Was Tim Cook off base by calling Android tablets "scaled-up smartphones"?

Taylor Martin
 from  Concord, NC
| January 19, 2011

Considering the Android tablet boom is about to hit, I expected Apple to chime in at some point to belittle the competition as much as they can. Typically, I pay no mind to companies criticizing their competition, as they're always extremely biased and believe their product is flawless. These few comments from Tim Cook, however, struck a nerve.

When it comes to Windows 7 tablets, I will agree that they aren't consumer friendly and are rather clunky. They almost require a stylus for accurate input and will need a lot more work before they appeal to the masses for everyday use. The instant-on feature and finger-friendly displays of tablets running mobile platforms make them much more ideal for on-the-go use.

What really tripped the trigger was when Cook described Android tablets as “scaled-up smartphones.” What exactly does he consider the iPad then? I'm not saying he's wrong, but I will definitely call out the iPad on this assertion.

The only Android tablet that really competes on the same level as the iPad as of today is the Galaxy Tab, which runs Froyo. This is a version of Android that was not meant for tablets; Google said it themselves. But when the Motorola XOOM and future Android tablets launch, they will have a separate version of Android that is “built entirely for tablets”, Honeycomb. Running with dual-core processors and a more desktop-like version of Android, these tablets pose a serious threat to their Apple counterpart.

However, Cook also says, “If you do a side-by-side with an iPad, you'll pick an iPad.” That statement is completely biased and objective. I had a Galaxy Tab, and while I kept my iPad and returned the Tab, I still liked the Tab more. I favor the 7-inch form over 9.7-inches, something there is no hope of seeing from Apple. I also prefer how Android utilizes the large display with useful widgets. I find the icon-only interface of iOS boring and the folders are unintuitive and slow me down.

I'm not trying to go Android fanboy on anyone here. I have an iPad and I love it. I use it everyday, but that doesn't change the fact that it also falls victim to Cook's statement. The last I checked, the iPad was still running on the same version of software that the iPhone is running. It is nothing but a scaled up iPhone without the cameras. Does that make me love it any less? Not at all. Expect anything more out of this new generation of tablets, and you will inevitably be disappointed.

Steve Jobs and his crew have never had anything nice to say about Android, and it should come as no surprise. Google's platform poses a very real threat to Apple's sales in the mobile space – both in tablets and phones. Apple doesn't like that, and they make rash statements about the platform. The funny thing is, at D: Dive Into Mobile, Andy Rubin went as far as to compliment Apple on their vertical integration of hardware and software. Here goes Tim Cook bashing Android and their fragmentation issue. If you ask me, I say bashing the competition is a bigger tale of fear than anything. What say you? Do you think Apple does/should fear Android tablets? Isn't the iPad also a scaled-up smartphone?