Can Android Honeycomb take on Apple iOS?

Android Honeycomb is indeed a sleek and sexy tablet OS. But is the latest iteration of Google’s popular mobile operating system capable of taking on Apple’s iOS-powered iPad?

Well, at least two industry analysts believe that potential iPad competitors may “fall short of expectations,” as such tablets currently lack a viable equivalent to Apple’s App Store and digital ecosystem of iTunes.

“One of the key focuses at [CES 2011] is of course tablets. Many [companies are] trying to come up with an answer to the strong selling iPad. This may sound controversial, but we are concerned that expectations may be set too high by market research firms with aggressive forecasts,” Shaw Wu of Kaufman Bros in an industry note obtained by AppleInsider.

“We are not convinced that tablets outside of the iPad will see high volume success. The reason is that we believe success is dependent on: 1) the number and quality of apps and 2) a rich content library including music, movies, TV shows, e-books, podcasts and photos, such as that offered and managed by iTunes.”

According to Wu, the iPad iPad appears similar to the iPod business, where a single vendor – Apple – is likely to end up dominating the space.

However, the analyst did note that Toshiba will be bringing an Android tablet to market using similar components to the Motorola Xoom, including Honeycomb, along with a powerful Nvidia Tegra 2 processor.

“Toshiba sees a strategy toward driving a universal app store across its PC, tablet, and TV business which we believe could be a key differentiator,” he added.  

Meanwhile, Brian White of Ticonderoga Securities opined that Motorola’s Xoom tablet seemed reasonable, “but wasn’t our cup of tea,” as the investment firm still favored Apple’s iPad and looked forward to seeing the iPad 2.

“As we talk through CES and analyzed the various tablets, we are reminded that one of the most attractive features of the iPad is the seamless connection within Apple’s digital ecosystem that extends across devices, combined with Apple’s focus on aesthetics. 

“Competitors will [almost certainly] try to replicate Apple’s ecosystem but we believe most will fail to provide the Apple experience.”