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Asus Eee Pad Transformer vs iPad 2 - Apps and Games

Apps and Games

The Android Market and iPhone App Store are the two biggest smartphone apps and games outlets. Both have hundreds of thousands of apps, and both Android tablets and the iPad are backwards-compatible with most smartphone content from their respective families.

Android apps and games tend to be made to that they can scale between a very wide array of screen resolutions (from 240x320 all the way up to the Transformer's 1280x800 pixels) while the iPad 2 takes a simpler approach, doubling-up on pixels. This should ensure that both tablets have plenty of apps and games to be getting on with, but the gulf is much bigger than the numbers would suggest.

Characters

In late 2010, the App Store had over 300,000 apps in it, the Android Market 200,000 (other figures are available, but not necessarily reliable). To search through the Android Market though, you'd assume the latter figure to be much lower. Where the App Store is a vibrant place, buoyed by Apple's carefully-picked features slots, the Android Market feels comparatively stagnant.

Google had made some attempts to improve the Market, with more features positions added in May 2011, but it lags way behind Apple's model. The charts remain depressingly familiar month-on-month and a depressingly small number of paid-for apps/games have made it into the 250,000 downloads bracket. Apparently Android users just aren't willing to pay for content.

The problems with the Android apps market have caused some publishers to take drastic measures. Gameloft, one of the biggest iPhone games publishers, has pulled out of the Android Market altogether - virtually an act of mutiny - to sell its "HD" Android games on its own portal.

Android developers find it hard to make money through the Android Market with their apps, and consequently far fewer quality games and apps are released for Android devices than iPhones and iPads. To give you an idea of the severity of the situation, here's a list of some classic games and important mobile titles, and their availability across the platforms -

Gameslist

It's a rather sorry state of affairs, and while the dual-core revolution of Tegra 2 devices like the Asus Eee Pad Transformer have spurred-on some high-end development, we seriously doubt whether Android gaming will ever catch up with iOS. What Android does have though are emulators, which are not permitted on the iPad's App Store. These play games from obsolete consoles like Nintendo's SNES and the Sega Mega Drive, and are some of the most popular apps on the Market.

The emulators do not come bundled with games though, and legally obtaining ROMS (game images) isn't always easy if you don't know where to look.

Social Gaming

The social gaming aspect of the iPad is also much greater than the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, thanks to services like Game Center. This is Apple's gaming hub, similar to Microsoft's Xbox Live in concept, letting you compare your achievements and game progress with your friends. Android has no official alternative at present. Apple was very late to the game on this front though - before it arrived there were plenty of unofficial pretenders to this role including OpenFeint and ngmoco's Plus, which still exist and offer some additional functionality over Game Center - but it's improving slowly.

Read our full Asus Eee Pad Transformer and iPad 2 reviews.

Ian Yates

July 11, 2011, 1:59 pm

Good review, but a couple of points:
* I was shocked you considered wide-screen to be superfluous to a media-consumption device, but to each their own.
* AirPlay on Android is possible with doubleTwist. I haven't tried it myself, but a friend who has Apple TV says it's great.

Though, I can't deny that Gingerbread still has some polishing to be done.

And if anyone can recommend a video player that can stream all the common formats, I'd be very grateful. There are a few that work fine if I copy the files locally, but I want to stream from my NAS and play them in any room (the dream!).

Andrew_TR

July 11, 2011, 2:50 pm

The widescreen ratio probably does deserve a mention, you're right! (although in a different face-off, with greater display differences, I'd give overall screen quality more weight).

betelgeus

July 11, 2011, 8:40 pm

again the reviews are based on stock,hdplayer on ipad supports drag and drop plus plays all formats without encoding,there are also apps that do the same for music books or docs.

you have to take into account 3rd party apps.

imagine a review of an xbox360 but you had no games for it or no internet connection it would be worthless.

Gk.pm

July 11, 2011, 9:02 pm

So you raise a few good points for the iPad along the comparison, but then - outside the games - only seem to remember the cons for the conclusion, and debatable at best: "technophobe"? "accessories your 'thang'"?

So you can only do serious work on the EEE Pad? Are you kidding? Show me an app on Android as slick to use as Keynote or Numbers on the iPad.

betelgeus is correct, there are video apps such as AVPlayer HD that don't need video file conversion for the iPad.

Finally if you want an physically integrated keyboard for the ipad you can buy a case with one, like this http://www.dealextreme.com/p/2-4ghz-bluetooth-v2-0-wireless-keyboard-with-protective-leather-case-for-ipad-2-black-91229 for under £30.

Andrew_TR

July 11, 2011, 9:17 pm

On the productivity side, it's more a case of the keyboard/trackpad combo being the winner rather than any software. In terms of apps, the iPad wins every time.

I've yet to see a combo case for iPad that can rival the Transformer's keyboard base, especially as they're all Bluetooth keyboards that have been sewn into cases. I reckon to get something of the same calibre as the Transformer base from a third party for iPad, you'd be looking at an outlay of perhaps £150 or more (and, from what I've seen at least, it doesn't exist (yet)). Spending a week working exclusively with a Transformer vs spending a week with a keyboard case'd iPad would be an interesting experiment though!

Thanks for the tip on AVPlayer HD.

Fair point on the wishy-washy-sounding final Pros and Cons - but even after all those words it's not a clear-cut argument unless you just want to play games. But for technophobes, surely the iPad would be the right choice, right? (It's sounds like a bit of a cop-out within the context of the feature, but still true overall.)

dlano

July 11, 2011, 11:04 pm

I'd rather wait for the Galaxy Tab 10.1, all the android advantages in a package thinner and lighter than iPad 2, but what was with the random comparisons?

The kindle is easier to hold with one hand? I should hope so for a dedicated e-reader

The iPhone 4 has a higher dpi screen? Thats all nice and good for a phone but we're comparing two tablets right?

Just seemed rather arbitary inclusions to me.

Andrew_TR

July 12, 2011, 3:14 am

This is a new thing we're trying out. Not a fan? Do give us a shout if you think it's good/bad/ugly. Our thought is that there are quite a lot of people juggling between the idea of buying these two devices, so we thought a direct comparison would be worthwhile.

The outside comparisons (to kindle and iPhone 4) are there to place these two tabs in a wider tech context, especially as some readers may own an iPhone 4/Kindle but not a tablet. It's easy to say X is better than Y, but the point becomes more interesting, and has more real-world value, when also viewed from a "one step back" position - especially in terms of the one-handed comfort issue. My idea is that while it's easy to say that the iPad 2 is the most comfortable (big-name 10in) tablet to hold one-handed, is it really viable to hold it up for 30 mins on a standing train journey? I'm not so sure!

The Tab 10.1 is another tablet we'd like to give this treatment to - especially, as you say, it's the one tablet to challenge the iPad on the dimensions front.

betelgeus

July 12, 2011, 3:25 am

@andrew,it sounded more like you where trying too push your own preferences into an article,the kindle has nothing to do with this,compare 2 items and stick to it maybe.

imagine this

"a cheese sandwich may not have the ability to connect to the internet on the move but i can hold it in one hand ,either standing or sitting"

or maybe i missed the joke

Andrew_TR

July 12, 2011, 3:31 am

hah! excellent. It was more from the idea that these are all common commuter devices (on my commute anyway). If anything i'm biased by my commuter experience rather than my own gadgety preferences. I don't actually own a Kindle. I'll admit I do own a Sony PRS-505 tho.

Chris2510

July 12, 2011, 1:56 pm

I have an EEE Transformer, and I use UPnPlay to hook up to my NAS, and MoboPlayer as the player (as this seems to have the best codec support, with the also free MoboPlayer Codec for ARM V7_VFPV3 plugin).

Choose a video to play in UPnPlay, and it asks which player you would like to play it with. Choose MoboPlayer from the list, and stream away.

UPnPlay: https://market.android.com/details?id=cx.hoohol.silanoid&feature=search_result

MoboPlayer: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.clov4r.android.nil&feature=search_result

MoboPlayer Codec for ARM V7_VFPV3 plugin : https://market.android.com/details?id=com.clov4r.android.nil.armv7_vfpv3&feature=search_result

hope this helps.

Andrew_TR

July 12, 2011, 2:10 pm

@Chris2510 How do you find HD video support with the added Codec download? We found performance a bit hit and miss with Moboplayer.

Chris2510

July 12, 2011, 2:33 pm

@AndrewTR - I too found it quite hit and miss - I'm on an 'n' wireless network at home, so bandwidth isn't a problem, but streaming a 1080p trailer (as a test) for Bioshock Infinite turned it into a slideshow. I've tended to stick to SD content since then. I hope they get a plug in / app sorted that works with the Tegra processor, but haven't found one so far.

Andrew_TR

July 12, 2011, 2:38 pm

@chris2510 Imagine if Google built-in support for 1080p MKV, DivX and co in Honeycomb as standard. That'd be nice Ho hum

Keithe6e

July 12, 2011, 2:39 pm

@andrew: Apparently Android users just aren't willing to pay for content.

A very good point, like you even mention Emulators etc on the Android means a developer is unlikely to make a port, what's the point. (there is of course a point, but most users probably wouldn't understand or care). Ironically the openness Android users have is also it's Achilles' heel. Most Android users believe Apple evil for charging for services, so no wonder the Android market is lacking here.

Chris2510

July 12, 2011, 2:56 pm

@AndrewTR - it would be excellent. But the geek in me (ok ok - I'm nothing BUT geek) likes the challenge of finding / tweaking things...

I think Google needs to do some clever stuff under the bonnet with Honeycomb - scaling up games, for instance. The graphics look fine, but the touch sensitivity often goes awry.

Whether this is Google's fault, or Asus's implementation of Android, I suppose we'll never know. At least with an iPad, the same company has designed the hardware and software, so you know who to blame ;o)

Andrew_TR

July 12, 2011, 3:04 pm

Yes, it's a real shame the commercial side and the more community-driven emulator/dev side can't co-exist well. I used to work in mobile games development/publishing, so am all too familiar with projects being scrapped because of the sad realities of the likely commercial outcomes. Sad smiley.

RockGod

July 15, 2011, 3:19 am

I have had both units, and the Asus Transformer trumps the iPad pretty much in every respect. So much that the ipad2 was gathering dust, so I sold it.

the Transformer also has quite alot of change from the £500 (£429 inc dock, £350 without)

RockGod

July 15, 2011, 3:23 am

If a Kindle won that round, then a Sony Reader would have been even better still.

Kindle buyers are either too stupid or too lazy to explore the better and less-locked in readers like the PRS-350 and PRS-650 e-readers from Sony.

ankitsurana

July 30, 2012, 11:45 am

A question !
The battery that comes with this ASUS product, is it replacable ?

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