Christmas time is almost upon us again and in an effort to buy the twins a present that would both educate and entertain, I’ve been having a good look around at toys and games.

As they’re not yet three my wife, Elly, suggested we try getting them fake plastic ‘baby’ laptops so they could get used to real keyboards, but a guy in the office pointed me to these little beauties: http://www.mobicity.co.uk/kidigi-7-4-1-super-slim-light-7-inch-android-4-ics-tablet-with-1-5ghz-processor-8gb-storage.html. 1.5Ghz processors, ICS as the Operating System, 8Gb of RAM as standard and only £50 apiece!

A total bargain, and if they get broken I won’t mourn the loss of any iPads.

Then it struck me, as I was keying in my credit card details – this type of device is why Apple will eventually become a minority platform once again. It doesn’t matter how good Apple’s i-devices are, or how luxurious they feel, when faced with simple economics most people will go for what’s cheapest.

It’s a bit like the VHS v Betamax wars of the ’80s. Betamax was by far the better standard but VHS was cheaper and picture and sound quality got forced out in favour of what people would pay.

I reckon Christmas 2012 could prove to be key in the battle of the tablets. Apple’s iPad Mini is in the wild, but it’s still quite expensive compared to devices which start at 50 quid, expect to see a lot of cheap units shifting in the next few weeks.

From a dev’s (well, my..) point of view, the rise and rise of Android is not a great thing right now. The underlying OS is still in it’s infancy and has a long way to go before it becomes truly comfortable to work with. The UI too requires work, but the big sticking point for me is the low quality of the tools required to develop for the platform – Apple’s Xcode is a top class tool and a joy to work with. A few odd tools cobbled together under Eclipse and the need for umpteen different versions of the APIs means it’s an overly-complex chore to put something together.

If Android is really to win over the developer market it needs to up its game and woo coders over to its own unique Dark Side.

Oh, and Android owners need to be more willing to part with their cash too…