After having both the Apple iPad 2 and Motorola Xoom on a daily basis for several months I feel that I can accurately differentiate what separates the two devices. They both have fantastic displays and one could argue that the iPad is a bit more fluid moving from screen to screen or app to app but that’s not always the case. Application crashes and OS hesitation are common on both devices so hardware capability, user interface  fluidity and application reliability are certainly not the differentiating factors.

What is it then? Well, the proof is in the pudding. The pudding in this case being the applications that you install on these devices to make them fit into your life. I have found many instances of manufacturers providing for both platforms in very different ways.

Lets use Angry Birds from Rovio as our example. Free to install with ad support on both devices. What differentiates the two platforms is that the iOS version stops after a few levels, requiring that you purchase the full version to continue. The Android version however allows you to play on and on without purchasing anything. You even get to enjoy the updates to the later versions of Angry Birds for Android with Seasons and Rio continuing to add new levels with every update for no charge.

This is the case for many applications. That is limited function on iOS without purchasing the full version and full function on Android for free. This is pure genius on the part of the iOS application developers. These app manufacturers completely understand the sort of people that will gravitate toward the seemingly easier to use iOS devices. Consumers that are completely willing to spend the $1.29 to $5.99 (or more) on something that they find value in. Over and over, application after application. The sort of thing that would enrage the open source crowd to the point of mass hysteria. I exaggerate of course, but only a little.

So what is my take on this? Do I feel that one device is superior or that one platform is better for all? Am I trying to convince you to put aside your lazy ways and get a little dirty with Android? Not at all. My final take is that the cost of ownership of an iOS device is significantly higher than with an Android based device. To do the same work (or play as in this case) you must first pay. Then you must pay again. Oh and if you want to do something else you have to pay again and again and again…