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Google hasn’t yet provided any direction on Android as a tablet platform, which means that the Tab is held back by lagging application support and software that doesn’t fully take advantage of the extra screen real estate.

Part of the conclusion of Engadget’s Samsung Galaxy Tab review. This is going to plague every Android tablet until Google takes a clear, bold stance by making their own tablet versions of Android’s built-in apps — which may never happen.

There’s likely to be a big chicken-and-egg problem: Google probably won’t care to devote any resources to good tablet interfaces for Android software unless one of the hardware tablets takes off, but none of the tablets are likely to take off with half-assed tablet interfaces on its software. It sounds like today’s Galaxy Tab is the Android equivalent of “just a big iPod Touch”, and it’s up to Google — not Samsung — to make it more meaningful.

This is the kind of problem that Apple simply doesn’t face in their products: by keeping it all under the same roof and having a ruthless dictator with high standards and great taste at the top, they would never release hardware that begs for software. They’d just hold the hardware back until the software was ready — and not just running, but thoughtfully tailored for the device.