Tablets: ‘Why Should Somebody Buy This Instead of an iPad?’

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3. “I have hardware with features Apple doesn’t have.”

toshibathrive1The iPad doesn’t have 4G connectivity. Or an SD slot. Or a standard USB connector. Or built-in HDMI. Or a removable battery. These are all things which reasonable people might covet in a tablet, and while I can’t imagine many folks would opt for another tablet over the iPad to get oneadditional feature, they might be intrigued by a tablet with a critical mass of them.

Any examples? Toshiba’s Thrive, arriving next month, has the SD slot, USB port, HDMI, and removable battery–as befits a Toshiba, it’s the most PC-like Android tablet I’ve seen to date, and among the iPad alternatives with the clearest identity of its own.

4. “I come in a noticeably different size.”

htcflyerSteve Jobs may think that 7″ tablets make no sense. A recent survey says that less than fifteen percent of people want one. Still, I’ve run into more than a handful of folks who think it’s a much more pleasing form factor than the iPad and its competitors with screens in the neighborhood of 10 inches. And considering screen size to be a major factor when picking a tablet makes perfect sense, as long as you can find a well-rounded tablet at the size you prefer. (I may be alone on this, but I’m also fascinated by the notion of tablets with much larger screens than the iPad.)

Any examples? I haven’t seen a 7″ tablet that’s knocked my socks off–the PlayBook is a big disappointment, and Android 7-inchers such as HTC’s Flyer aren’t using the tablet-friendly Gingerbread yet. But I don’t see any basic obstacles that will prevent someone, someday from building a really nice, up-to-the-minute 7″ Android tablet.

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