NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Want to use your tablet as a phone? I'm sorry, Google ( GOOG), but this is one area where Apple's ( AAPL) iPad nails Android to the wall. Let me tell you why.
Android tablets have some obvious advantages over Apple's iPad. For starters, they're cheaper. Let's say you want a 32 gig 7-something inch tablet with LTE, so that you can use it as a cellphone for data access as you're walking down the street, never having to think about connecting to a WiFi network. In this case, an iPad Mini will cost you $559. In contrast, Google's Asus Nexus 7 costs only $349. That's a $210 difference -- almost enough to buy you an additional 16 gig WiFi-only Nexus 7 for the money you saved. For all of Android's advantages over iOS, however, Android falls short in a critical area which makes it impossible for me to use an Android tablet as my primary tablet. This area is apps. On the smartphone, Android doesn't suffer an "app-gap" vis-a-vis the iPhone. Basically, the two are on par with each other. I can't think of a single app that I use, that's not available on both. On the tablet, however, this isn't so. With the LTE-enabled iPad, I can use it just like an iPhone or Android smartphone, walking down the street and using all of my apps. As much as I would like to avoid purchasing a future iPad, in favor of an Android tablet, I will be unable to do so, unless something changes. There are many critical apps I would be missing, if today's situation remains unchanged. When I get up in the morning, I first head to Starbucks ( SBUX). With an Android tablet, the Starbucks app isn't available, so I can't pay with it. When I sit down at Starbucks, I'd like to view my American Express ( AXP) charges for the last 24 hours, so I can see if there are any incorrect charges. With an Android tablet, the American Express app isn't available, so I can't check my AmEx account without having to use the actual Web site.