As Apple Pushes the Envelope, Google Pulls Apps

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A lot of people think that the launch of the iPad 2 yesterday basically killed any chance of Motorola stealing the spotlight from Apple with its Android-powered Xoom tablet. In a way, though, yesterday’s unveiling couldn’t have been better timed. It distracted people from the news that Google had to pull upwards of 50 apps from the Android Market which were found to contain malware. While Steve Jobs was receiving a standing ovation, his biggest competitor was grappling with the double-edged sword of openness.

Of course, Jobs couldn’t help but mention that the Android Market has only about 100 apps optimized for tablets at the moment, compared to more than 65,000 for iPad. But the bigger concern is whether Google can protect its users from harm. According to Lookout Mobile Security and other sources, more than 50 apps contained DroidDream malware, which can be used to take administrative control over smart phones and potentially steal personal data. That’s pretty scary stuff for customers deciding between Android and iOS.

Lookout Mobile Security is only one of several companies that promise to protect Android users from malicious apps and other threats. The free version of Lookout’s software includes anti-virus and anti-malware protection, but the premium version adds features such as remote wipe and remote lock as well as a privacy advisor.

There’s also BullGuard Mobile Security 10 ($29.99), F-Secure Mobile Security ($39.99)—and some of the biggest names in the PC security market are jumping on the Android bandwagon, including McAfee, Norton, and Trend Micro. The good news is that there's lots of Android security apps to choose from. The bad news is that there’s a need for them at all.

Meanwhile, Apple demonstrated the strength of its more closed approach yesterday by announcing that it now has more than 200,000 million iTunes accounts and that it has paid more than $2 billion to app developers. Say what you will about the walled-garden nature of the App Store, but it certainly hasn’t suffered an attack like the one aimed at Android users. That’s just one of the benefits of Apple having complete control over both the hardware and the software.

Owning the whole widget, as Apple likes to say, has other benefits, too. Based on my hands-on time with the iPad 2, its dual-core A5 processor really works well with iOS 4.3, offering considerably snappier performance. One only need look at iMovie running smoothly on the iPad 2 and Movie Studio stuttering on the Nvidia Tegra-powered Xoom to know that only one of the tablets has been truly optimized for its dual-core architecture.

Apple’s hardware-software integration advantage even extends to accessories; the clever Smart Covers for the iPad 2 automatically turn the tablet on when opened. Some say the Smart Cover’s foldable design was inspired by a design by InCase, but only Apple’s   integrates with both the iPad 2’s hardware and software.

Will Android ultimately make a dent in the iPad’s market share? Of course, but Google will have to make a stronger case for openness while doing a much better job of protecting the buyers it’s attempting to woo.

Author Bio
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief on
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  • jb82 Says:

    I really want to like android tablets as they have things i wish my ipad had like sd slots, better multi-tasking etc..... but the truth is android tablets are not ready yet and will take several months to a year to get up to speed with apps, better pricing etc. by that time the ipad and apple would have moved aon and miles ahead again. Android honeycomb tablets haven't got the time or the luxury of no competiton to be announcing products now and launching months into the future, or starting to develop apps so slowly. Android doesn't even have a netflix app on a tablet yet!

  • Mugsy P Says:

    Yes agreed faster and facetime is a plus and ios 4.3 will improve much for the ipad2. My gripe with apple is their answer to missing features is "there's a dongle for that!" Why not just include it in the hardware? They want you to buy more stuff. The original ipad probably won't get any new IOS updates either. Forcing you to buy a new Ipad2. I could go on about what else the ipad2 can't do but it would be pointless. However apple is very prone to security issues quicktime is a prime example. They just do quiet fixes non public so consumers are unaware they are vulnerable. At least google let's you know when issues arise. It comes down to if you like trendy,simplicity, confinement, and overpriced products that look and work exactly the same as your neighbor's then the ipad2 is your best choice. If you prefer choice, freedom to customize, at a reasonable price for one product that will do what I want now. Without having to buy extra software, dongles,media servers, etc. One that looks and works nothing like my neighbors but for my needs only.
    Then the Zoom is the best choice.
    Moto and google just need to point this out. They might convince a few consumers as well.

  • Crucial Says:

    Mugsy, can iPad 2 load your photos from a SD card and upload it to youtube while you're doing all the other stuff at the same time? "YES" Heard of Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit? It even supports RAW images. Couple that with iMovie and I think we got a winner! Also, I don't see the point of shooting stills with a 10.1inch tablet. To me, it is just not practical. If it was the Motorola Atrix, I won't complain much but XOOM, come on. The only reason I went for iPad 2 was because of FaceTime. A lot of my friends own a MacBook, Ipod 4 and iPhone 4. What's the best way to stay connected if not via facetime? Plus, it's free! Heard skype video call support will be coming soon as well.

    And the fact that Malware existed in the Android Marketplace is more than enough to prove how vulnerable the Android Marketplace security is. Heard of Malware in AppStore before? "Nope". So all in all, to me, the iPad 2 is the better buy. Plus, it gives you premium build quality at an amazing price.

    Have to agree with Marco. You won't miss what you never had. Tried the Android and iOS before. Android on Galaxy S and Desire. Tried iOS on iPhone 4. No wonder Steve Jobs claim iOS to be one of the most advance mobile platform. It is darn fluid! No jerkiness anywhere, unlike Android. =="

  • Mugsy P Says:

    Google and motorola need to strike back with what the Zoom can do that the Ipad2 cannot. Can you load your favorite photos from an sd card, surf the web and upload youtube files from a USB flash drive, while playing & mixing your favorite tunes in a DJ app? All at the same time.? On the Zoom you can. The ipad2 "nope!" Let's not forget the apple notifications every time u want to do more then one task. Has that changed? "nope". So a few hackers have skills on android apps. I'd rather take my chances with openess and true multitasking, more Ram, higher res, camera, added storage capabilities, better notification system, and 4G speed. Plus with the add on HDMI dongle, magnet case, non free software imovie,igarage. It adds $100 to the ipad2 cost. Making the $699 Zoom
    Same cost as Ipad2. If MOTOROLA points these out IPad2 buzz fades pretty fast. But who am I. Just stating the obvious.

  • Marco Says:

    The Geese guy obviously is a liar, you have no iPod touch. If you did you wouldn't say that iPod touch apps suck more than android apps, really! You are a damn liar!
    I had the iPhone 3G & 3GS , then switched to Evo 4g and couldn't stand the boredom of apps in the store and low quality looking apps. Had to switch Back to IPhone 4 and happy again with high quality apps and games like Rage Hd, Infinity Blade, Dead Space, etc... What does android have, angry birds , paper toss, lol! Are you kidding me!
    I have a couple friends at my work that have android phones and also Owen a iPod touch, cause of the games and high quality apps. So these android that say that apple store sucks, obviously never had one. Remember you can't miss what you never had. You guys will never know, what's a good app.

  • Mark Spoonauer Says:

    So do you think Google should just get rid of the Market then if apps don't matter? That would be one way to address the security hole.

  • Geese Says:

    Do you work for Apple? Android is overtaking Apple anyway. Nobody want's to pay for all those crap tackular apps you get for free on Android. I own a itouch 4g and it sucks gravy baby. Itunes is a mess. Let it marinate.

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