and doubtless consigned the entire Android tablet world to a second-rate experience once more…