• 11.24.10

Should Publishers Stick to iPad, Avoid Android Tablets?

Google doesn’t automatically allow Android tablets to run its Android Market. Imagine an iPad without an app store. Does that mean publishers ought to steer clear?


So what will it be, the iPad or an Android tablet? If you’re a consumer, the choice might be tough. But if you’re an app developer, says paidContent, the choice is simple: focus on the iPad. The reason? Google is preventing many Android tablets from embedding Android Market–thereby limiting publishers’ ability to monetize.


“Setting up a paid in-app subscription is definitely harder on Android,” according to Nic Newman, a tablet developer. What’s more, “it’s not as obvious to publishers how they can make money easily through Android as with iPad–it’s a choice of one or the other. The road to monetization on Android is a lot more complex.”

Why is that? Because Apple is a one-stop shop: it makes both the machine and the iOS system that runs on it. Android, however, is just an operating system. Android phones and the forthcoming proliferation of Android tablets have various manufacturers. With such a decentralized set-up, it appears that Google is trying to implement quality control. “You can have Android Market if it leads to good implementation,” the company has said. Makers of Android tablets must contact Google’s Android Compatibility Team in person, potentially slowing the development process.

If certain Android devices fail to earn the right to run Android Market, then consumers will likely opt for tablets that do acquire that certification–or skip Android altogether and run for the nearest iPad. It’s not yet clear which side will win this battle for the hearts and minds of publishers and readers: Google-driven democracy or the Steve Jobs-led autocracy that is the Apple app store.

[Image: Flickr user lwallenstein]

About the author

David Zax is a contributing writer for Fast Company. His writing has appeared in many publications, including Smithsonian, Slate, Wired, and The Wall Street Journal.