I currently own a Galaxy Nexus and an iPad 2. Oh, and my laptop runs Windows and will continue to do so, owing to many reasons listed here. It makes sense for me to run different OS' on my devices as no one is queuing up (yet) to loan me devices for review. Within my budget, I try to get an exposure to all the platforms out there.
To come back to the topic, this post was inspired by Fraser Speir's review of Google's newly launched Nexus 7 tablet. He makes an interesting point, which I quote.
My general opinion of the whole market is that tablet hardware is not interesting, except insofar as it enables the user to have wonderful experiences of software...The whole point of tablet computing is that the device becomes the thing you're doing with it.
I agree entirely with him if we are talking about smartphones. I disagree, when we are talking about tablets, except when he says the hardware is not interesting. I kind of buy that.
In my personal experience with a 3G enabled iPad, I have ended up using the device primarily for browsing. And I am not alone in this - John Gruber at Daring Fireball recently referenced an interesting series of comments on a breakdown of Akamai data. In a nutshell, it shows that iOS mobile browser figures are way higher on wi-fi networks due to iPad usage - perhaps indicating that it is used extensively for browsing.
If that's all I need a tablet for, I would rather have an Android tablet, with its tight Chrome and Google integration. It would give me a way better experience than my iPad on three aspects where it does poorly - mail, browsing and access to Google products. Also according to Speir's review, Evernote is way better in its Android avtar than iOS - which I whole heartedly agree with. And I annotate a lot when I browse, so this feature makes sense for me.
On the other hand, the iPhone does have some phenomenal apps which I would like to experience - notably Instagram combined with a powerful camera, Flipboard (where I prefer the iOS experience) and many games which just run smoother on iOS.
My logic is simple - I spend literally ALL my time in a working day browsing, irrespective of which device I am using. Google in various avtaars is part of my browsing experience - whether I am blogging, reading in Google Reader, checking GMail or simply browsing in Chrome. It makes sense that Android would integrate my browsing experience way better, and that's what I expect from a tablet.
A smartphone has more 'gadget value' which I currently derive from rooting my Android phone. But that's just a fun thing for me. My phone is where apps get serious workouts when I am on the move. And the iPhone's 'native apps' are its biggest strength.
I am declaring this switch a little prematurely, considering that my iPad is just over one year old and my Nexus, barely 6 months! I don't expect to dish out money for new devices very soon, but the shift is definitely on my future horizon.