The folks over at iMedical Apps had a point-counterpoint the last couple of days, on whether the iPad or Droid tablet devices would come to dominate the medical industry. Here's the argument for the Droid, and here's the iPad's case. I'm not sure there will be a clear "winner" in the sense that Windows has come to have a near-exclusive lock on the desktops within health care enterprises. Rather, there will be co-existence, with some developers/vendors choosing one platform and others, well, you get the idea.
It is clear, however, that currently Apple has the inside track, and in some cases that can be decisive. The iPad is already in existence, mature both from hardware and software perspective, widely distributed, and insanely popular. The Droid counterparts do not yet exist, per se. Honeycomb, the Android 3.0 software, is just now being released, and the Xoom, which may in the end be a worthy competitor, was just released with a still-incomplete feature set. The early adopters in healthcare, including many major insitutional players, are already deploying iPads through their organizations, and developing the software that can run on them. The race is not won based on the start, but an early advantage in the market (and in the mind-share of developers) can have long-term consequences.
OS integrity is another factor that may be a significant advantage for the iPad. From reports (I've never used Droid at length), the OS is buggy and highly crash-prone, whereas the iOS is a mature platform which is ultra-stable. And the walled-garden approach that Apple favors, which admittedly closes the platform to some developers, also provides better integration and interoperation of third-party apps. The relative lockdown of the platform and the resultant stability might also be a factor in the decision for hospital IT departments to go with the iPad.
Enterprise support is one area where Apple has notoriously failed over many years, and may be its achilles heel in this competition. While the iPad OS does contain a number of enterprise-friendly features, it's not clear that the purchasing departments for hospitals will overcome their long-help antipathy for Apple, and not clear whether Apple will develop the support systems necessary to really compete in the corporate environment.
Lord knows which way things will go. It's not clear to me that any tablet device will become as indispensible as some evangelists believe it will. Neither the iPad nor any competitor excels as a data input device to the standards that would be necessary for bedside charting. It may be a handy reference device to carry on rounds, to access and review clinical data, but even then, the ubiquity of desktop terminals in the hospital environment renders that less critical. If you gave me a tablet device which was fully integrated with my EMR, I'm not sure I would have much use for it in the ER. For practitioners who rove all over the hospital I can see it being more useful, but pending the development of EMR portals which are wildly superior to any that exist now, I am dubious that a table will ever be the primary input device for clinicians' charting.