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I had one, for a day – barely 24 hours – and this is why…

It was that time… you know, the crossroads in your life where you need a specialized piece of technology to fulfill your techie needs. I reached that point. I have an android smartphone, but I push that little guy way over the edge on a daily basis. I make it do everything a good enterprise phone should do – phone calls, lots of email, contact, calendar updates and syncing. But I also push it to manage and coordinate my social media, clients’ social media, some gaming, also web browsing and a hefty chunk of rss reading. I bought an extended battery just to keep it alive for 1 day.

So, there I was, ready, willing and in need of a tablet. But what do I get? Friends push me towards the iPad2, but being an Googler and passionate advocate for Google’s mobile android I was hesitant. Based on hardware alone the two are very similar. Same processing power, same sized screens; weight, dimensions and features all comparable, aside from a slightly better resolution in the apple products. When it boiled down, I needed a 16GB, tablet with enterprise and media capabilities. The iPad2 and Galaxy 10.1 were neck and neck.

I bought the Galaxy 10.1 for two reasons. 1: Price, it was slightly more affordable at the 16GB range. 2: Compatibility. There is no learning curve on an apple product. I can use it, but getting it setup to the point where I wanted it for daily, personalized use was the challenge. EVERYTHING I do I use Google; Docs, Calendar, Gmail, Contacts, G+, Chrome, Translate, Voice, etc. So, Android OS won that battle.

All the anticipation for the Galaxy 10.1 had been built up. However, when I opened it and fire it up, within the hour I was utterly and completely disappointed. But first the pros:

1. The OS – Gingerbread is an amazing OS. Its clean, fast, responsive and intuitive. It has it’s quirks but so does iOS.
2. Plug and play – I literally just have to log into my Google account once and voila! The tablet is mine with everything I want on it. Emails, contacts, calendar, the whole caboodle is setup within minutes.
3. Customization – it only takes a few moments to switch out the widgets and get the shortcuts I desired on all the screens in an organized fashion that made sense to me. It really does become YOURS.
4. The browser – running Chrome, flash ready (it even synced my bookmarks), the browser puts Safari to shame.

The cons… and this is where Google and Android developers have a HUGE opportunity.

1. Apps Availability – My phone has every app I would ever need avaiable at the tap of the screen. The Galaxy 10.1, not so much. My first inkling of disappointment was when I found that half the apps I had on my phone were not available to the tablet. Some of these included Amazon Store and Pinterest, which I understand would probably be best on the browser anyway – but they were not because they detect a mobile browser.

2. App Development – This is the biggest disappointment. It started with Hootsuite, which on the tablet is exact same as the android phone interface. They didn’t even TRY to create a custom experience for the tablet. Then, like dominoes, apps all fell into this pit of awful user experience and lackluster UI development. Facebook, Foursqaure, all the games I have, LinkedIn, DropBox and surprisingly even G+. All those apps were uncomfortably underdeveloped for this tablet and in most cases the exact replica of the phone version which leaves a lot of dead space on the screen. The only apps that really shined through the muck were those under the direct control of Google; Gmail, Calendar, Google Voice, Google Reader and Google Talk all worked and looked great!

The main reason I wanted, needed and bought a tablet was to give my phone a rest. I looked forward to a semi-laptop experience with the comfort of a lightweight, portable and sleek design and UI. The Galaxy 10.1 hardware fulfilled its calling, but inside it was broken. Developers clearly didn’t take the time to create great apps for the tools (especially the social ones) I used on a daily basis. I essentially held in my hand a larger and more expensive doppelganger of my phone. [insert sad trombone]

I returned the tablet the next day. I was completely unsatisfied. Did I dare move into the world of iProducts. No, I did not. Although I know the social apps I need look good and work well on the iPad, using the iPad for all my other core functions just doesn’t seem worth the investment – let alone trying to get it to sync with my phone and computer. Neither the Galaxy 10.1 or the iPad2 fit like a glove and after this experience I think I’ll wait to visit Tablet Town another day…