Computex: Everyone's Got an Android Tablet

This year at Computex, everyone talks about how "slow" the show is. From one company to the next, the feeling is the same. The most interesting part is that Android tablets took the show by storm. Everyone's making one. It literally feels like if your company has a showing at Computex, they'll have an Android tablet.

Does this mean that Android tablets will dominate? Not so fast.

Speaking with several vendors who wanted to remain anonymous about the subject, the general conclusion is that you have to get on the Android tablet bandwagon in order to look like you're a legitimate player. However, when asked if things will be competitive with Apple, the unanimous answer is that tablets may just very well be a mainstream success that's exclusive to Apple.

Why?

Platform dominance. Easy user interface. App store eco-system. Users willing to pay for apps.

Some vendors feel like the the majority of Android users expect apps to be free, since the entire essence behind Android is to be "open." And open usually means free. The mindset in the iOS space is that cheap apps are perfectly fine. But vendors tell us that things are not quite the same in the Android camp. Unfortunately, this has lead to fragmented app development.

Hardware fragmentation is another major issue that developers must overcome. Designing your app to look great on one tablet, may end up looking different on another. But manufacturers will fall back on advertisements that tout hardware features rather than platform features.

One interesting detail that some vendors mentioned is that Samsung might be the only company with a fighting chance. This is because Samsung manufactures its own LCD panels, and may be able to subsidized pricing on tablets to be competitive with Apple. It is still difficult for many manufacturers to control their price points due to the fact that their own tablets aren't moving in huge volumes. Apple has massive buying power and can command deeper discounts thanks to the success of the iPad.

We will still have to wait and see how things turn out. It's clear that many companies are pushing for Android tablets but thoughts within their executive teams are, at this time, worrisome.

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  • illo
    they need to push the boundaries more than apple to be competitive, create tablets for artists, get pico-projectors installed for large format displays, dock able keyboards to take the place of laptops for the average user(read: not people who read tech sites). There are soooo many things that people would love to have and could totally benefit from over what Apple is giving us, why cant these companies start innovating and build something interesting for once.
    6
  • TwoDigital
    An impressive set of features is nice... if people want them and are willing to pay for them. One of the problems tablet manufacturers have today is that they are in such a hurry to "out-perform" the iPad. In doing so, they put in more hardware, but the useful life of a charge cycle, and price themselves out of the market where they would probably have had a fighting chance. A tablet with a working 8.5x11 screen that will accept either finger or pen input would be great for reading books, painting, writing, etc... A dual-core ARM should more than suffice. All the extra gimmicks add to the price and limit the market for who is willing to buy them. That said... maybe pen input is just a gimmick too, but it's one that *I* would want. :)
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  • milktea
    illo...why cant these companies start innovating and build something interesting for once.

    These companies find it more profitable to sell clones rather than be innovative. They have no aim to drive this industry.
    5