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Why 2012 Will Be the Year of the Android Tablet 584

Posted by Soulskill
from the we-all-scream-for-ice-cream dept.
lseltzer writes "The iPad has dominated the high-end tablet market so far, but that is about to change. At CES in Las Vegas in a couple weeks you will see tablets running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) everywhere and at prices that will make an iPad a lot harder to justify. The competition from the OEM model in the Android markets will massively shift market share away from Apple, just as it has done in the smart phone market."
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Why 2012 Will Be the Year of the Android Tablet

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  • by Luke727 (547923) on Friday December 23, 2011 @09:52AM (#38470548) Homepage Journal

    ...first post

    • This is it! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 23, 2011 @09:57AM (#38470574)
      This is the year of Linux!
      • by cyfer2000 (548592) on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:13AM (#38470684) Journal
        Desktop Linux!
        • Re:This is it! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jythie (914043) on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:38AM (#38470900)
          Oh, if I only had mod points ^_^

          This was my thought exactly... these 'this is the year of *insert personal preference*' get rather repetitive. People seem obsessed with whatever they like being accepted by the majority as the 'right' solution.. I guess it is an extension of the 'I am smart, there is one ideal, so if other people do not agree with me either I am stupid or they are stupid, so it is important that my choices for my use case are universally correct, otherwise my ego hurts' meme.
          • Re:This is it! (Score:4, Insightful)

            by ranton (36917) on Friday December 23, 2011 @11:42AM (#38471674)

            Desiring your prefered platform to "win" is not about wanting to feel superior. It is about wanting your platform to gain enough market share that vendors produce products for that platform.

        • by eugene2k (1213062) on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:59AM (#38471114) Homepage

          To be precise, December 21, 2012 will be the day of Desktop Linux.

      • and the end of the world.
  • Sure, and just as with smartphones, "All Android Phones" will be bigger in the market than the mere iPhone. But look at any individual manufacturer, and that "All Android Phone" share is sliced into so many tiny pieces that Apple dwarfs them. Same with the iPad - Android tablets together may take over 50% of the market... but no individual Android tablet is going to have more than 5%.
    • by smi.james.th (1706780) on Friday December 23, 2011 @09:59AM (#38470588)

      Isn't that a good thing though? With iPad you get very little choice as to what you want, everyone's iPad is the same excepting how much space it's got and whether it has 3G.

      With Android tablets though, because they come in such varieties and with such a selection of features you can have a much more personalised experience. Not to mention the fact that individual manufacturers can customise the interface, like HTC Sense and Samsung TouchWiz, to give you more opportunity to pick one that you like. iPad only offers one choice as far as that goes.

      • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

        Sorry, but... what has that really done for HP or RIM? What will make things different for Motorola (again), HTC, or Asus? Samsung might be a special case, but I would argue for all the wrong reasons-- purely imitating the iPad!

        Options are great, and strong-armed dominance is dangerous... but it is pretty hard to justify the idea that ICS is going to be the catalyst to make Android tablets successful. I'm biased though as a happy owner of an iPad.

        • by chrb (1083577)
          Apple fans once said the same thing about Android phones: "Who the hell is going to buy one when they could get an iPhone instead? The iPhone isn't even more expensive when you consider your time etc." Now that Android turned out to be popular we don't see these arguments so much anymore.
          • by jbolden (176878) on Friday December 23, 2011 @12:00PM (#38471896) Homepage

            Most of the Android phones were sold at carriers other than AT&T and at much lower price points. 2012 when Android comes up for renewal at Sprint and Verizon will be interesting. You'll have iPhones at all the same Android price points and available from the same carriers with the same data options. It really will be (excuse the pun) an apples to apples comparison. Many of the key aspects of Android like:

            -- Poor / no updates for OSes
            -- Incompatibility for apps.
            -- Crippled features from carriers
            -- Microsoft taking a licensing fee

            are starting to bite.

            I sincerely hope that Android continues to do well. While I'm an iPhone user I think the competition is in every consumer's interest. And certainly when I bought my iPhone I looked long and hard at some HTC models. While software helped, it was ultimately hardware, not software, that made me pick the iPhone.

            • Most of my friends who got Android Phones for Verizon because that was the best alternative to iPhone at the time on that carrier are either replacing their android phone with an iPhone or have already done so even buying an iPhone without the discount of a new contract. When I asked them, they all pretty much shrugged that Android was "okay", but originally what they WANTED was an iPhone, just not with AT&T.

              I'm not sure with my friends on Sprint, but I've known people that have abandoned AT&T and

        • by jordanjay29 (1298951) on Friday December 23, 2011 @11:57AM (#38471860)
          Seriously? You must not have seen ASUS' Eee Pad Transformer or the Transformer Prime (I hate how people keep forgetting about that one). How innovative is it for your tablet to dock with a keyboard (which includes goodies like a battery and USB ports) and become kin to a netbook? It's not that ICS will be the catalyst. It's that the convergence of ICS on both Tablet and Phone will make it much easier to sell someone an Android tablet versus an iPad. Got that killer app for your phone? Stick it on your tablet and be even more productive with a big screen.
      • by pauljlucas (529435) on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:58AM (#38471102) Homepage Journal

        With Android tablets though, because they come in such varieties and with such a selection of features you can have a much more personalised experience. Not to mention the fact that individual manufacturers can customise the interface, like HTC Sense and Samsung TouchWiz, to give you more opportunity to pick one that you like.

        For many people, more choice is a bad thing [ted.com].

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          That web site gets my award for the very worst site of 2011, and maybe the century so far. The actual content, the talk itself, is in a little bitty two inch wide by two inch tall window that puts each sentence in a separate line; it's as unreadable is it can get. Sorry, but I can't respect any data or opinion that comes from a site that damned bad -- gees, ten year olds had better sites in Geocities.

          So I copied the talk to Notepad and read it, and the fucking TALK was content-free!

          Thanks for wasting five m

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That doesn't matter, fanboi. Just ask Apple's board what they think about going from 98% dominance to 40-50% in just 18 months. They're shitting themselves. Apple will still be the dominant device because they offer no options, just a bump in storage until the next incarnation. And zealots like you will buy += iDevice regardless of what else is available.

      98% to half that in a matter of months, that's going to really hurt. Apple will have to offer a range to keep up. They'll need a smaller cheaper device to

      • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:33AM (#38470856) Homepage

        That... depends a lot. Do they have 40-50% share of a much larger market? Are they am making more, less, or the same amount per unit? I don't think Apple's board, or anyone else, ever expects to dominate any one niche forever. They don't need to. Apple's profits are rising. They make more per phone (and tablet) than any Android manufacturer and sell more units than any Android manufacturer. Their goal is make money, not dominate markets. They *still* make more profits on their computer division than any other single computer manufacturer, despite only being around 6 or 7 percent of the market share. When compared to "Windows PCs", Macs are a small minority of computers. When compared to "Dell PCs", Macs beat all the other manufacturers in sales and make more per unit. Dominating markets is nice, but it's not likely to last. Being a huge player in a much larger market makes just as much money and can last a good long while.

        Look at phones. For a while iPhone dominated the smartphone category. Then Android joined the fray. People started buying Android phones too. Eventually more people bought Android phones than iPhones, but here's the thing... More people were buying iPhones than ever before. Every ad for an iPhone is, in a way, and ad for an Android phone. Every ad for an Android phone is, in a way, an ad for an iPhone. Ads for both make people want smartphones, and that's good for everybody. Would you rather have the whole 12 inch diameter pie, or a quarter of a pie the size of a dining room table?

        • by jythie (914043)
          Do they have 40-50% share of a much larger market?

          That is the important question. For the most part, yes. They have lost the bragging rights of '98%', but they are still laughing all the way to the bank, and in the end that is what their shareholders care about.
      • by Karlt1 (231423) on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:38AM (#38470892)

        That doesn't matter, fanboi. Just ask Apple's board what they think about going from 98% dominance to 40-50% in just 18 months.

        Last time I checked, the Apple board is probably concerned with revenues, profits, and ":increasing shareholder value".

        I'm sure they are not to upset that the most successful non-Apple tablets are sold at a loss....

      • by cdrguru (88047)

        I have an iPad and an a Samsung Galaxy S II. The iPad user interface is polished, the Apple applications are equally polished and complete. The Galaxy is populated with buy-more-now applications, the user interface is barely usable and the applications obviously unfinished.

        Email applications - of course, thie phone has two. One for Exchange email and a separate one for Gmail. No integration possible there for the user. The two email applications have entirely different user interfaces and different def

    • And Android device makers are going to make tens of dollars on each unit while Apple makes hundreds.

      I really hope 2012 IS the "year of Android tablets" so that after that we can get on to something else.

      Honestly I haven't yet seen a device that's compelling to most end users the way the Apple products are. YES you can do everything with an Android device, but it's the same way you can do everything with Ubuntu Linux on a desktop instead of MacOS or Windows. It's great for us techies, but can you really get

      • YES you can do everything with an Android device, but it's the same way you can do everything with Ubuntu Linux on a desktop instead of MacOS or Windows. It's great for us techies, but can you really get your parents to to use one every day?

        Yes... that is, until Unity came out. So much for that...

      • by markkezner (1209776) on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:50AM (#38470996)

        nerdy technical innovation every few months that's incompatible with the previous version.

        This is a myth. Android releases have always been backwards compatible. That is, Apps written for Android 1.0 will work just fine in Android 1.1 and any later release in the future. If you're writing an app that requires, say, Android 2.1, such as a Live Wallpaper, then any Android running version 2.1 and higher will work fine. Devices that don't meet the requirement simply won't see the app in the Market.

        If appropriate, developers can mark that support as optional, so your app will include that feature if the device supports it, and if it doesn't the feature will be disabled and the rest of the app will work regardless.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is simply false. Samsung is easily in the same class as Apple by themselves with respect to Android phones.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SeanAD (743296)

        See, this is the kind of argument I have trouble with. Samsung does a great job copying Apple.

        I don't haven an iPad or any Android device, but if you look at the situation objectively: Microsoft has touted tablets for what -- 15 years? Nothing of substance has come of it. Apple makes version 1.0 and it becomes an insane hit . Then other companies copy them and they're held up to the same standard as Apple?

        No, the best you can say is Samsung can make a good quality copy product. If they were in the same

    • Yes, it comes down on who you are. If you're a shareholder, a manufacturer, or a back-seat CEO, Apple has the biggest market. But if you're a consumer or an app developer, Android has the biggest market. It's playing itself out just like it did with Windows and Macs.

      No one is saying that Apple is doing anything wrong here. In fact, they're having record profits. And the Android-based manufacturers will probably end up with razor-thin margins, just like the PC manufacturers did. I don't know why you're comp

    • by Xest (935314) on Friday December 23, 2011 @11:15AM (#38471302)

      "But look at any individual manufacturer, and that "All Android Phone" share is sliced into so many tiny pieces that Apple dwarfs them."

      Really?

      Many sets of stats, like these:

      http://www.mobilesplease.co.uk/news/nokia-lumia-slow-start/ [mobilesplease.co.uk]

      and these:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15489523 [bbc.co.uk]

      Suggests that's simply not true.

      If you look at the first survey for the UK, the Galaxy S II has been outselling the iPhone 4 white, and black model combined, and it's only when you then factor in the 4S white, and black model, that the iPhone finally overtakes the Galaxy S II in sales.

      What all stats coming out in the last couple of months appear to demonstrate is that you're quite wrong - the Galaxy S II as a single model, has been outselling either the iPhone 4, or the iPhone 4S as a single model. When Samsung combines all it's Smartphones, as the iPhone 3GS, 4, and 4S are lumped together as if they're equally a single offering, it's shifting over 7% more handsets than Apple.

      It was a valid argument early on, but it just doesn't seem to really hold any weight anymore. This is the fundamental problem with people who feel the need to defend Apple, they originally said Android would never overtake the iPhone, then when it happened they said, no individual manufacturer will ever overtake Apple, now it's happened they're saying no individual handset is beating the iPhone, but even that seems it's almost certainly happening now. Even if it's not quite the case yet and the stats are wrong and the Galaxy S II isn't outselling a specific iPhone model, and almost even all iPhone models combined, then it's still a close enough call such that terms like "Apple dwarfs them" is laughably incorrect rhetoric.

      Apple's marketshare for tablets has already declined this year, it's now down as far as 62%, having been up at around 90% last year:

      http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/mobile/display/20111215172936_Apple_s_Tablet_Market_Share_Drops_to_61_5_in_Q3_2011_IDC.html [xbitlabs.com]

      This is with countless false starts (HP's tablet, RIM's playbook etc.), lacklustre Android offerings, and even some Android tablets being banned from sale in some markets. As these issues start to fade and the Android tablets pick up strength, i.e. through inclusion of things like Android 4, then the market for the iPad isn't suddenly going to grow. It's opportunity to thrive has been possibly bigger than ever with all the setbacks competitors have faced, yet it's marketshare has still declined.

      I'm not talking Apple down because I have some irrational will to see them fail, I'm not that much of a fanboy - I do disagree with many of their corporate decisions, but what I do like is to see a bit of truthfulness in these sorts of discussions, because fanboys lying to themselves and agreeing with each other is a largely meaningless sport - a fanboy can spout some crap about how their pet brand is going to win some arbitrary war all they want, but it wont change reality if it then doesn't. By all means I may be wrong, and Apple may see a resurgence that allows it to grab increasing levels of marketshare, and that's fair enough if someone wants to make that point, but throwing around clear bullshit like "no individual Android tablet is going to have more than 5%" with no suggestion as to why that might be the case when it's not been the case with phones is meaningless.

      There's no doubt Apple is going to continue to be a massively profitable company thanks to the iPhone and iPad in the near to medium term, but I believe they've made some serious mis-steps that has allowed Android to take the lead, and that's led to an inevitable snowballing on it's behalf - the more marketshare it gets, the more developers begin to develop for it, the more open it is, t

  • Kindle Fire (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pharmboy (216950) on Friday December 23, 2011 @09:57AM (#38470570) Journal

    The Kindle Fire will pave the way, not because people will choose it over the iPad, but because it is opening the market on the low price range, and for people (like myself) that use computers to compute, and midsize tablets for light duty tasks. Of course, the Nook is also helping develop this market. They both prove that there is a sub $300 market for basic tablets that can surf, watch movies, be good book readers, and serve in areas where even a laptop is too large, and a netbook is not efficient.

    Rest assured, the iPad will still dominate the large tablet market, it is just that the new products aren't trying to compete and are instead focusing on growing the market in places that the iPad never entered.

    • The Kindle Fire will pave the way, not because people will choose it over the iPad, but because it is opening the market on the low price range, and for people (like myself) that use computers to compute, and midsize tablets for light duty tasks. Of course, the Nook is also helping develop this market. They both prove that there is a sub $300 market for basic tablets that can surf, watch movies, be good book readers, and serve in areas where even a laptop is too large, and a netbook is not efficient.

      Rest assured, the iPad will still dominate the large tablet market, it is just that the new products aren't trying to compete and are instead focusing on growing the market in places that the iPad never entered.

      In the family, we're avid readers, and as a group we already own three Amazon kindles. But my daughter asked for a Kindle Fire, she wants to be able to see videoclips and such. as much as the Ipad is a more polished platform, the price/accessibility offer of the Fire, and the eventual competition that will turn up, is too compelling.

      • by Pharmboy (216950)

        I was one of the pre-orderers on the Fire. It has its limitations, to be sure, but I love it. I have a prime account, and love watching movies or tv shows in bed with earbuds while the wife sleeps, or while she is hogging the TV. Or just reading a book, or checking FB or email, /., news, etc. I've never owned a smart phone for many reasons: too much money for bad internet access and too small a screen. But I love my small tablet. Maybe some day a large tablet will make sense, but for now, the Fire fit

    • Re:Kindle Fire (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Riceballsan (816702) on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:09AM (#38470656)
      I have to agree, especially in this economy, people who need a functional device for 200 or less is a growing barely tapped market. Much like why the netbook market suddenly plummeted when most stores stopped carrying the $200 models and shifted all of their focus onto the $400-500 models. Companies tried to claim this was due to the ipad, but at least from what I saw, the vast majority of people I saw buying netbooks, were people who could not afford a laptop, but wanted something cheap and simple that they could take notes, check e-mail and update facebook on. Now that could be regional, I live in the south where we have far more people who are hesitant on technology then we do people who have tons of money and always want the latest and greatest.
  • by Nrrqshrr (1879148) on Friday December 23, 2011 @09:57AM (#38470572)
    Because the Mayan tablets said so? No wonder archaeologists got it wrong. It's the end of the handheld world as we knew it.
    • by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:03AM (#38470628) Homepage Journal

      ROFL!

      Regarding the articles "price to justify" ... I don't have to justify how I spend my budget.

      And more profoundly: every tablet buyer who allready has a Mac or an iPhone (and thus iTunes on his PC) will very likely look forward to buy an iPad. Just as many Linux users will favour android tablets.

      I would assume a big deal of customers judges by features and not by price. For me the price is relevant if I have two things in front of me that are very similar.

      So as it looks now I will by me an iPad this year and an android tablet next year. Because: they are two different things!

      • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:40AM (#38470912) Journal

        This is why developers flock to Apple. Apple has done the hard work of gathering the suckers of the world together so they can be quickly separated from their money.

        • So using / having an Apple product makes you a sucker? In what kind of psychosis do you live?

          Or is it everyone who owns / spends / earns more money than you, who is a sucker?

          Or is it just so that you always buy the cheapest: computer, tablet, phone, car, house ... food?

          I spare myself to ask you about your sexual mates ...

  • "The Year Of" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kenshin (43036) <kenshin@@@lunarworks...ca> on Friday December 23, 2011 @09:59AM (#38470592) Homepage

    Every time some tech columnist makes some glorious prediction that "[YEAR] Will Be The Year Of [TECH]", I roll my eyes.

  • by Relayman (1068986) on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:00AM (#38470602)
    Does this mean that the supply for iPads will be able to satisfy the demand?
  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:01AM (#38470610) Journal

    This is just like the "20XX is the year of the Linux Desktop".

    I will wait for the end of 2012 before believing the claim.

  • by RichMan (8097) on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:02AM (#38470616)

    And all sides will fire off patent lawsuits over trivial features like form filling and email forming. The lawyers will get rich the market will be blocked and confused.

    All hail patents the great pusher of innovation, NOT.

  • Nope (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lennier1 (264730) on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:03AM (#38470624)

    It that's going to happen it will become the year of the Apple lawsuits.

  • Hmm... Is 1/3 market share much to cheer (or write) about? I guess "Year of the Android" tablet makes a better headline than "Android tablets will make unspectacular gains in 2012".

    Then again maybe 1/3 market share IS a spectacular gain for Android in the tablet market.

  • From TFA: "There are many companies making Android devices and the magic of competition will force them to drive prices down and quality up."

    Drive prices down? Yup!

    Quality up? Uhm... what? Just like it's done with the current crop of Android phones where there is tons and tons of crap and a few really good ones (Galaxy S2, Nexus, etc)?

    I clicked on this thinking the guy might have some insight on why Android tablets were about to make a big jump forward, but all this guy is missing is pom poms and a
  • by enjar (249223) on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:07AM (#38470648) Homepage

    The article seems to presume that there is a static size for the amount of people who buy tablets. There isn't. As lower-cost entries enter the market, people who previously could not afford one will be able to buy one. So the market will grow, but it's also likely that Apple's overall sales will grow as the market grows. So, sure, Apple's "market share" may shrink, but it's not like Apple's going to make less money than they did before.

    Also, there seems to be an assumption that people buy a tablet sorely based on cost. That is certainly part of how people buy something, but there are also metrics of quality, ease of use and also what you've got already. If you already have an iProduct, I'll bet people are a lot more attracted to the idea they can plug it into the iTunes that's already set up and have it work. Learning something new probably isn't a big driver, even if they save a hundred bucks. Apple could also drop prices on the iPad 2 when the 3 comes out, just as they have done with the iPhone when new generations have arrived, in order to compete with the lower end of the market.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (999mahoj)> on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:11AM (#38470674)

    This has been predicted over and over again - pretty much since the launch of the original iPad.

    It was always "Oh, the iPad was released for $500 less than everyone was guessing, but it's still way overprice! Just you wait for the cheaper, better, faster Android tablets.... any day now.... next month.... just a few more months! The Xoom is coming and it will destroy the iPad, I mean it will have Flash and an SD card slot, and there's no way it will cost more than an iPad and ship with both of those 'key' features broken... Oh, the iPad 2 is out now... well, what did you expect, honeycomb was never designed for tablets properly, even though we have been crowing about how it was going to be the answer to the 'inferior' iPad... just you wait for Ice Cream Sandwich...."

    In short, I've heard it all before. The Eee Pad Transformer is good I guess, and at $400 is cheaper than the iPad but so far not much headway. I really hope there are a few really competitive Android tablets to rival the iPad as there have been handsets to rival the iPhone - the competition is good for everyone. So far though, not seeing it.

  • by aussersterne (212916) on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:13AM (#38470688) Homepage

    that have been saying this kind of stuff for years. iPod is lame. iPhone is a useless device. Nobody in their right mind will buy iPad. iPod's price will drive people to competitors. iPhone's price will make in untenable as a phone. iPad is priced more than a laptop, only idiots will pay for it.

    Blah, blah, blah. Once a week someone predicts that Apple has finally reached its apex and it's all downhill from here, as the products lack features, are too expensive, the garden is walled, and new competitors X, Y, and Z have finally figured it out and this will be their week|month|year.

    So far, this has always been empirically demonstrated to be so much crap by the time the next week|month|year has arrived. Of course, at some point Apple WILL fail, just like all companies and indeed all things in the universe eventually disintegrate, and because at least once a week someone predicts that this will happen this week, at some point someone will be right.

    But when that happens, it won't be because of any insight—just because the pundits have made sure to predict the failure of Apple during EVERY week|month|year cycle. And I seriously doubt this is the time, having just been at the local office supply chain store looking at Android tablets yesterday.

    • I think you're reading too much into it.

      Apple makes damn good money selling Macs, even though they have a small percentage of the total market for personal computers. I don't think anyone is saying that Apple is "Doomed" if they don't hold the majority share of tablet/phone/personal computer sales. If they do, they're idiots.

      I like to continually point out to all fanbois on both sides that the company that sells the most hamburgers in the world is McDonalds. Does this mean that McDonald's burgers are bet

  • People want iPads, not tablets. People don't even know what "tablets" are. Apple have defined a new market, most people buying iPads aren't really sure why they want them yet. It will be impossible for the competition to win over mindshare until they have something *better* than the iPad has. Price will not convince many because as said, people don't want tablets, they want iPads.

    This will probably change. But it will take a few years yet IMO. Think about how long it took for people to know why they wanted

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:57AM (#38471092) Journal

    ... it's a real bear compared to iOS development.

    I write video games for a living, and lately, we've been using Unity. Whenever we do an android build, it has to be tested on a wide array of devices just to be certain that there are no issues related to screen layout or any problematic performance problems. To top it all off, we also have to make multiple builds so that the data can be stored efficiently on each type of platform. This is problematic because it requires separate repositories of the same code-base, because trying to switch between different builds on a single repository within Unity can take several hours as all of the art assets of the work must be reprocessed. To top it all off, drivers for each indiivdual device must be installed, because there is no single general android driver that works for all android devices, which complicates setup tremendously.

    On iOS, we can simply test on each generation of the iPhone we are intending to support, and also on the iPad1 and iPad2... and there is absolutely no reprocessing of assets required, as all iOS devices store their data in the exact same way. Finally, supporting the iOS device for development only requires having a mac. No additional drivers are required... one is good to go as soon as they have XCode installed on their system and have installed the necessary provision profiles for uploading to a physical device.

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