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Apple's Tim Cook dismisses Android iPad competitors as bizarre, vapor

In addressing potential competitors of Apple's iPad, Tim Cook said he has "no concerns" about the the tablets being shown running Microsoft's Windows and Google's Android platform, specifically calling out existing Android offerings as "bizarre" while dismissing future models as vapor.

Cook, who serves as Apple's chief operations officer, first described tablet products running Windows as being "big, heavy, expensive, weak battery life, and need a keyboard or stylus," noting that customers have shown no interest in the products.

A second group of tablets Cook characterized as running a version of Android that "isn't designed for a tablet," adding that Google itself had stated this, and that it wasn't just the opinion of Apple.

Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs made similar comments in the company's previous quarter's conference call, rhetorically asking, "even Google is saying don't use Froyo [the current release of Android OS], and instead to wait to use next years' version. What does it mean when a software maker says not to use their release and you use it anyway?"

Jobs comments appeared to be directed at Samsung's Galaxy Tab and Dell's Streak, two of the more visible Android tablets that became available last year. Cook also echoed Jobs' sentiments on 7 inch tablets from RIM and Android licensees, saying "you wind up having the size of a tablet that’s less than reasonable. Or one that’s not even a real tablet experience. It’s a 'scaled-up smartphone.' That’s a bizarre product in our view."

Apple's "bizarre" is another firm's "odd"

Web developer Sencha made similar observations in its review of the Galaxy Tab as a potential web development target.

While the tablet fits physically between the size of a smartphone and the iPad, the company noted, "One of the oddest aspects of the Galaxy Tab browser is its CSS pixel to device pixel ratio.

"When queried in landscape mode, the Galaxy reports a screen.width of 683px and screen.height of 334px. Since the actual device resolution offers 1024×600, it’s giving us a 1.5× ratio of device to CSS pixels. This is a little bit of an odd choice since there shouldn’t be any reason why it can’t offer a 1:1 device-to-CSS-pixel ratio (or even just match the iPhone/Nexus One convention of a 320 pixel device.width — which would give it a 1.875 ratio). This makes the Galaxy slightly bigger than a regular phone screen in CSS pixels, but not really big enough to handle what people want to put in a tablet screen."

The firm concluded, "the practical effect of this decision is that the Galaxy Tab is effectively an 'over-sized phone' for the purposes of web content. For example, an iPad-style side-navigation section just won’t fit on the screen. We think it’s probably best to treat it as a phone with big pixels rather than a true tablet."

New Android tablets still vaporware

Cook wrapped up his evaluation of currently shipping Android tablets by saying, "Those are what is shipping today. If you do a side-by-side with an iPad, some enormous percentage are going to pick the iPad. We have no concern there."

As far as the next generation of Android tablets, Cook said, "There’s nothing shipping yet, and they lack performance specs and pricing. Today they’re vapor. However, we’re not sitting still. We have a huge first-mover advantage. And a huge user advantage from iTunes to the App Store. Huge number of apps and an ecosystem. We’re very confident entering into a fight with anyone."

While Cook regularly describes the percentage of the Fortune 100 and Financial Times Europe 100 businesses supporting or evaluating the iPhone and iPad, this quarter he specifically noted companies that were deploying the iPad, a list that included JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Archer Daniels Midland, and DuPont. Cook also said that over 80% of the Fortune 100 are now deploying or piloting iPad, up from 65% in the previous quarter, and that employee demand for iPad in the corporate environment is strong.