Motorola XOOM

Motorola XOOM

We’ve been here before. The Galaxy Tab was the first real iPad rival. A few months down the line and we’re starting to hear the same thing all over again, Honeycomb is the new first real iPad rival.

Honeycomb is, of course, Android 3.0 – Google’s answer to the iPad/iOS in general. The iPad and iOS are both Apple controlled whereas Honeycomb is Googles OS new Android OS supported by tablets from a slew of manufacturers from here on. I’ve got a feeling this is going to be the “iPhone killer” story all over again, only with iPad instead of iPhone.

Several tablets are going to be released with high hopes, massive fanfare, glitz and glamour, only to turn out crappy. What we have to realise is that Apple has more than a year head start. Steve Jobs said the iPad came even before the iPhone did. That says a lot when it comes to maturity of the platform. When buying an iPad or an iPhone, it’s not a gamble. You’re pretty much guaranteed of a high quality experience that few companies can offer.

Honeycomb on the other hand is starting off at the rear end of the line. This is Google’s first attempt at a tablet OS. And it’s coming at a time when Apple is gearing for round 2. Now consider this. With Android, it took Google about 3 years to catch up. Most people agree that Android 2.3 is at least on par with iOS. They both have their issues but they just about cancel out. Android in the tablet realm is probably going to take about that long to catch up to iOS.

Entering the game at the same time is the HP/Palm Tablet. It has all the elegance of iOS and with the right hardware it could shake things up, more for Google than Apple as it tries to gain tablet market share. These are tough times for Tablet and OS engineers but awesome times for consumers, if they make the right decisions.