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Figuring Out Why Android Wins On Phones, But Not Tablets 451

Posted by timothy
from the apple-a-day-vs-swallowing-tablets dept.
GMGruman writes "Android smartphones have overpowered the iPhone in market share, yet Android tablets barely register in sales versus the iPad. Android tablets are as competitive in most respects against the iPad as Android smartphones are against the iPhone. So why the difference in success? Galen Gruman examines five theories for the gap, and concludes the reason is that Android tablets' real competitor is in fact not the iPad."
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Figuring Out Why Android Wins On Phones, But Not Tablets

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  • Isn't it obvious? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Glonk (103787) on Friday April 29, 2011 @08:47PM (#35981424) Homepage

    The Xoom was half-baked and lacklustre, and no other tablet has been widely available for a reasonable amount of time.

    That's all there is to it.

    • by toastar (573882) on Friday April 29, 2011 @08:49PM (#35981442)
      The C_Nook?
      • by MukiMuki (692124) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:01PM (#35981514)

        Note: If it doesn't have a working market place when you open the box, it's not a tablet. It's a truly half-baked rushed piece of gadgetry.

        Viewsonic G-Tablet, Notion Ink Adam, Barnes and Noble Nook. The funny thing about a tablet is that they usually have no:
        - Optical Drive
        - Memory Card Reader (that's hot-swappable, anyway)
        - Easy way to install apps if it doesn't have a built-in Market

        We're talking about something that doesn't run Windows or Mac OS, so it has apps/programs/whatever that 99.9% of consumers aren't going to be familiar with. Meaning, if there's no easy way to add functionality, you're dead on arrival. So yeah, currently, the only viable competition is the Xoom and Samsung's tablet.

        So with the Xoom, we have a device that's:
        - Slower than the iPad (same CPU, MUCH slower GPU)
        - Slower than it should be on top of that (everything runs slower in Honeycomb than Gingerbread on identical hardware)
        - Heavier than the iPad
        - Crappier screen than the iPad (wider, yay, but viewing angles that are an entire generation behind)
        - Lower video compatibility (Once again, slower playback than non-Honeycomb Tegra 2 tablets)
        - The same price
        - Capable of reading MicroSD cards.... someday?

        So for the same price, your advantages are an extra chunk of widescreen screen space and a REALLY slow Flash plugin, and just about zero other advantages. While Samsung's tablet is $100 cheaper than Apple's cheapest, it requires a contract, is MONUMENTALLY crappier in specs (lower res, ass viewing angles, worse battery life, slower, not in any way designed around being a tablet).

        And keep in mind, the moment you use the word "after it's rooted", you just dropped yourself to less than 5% of the market, and I think I'm being abundantly generous with that statement.

        And no, Android tablets' (when they finally exist) main competitor IS the iPad. Apple's selling a million every goddamn month. Please remove head from ass.

        • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:30PM (#35981678) Journal

          I agree with the vast majority of what you say, but I find the comment about marketplaces a bit odd. The standard install path for the vast majority of applications on all operating systems for the past decade or so has been "Go to website. Click download. Click install." - I'd hesitate to say that the rapid growth in popularity of the iPhone and Android marketplaces has negated that. Of course, if your OS actively blocks non-marketplace installs then you have a valid point, but simply not having built-in access to one only puts the tablet in the same position as OSX last year or Windows now; hardly a critical failure, to my mind.

        • by drb226 (1938360) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:41PM (#35981742)

          Note: If it doesn't have a working market place when you open the box, it's not a tablet. It's a truly half-baked rushed piece of gadgetry.

          Yes, thank goodness Steve showed us the One Holy Canonical Applestolic right way to distribute programs to internet-connected devices. *eyeroll*

          • by jo_ham (604554) <> on Friday April 29, 2011 @11:16PM (#35982150)

            So, it's fine to bash Apple when they're "stealing the idea of the repository, that Linux has had for years", but when its brought up as a required feature for tablets it's "the one holy canonical Applestolic right way" and must be denounced.

            Just checking.

        • Re:Isn't it obvious? (Score:3, Informative)

          by Svartalf (2997) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:42PM (#35981748) Homepage


          - Slower than the iPad (same CPU, MUCH slower GPU)

          1) Same CPU equates to roughly the same performance for regular tasks like UI, browser, etc. since the speed in 3D doesn't equate to 2D stuff.
          2) It's only about 1.5 or so times faster than the Xoom, based on the benchmark results (Magic word there...benchmarks...)- so not so much slower like you're making it out to be. Resolutions can tump things into a slower framerate.

          Slower than it should be on top of that (everything runs slower in Honeycomb than Gingerbread on identical hardware)

          Seems to be more an issue with the Xoom. My Nook Color's roughly on a par with Gingerbread (well...CM7's got Bluetooth support and the hacked Honeycomb doesn't... Since I've got an Iconia now, the Nook's going to CM7 to be fully useful by way of PAN and Keyboard support...) and the Iconia doesn't the Xoom is on the same SoC for all intents and purposes. Moto...go figure...

          Heavier than the iPad

          My Iconia's not really any heavier than the Xoom. However, having handed it over to several iPad owners, they couldn't understand the rancor about it being "heavier" that was coming from some quarters. Weight differences were almost negligible in their opinion.

          Crappier screen than the iPad (wider, yay, but viewing angles that are an entire generation behind)

          Heh... No argument there.

          Lower video compatibility (Once again, slower playback than non-Honeycomb Tegra 2 tablets)

          That isn't a function of the Honeycomb/non-Honeycomb difference, per se. It's setting up the decode/playback through the DSP and it takes care of most of the load-lifting. Sounds like a display driver boo-boo or a weak DSP program for the video formats, if you ask me...

          The same price

          Heh... No argument there. Lame, really, when I've got the better execution of the idea in hand now.

          Capable of reading MicroSD cards.... someday?

          Ouch. Heh... My Iconia and my NC seem to be able to grasp hotpluggable MicroSD. I'd call that lame, yet again.

          I'm unsurprised that the Xoom figures aren't pretty. Moto's apparently done a botch on both the Xoom and the Atrix. Doesn't mean that the follow-on tablets (Iconia, eeePC convertable, etc...) are the same story. And it's silly to have articles like this out at this stage as others have pointed out- it's not Android so much as it's Motorola we're talking about in this story.

          • Re:Isn't it obvious? (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:50PM (#35981794)
            The GPU is used for the UI. Well, not in Android, but it is in iOS. Google hasn't gotten around to fixing that yet. The reality is, a lot of your speed perceptions are based on UI responsiveness and the iPad kicks the shit out of the xoom and all those other piece of shit tablets.
            • Re:Isn't it obvious? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:46PM (#35982048)

              The GPU is used for the UI. Well, not in Android, but it is in iOS. Google hasn't gotten around to fixing that yet. The reality is, a lot of your speed perceptions are based on UI responsiveness and the iPad kicks the shit out of the xoom and all those other piece of shit tablets.

              I don't own a tablet, but will probably buy one in the next 12 months. I've watched the video reviews on Engadget and the like, and even there it's obvious you're right.

              When the reviewer has to do the page-flip several times to get the tablet to respond; when the reviewer has to click some icons more than once to get them to launch - that's a big red flag. I really want to like Android, but there's no way I'd buy a current generation Android tablet. I think Gruber is right - these review sites must be grading on a curve.

          • by Wovel (964431) on Friday April 29, 2011 @11:27PM (#35982214) Homepage

            Your iconia is an example of how things will improve (some anyway) Motorola and Samsun wanted to be first in their categories to drive the Android tablet space and were both were rushed out and underperformed.

            Think what you want about Apple, the iPad2 is a polished device with a fully developed ecosystem and support from every major mobile developer. People need to stop releasing turds or the market as a whole will just give up on Android in the tablet space.

        • by w0mprat (1317953) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:58PM (#35981844)

          We're talking about something that doesn't run Windows or Mac OS, so it has apps/programs/whatever that 99.9% of consumers aren't going to be familiar with. Meaning, if there's no easy way to add functionality, you're dead on arrival.

          Consumers who buy the iPad more than likely already are iPhone or iPod Touch owners. They're already familiar with iOS and how to get stuff done on it.

          Android owners would see the benefit of an Android tablet. I logged into a Samsung Galaxy with my Gmail account and lo and behold it started downloading all my apps including my paid ones. I'm holding out to buy one though, it's still early days.

        • by rhook (943951) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:55PM (#35982082)

          It is my understanding that the Nook Color is in fact shipping with a usable market now, it was added in the last firmware update.

      • by sprior (249994) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:17PM (#35981926) Homepage

        The Nook Color as a tablet has only been fully baked since CM7 stable came out a couple of weeks ago.

    • Re:Isn't it obvious? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gbjbaanb (229885) on Friday April 29, 2011 @08:56PM (#35981480)

      apart from the nook and the Galaxy Tab I guess :)

      I think he might be right - iPads are different beasts, they're not a big smartphone, nor are they a keyboardless laptop. So I guess the iPad owners do use them for different tasks than those commonly performed by smartphones and laptops.

      In which case, the positioning for Android tablets needs to be more of a keyboardless laptop - ie like the Xoom and the N900 - one where you can dock it and turn it into a desktop machine (with bluetooth keyboard and hdmi cable to a monitor or TV) and un-dock it and it becomes a portable device that you can still use, though not as fully as when docked. I think that is probably the best place for Android to move to - it'll stop being a 'me too' copy of iPads and iPhones and start to become the future of all computing.

      But then, if they did that, Android tablets are a non-starter, you can put all that power in a phone-sized form instead, and it's more compact and portable too. Maybe people will realise this when we get full-resolution HUD spectacles and tablets will become last years fashion.

      • by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:01PM (#35981864)

        Tablets, including the iPad, compete with netbooks. Apple fanboys would buy an iNetbook in a heartbeat, but Apple won't make them because a cheap one would not uphold their reputation and would compete with their pricey laptops. But an iPad, now there's a deal, cheaper than an Apple laptop. Not as cheap as an old netbook, but those are Windows or Linux and thus not desirable by Apple fanboys.

        Whereas those who will stoop to buy a cheap netbook aren't interested in a more expensive tablet which has no keyboard. Lack of a cover to protect the screen may even be a consideration.

        • by RocketRabbit (830691) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @12:14AM (#35982396)

          Macbook Air. Apple already has a "netbook" but it's more expensive than the generic equivalents of course. Form factor is the same, battery life is the same or better, and they get better battery life.

          • by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @12:57AM (#35982598)

            *snort* No one considers the Air a netbook. If netbooks are famous for anything, it's cheap and small. The Air is certainly thin, and minimal on storage and connections, but it's not small or cheap. It's only competitors are regular Macs with gold plated hinges and a rose colored filter for the camera.

            • by immaterial (1520413) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @03:25AM (#35982988)
              Last time I compared the 11" Air to Dell's popular 10" netbooks (a few months ago), it was actually lighter and smaller in most dimensions (just a bit wider, significantly thinner, and a bit less deep), plus it was more powerful, had better battery life, a full-size keyboard, and a larger screen. Yes, the Air cost 2.5x as much, but you do get a lot out of it, including the same small size and ultraportability of a netbook (at least compared to the 10" variety that seem most popular now).
        • by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @08:06AM (#35983742)

          "In its quarterly filing [], Microsoft indicated that the consumer PC market was the primary culprit for the decline — pointing in particular to a 40 percent decline in netbook sales in the consumer market. That’s more evidence of the iPad’s impact on the market. Many consumers are opting for the Apple slate rather than Windows-based netbooks to fill the gap between the PC and the phone."

          Stick a fork in the netbook, it is done. It's niche has been largely taken over by a combination of the smartphone and the tablet. To blame "fanboys" for 40% market moves is ridiculous to the extreme and not a little trollish.

    • by Goboxer (1821502) on Friday April 29, 2011 @08:58PM (#35981492)
      This. There has been one serious Android tablet out for two months and its overpriced and glitchy. The other serious Android tablets are just now coming out, this week. Were they expected to grab half the market in a week? Because that is fucking ridiculous. Let's have this conversation again in a year, then we'll see how the numbers look.
    • by node 3 (115640) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:21PM (#35981636)

      Xoom was half-baked, but that's not the problem. The real problem is that when you buy a tablet, you are just buying a tablet. With a phone, you are buying a phone that is also a computer. So Android phone buyers have primary considerations which have nothing whatsoever to do with Android vs iOS or anything else. Subsidized phone price, plan rates, carrier choice all are more important for more people than what OS it runs.

      Simply put, when you buy a phone, you are buying a phone first, and a smartphone platform second. When you buy a tablet, you are buying a tablet. In that case, the quality of the OS, and platform in general, is much more important.

      Take ereaders as an example. No one buys the one that runs Android specifically. They buy the one that had the best price, book selection, book price, and physical characteristics. Android phones are bought in the same general way.

      I'm generalizing quite a bit here. There are plenty of geeks who buy Android phones specifically because of Android, but there are many more people who buy iPhones specifically because of the iOS platform.

    • by Crazy Taco (1083423) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:40PM (#35981740)

      The Xoom was half-baked and lacklustre, and no other tablet has been widely available for a reasonable amount of time. That's all there is to it.

      I absolutely disagree with that statement. Yes, it may have been half-baked and lacklustre, but that's not all there is to it. I think he makes a very good point in the article that the attitude of a lot of non-Apple fanboys is "why use one of these tablets, which are glorified smartphones with a big screen, when I could use a real computer?" He's right that while those users really like their Android phones, that an Android tablet may not be adopted due to laptops and, to some extent, netbooks, out-competing them.

      This is of course anecdotal, but I firmly fall into that category. I have no desire to pay 600 or more dollars for a keyboardless toy. Because that really is what these tablets are. They do lightweight web surfing, lightweight games, and that's pretty much it. I'm not going to sit and write reports, code, play real games, etc, using one of those. I am open to tablet sized devices, but only if they do something really different than what my laptop can do. For example, I own a kindle because the e-ink screen is dramatically better for reading than any LCD based option. Everything about it is purpose built to excel at reading, and it does. But an iPad? Other than booting quickly it does nothing my laptop can't do, and there is much my laptop can do that it can't (and for quick booting and light web surfing in a pinch, I have my Android phone).

      The other comment I'll add is this: He says in the article that there are a few Windows tablet fanboys. I guess count me as one of them, because I do love a Windows 7 convertible tablet (with a keyboard). It eats the iPad for lunch. It runs real, full featured programs... any Windows program I want. In college, I can fold it flat, hold the stylus and write on the screen just like I would a piece of paper. Microsoft OneNote's handwriting search is just about perfect... I can find any note I ever took, even in my own handwriting, in less than a second. And I can take engineering notes... just try doing that with any other device, whether the iPad or normal laptop... there are so many special symbols you'll never be able to. And the screen is multitouch (and this tablet is a few years old). Yes, the iPhone is cheaper (but much less powerful), lighter, and can boot faster, and I don't deny that. But that's what my Android smartphone is for, and when I want a real tablet to do real things with, I pick Windows 7.

    • by w0mprat (1317953) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:53PM (#35981810)
      There's at least 50 Android tablets on the market and a good selection available Viewsonic, Acer Iconia, Dreambook ePad, Archos, Dell, Navitel, and others.

      But why aren't they selling? Simple, epicly poor availability, near-zero advertising, and a gazillion made in china knock-off pads. Retail stores doesn't seem to bother stocking anything other than the Galaxy Tab, despite the Acer Iconia and Viewsonic tablets being rather respectable.

      This all smacks of the situation 2008/2009 when there were only a few good Android handset choices and we could have said the same thing about Android phones.

      From the little play I've had with Android Honeycomb 3.0 on a Xoom I have to say frankly it's a better tablet operating system, lord knows Android already has a superior notification system, cloud integration etc. Already it should be a sign that Apple is having to quietly introduce features to iOS that Android users have been introducing for some time. I really don't see how Apple can maintain it's dominance, it never has done in the past.
      • by RocketRabbit (830691) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @12:17AM (#35982410)

        Apple doesn't count its dominance in units pushed out the retail channel. It counts it is profits.

        This is a huge key factor that people tend not to realize. Would you rather sell a hundred tablets with a profit margin of $1 per unit, or one tablet with a margin of $300 per unit?

    • by poetmatt (793785) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:27PM (#35981966) Journal

      the sad thing is you have a more accurate reply than the article. what a joke.

    • by Kagato (116051) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:54PM (#35982076)

      The issue is the Droid tablets have to be better than Apple in a fair number of respects before you're going to overthrow a well oiled market leader like Apple. The iPad does a dozen things really really well. Whereas most tablets (and netbooks) do as many things as you want, but not everything really all that well. People want study build quality, long batter life, and a wide variety of cheap apps. All the other tablets are playing catch up to apple. As long as that is the case Apple is going to keep steeling the thunder by releasing a new model with better battery life, more speed, and hard to beat them.

    • by markdavis (642305) on Friday April 29, 2011 @11:35PM (#35982260)

      The Xoom was not half-baked. It was more like 95% baked, which is a lot more than half. But it WAS rushed to market.. The only thing not working on the Xoom on delivery was SD card and Flash. And Flash is/was totally outside of Motorola's control, and has already been available now for a while. The SD patch is coming, although I can't figure out why it is taking so long on that.

      The only thing truly disappointing on the Xoom is that the price is just too high, it needed to be at least $50 less than the iPad, not the same price. I am guessing it will drop in price, now that other Android 3.0 tablets are being released, however.

      Otherwise, it is a perfectly fine tablet.

  • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Friday April 29, 2011 @08:54PM (#35981472) Homepage

    Funny thing is, I would have made the opposite prediction a couple years ago - I would have bet on Android for tablets and the iPhone to continue to dominate smartphones - but I understand now why it went the way it did. I don't think that Android tablets can compare to the iPad experience, mostly due to the apps.

    I like Android on the phone and my CR-48, but the iPad is far more interesting to me than an Android tablet is. Part of it is pure diversity - there are some amazing apps and games that only run on iOs; I only need one device to play them/enjoy them, and an iPad is a lot more compelling a game interface than the iPod touch/iPhone is. I expect most productivity apps to either get ported to Android from iOs or at least have a good working equivalent, but games and creative/playful apps, which are distinct and not really replaceable by equivalents, favor iPad. So, it's iPad for reading and games, the Android phone as a PIM (remember that word?) and workhorse smart-phone.

    A lot of "fandroids" are actually really Google "fans", or at least tied to the Google eco-system (that fits me, sort of, with the usual caveats and worrying about any corporate entity controlling too much personal information, etc.) - and one can stay within the Google system in your iPad. One thing that distinguishes Google from Apple is that the latter really is about the one "right" and "best" way to do something, while the former is about having several ways (many still in beta) of skinning many cats (some of which haven't even been discovered yet.)

    • by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @07:06AM (#35983558)

      The explanation is simple : there were a lot of crap merchants already selling phones that decided to ship them with Android instead of their homegrown OS. There were no companies already shipping tablets for them to slap Android on and ship. It was a relatively small investment on the phone side (and they had to make it to remain even remotely relevant) but there's a large investment to be made on the tablet side and that's to compete for second place until someone gets it right, which will require an even greater investment.

  • by Fnkmaster (89084) on Friday April 29, 2011 @08:56PM (#35981486)

    Lots of Android tablets came out that didn't have Honeycomb and thus weren't really ready to be used as tablets. They are fun for hackers in some cases (like the G Tablet) but not ready for prime time. The only Honeycomb tablet out so far is the Motorola Xoom. The Xoom fails in epic fashion on price - it has similar hardware specs as my $300 G Tablet for twice the price. I would never buy it because I'd feel like a huge sucker.

    Apparently Honeycomb needs a bit more polish before it's ready.

    But until Google lets other manufacturers come out with Honeycomb tablets, or releases the Honeycomb source code, we aren't going to have Android tablets that have mass appeal.

    This doesn't really require a particularly in depth analysis, or any conspiracy theories or anything else.

    • by Svartalf (2997) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:10PM (#35981558) Homepage

      Your statement is inaccurate. Until this week, there was only the Xoom. This week, Acer's play showed up. $150 less than the Xoom with at least a slightly better configuration than the same. And, your G was only $300 because you caught a deal somewhere- retail storefront's only $50 less than what I paid for my Iconia A500 on Tuesday.

    • There is another Honeycomb tablet that is somewhat more reasonably priced, the Acer Iconia A500 []. It's only $450, which is 50 less than the iPad.

      Unfortunately, Acer has a pitiful PR department. Have you heard any news about it? Neither have I. I only know about it because of some little blurb in a Best Buy ad.

    • by Mr2001 (90979) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:23PM (#35981642) Homepage Journal

      The Xoom fails in epic fashion on price - it has similar hardware specs as my $300 G Tablet for twice the price. I would never buy it because I'd feel like a huge sucker.

      Maybe, but the Xoom is still comparable to the iPad in specs and price, so how do you explain the fact that people buy those?

      • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @12:15AM (#35982404) Journal

        Maybe, but the Xoom is still comparable to the iPad in specs and price, so how do you explain the fact that people buy those?

        Xoom is half-baked, and that's mostly thanks to Google so far as I can see (i.e. it's all software). It's rather laggy, even on basic stuff like flipping screens or icons in app list, especially if you rotate the tablet from default landscape orientation. The browser lags horrifically on some websites (including, notably, Slashdot - so much so that typing a comment is so painful as to be impossible). Force closes are not exactly rare either.

        As well, iPad has a good IPS screen, whereas Xoom is a lackluster TN. For a gadget like that, selling halfway on "wow factor" in the store, it's a really big deal. You know, juicy colors and all that.

    • by Nikker (749551) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:31PM (#35981686)
      Personally I would love to grab a tablet the one thing that scares me is vendor OS updates. If I have an iPhone and I hear that Apple is realeasing IOS $X, I want IOS $X goddamit! Now I hear that Google finishes making OS $X+1 and I want that sucker! But wait, Sony/Motorola/whoever tell me they can't/don't want to do because of $Y, well fuck that. Personally I would rather put the same money into a laptop / netbook then get screwed by these guys. With Apple I know the only interest they have is to make their hardware and UI shine, if that takes an update then so be it. With Android they always come out with new features but chances are I won't be able to have them cause the manufacturer said so, or they want me to buy Verson++.

      I'm going to wait, let them standardize, let them suffer a bit then get something I can use rather than stare at.
    • Also (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:38PM (#35981726)

      People need to stop with this idea that if it doesn't immediately sell better than Apple it isn't going to be more popular in the long run.

      We saw that same shit with phones. Android came out and it was rather anemic. Only a few phones used it and they were nice, but not all that polished. So a bunch of dipshits screamed about how it was clear this would never be an iPhone competitor. However today there are just loads of Android phones, and they are extremely polished (as I've said before, HTC's Sense UI is real slick). They are quickly cutting in to the iPhones marketshare and are predicted by a number of people to be the top by a long margin in a few years.

      In other words, it can very well start slow, but build up a hell of a lot of steam with time.

      Same could happen with tablets. Apple had a shitload of iPad sales right off because it is Apple and currently they are the fashionable "must have" gadget company and they were the first real product in the "Not an expensive laptop," tablet market. Well and good, but that doesn't mean that Android may not overcome that in the long run.

      Let's see where things stand in a year or two. That'll be what's really telling. If in two years Android tablets are still floundering, then ya they probably will never really take off. However in two years they may well be making large inroads on the iPad.

      We'll just have to see.

      • by Crazy Taco (1083423) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:50PM (#35981800)

        In other words, it can very well start slow, but build up a hell of a lot of steam with time.

        What's really going to be amazing is if Microsoft, which started even slower, manages to pull something off in the phone arena. I've heard more screaming from pundits about how they will never be a contender than I've heard about any other company, but the Windows 7 phone wasn't half bad for a first try. I'd love to see them grab some market share, if for no other reason than three huge players competing will really start to push the quality envelope.

      • by Paradise Pete (33184) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:56PM (#35981828) Journal
        There's no single Android phone that sells anywhere even close to the number of iPhones. I don't understand this logic of lumping together all the different phones. It's like comparing sales of an OS to sales of a hardware device.

        Comparing OS to OS (Android vs. IOS) then IOS is still much larger. And I'll bet that the majority of casual Android phone users came to their decision by thinking "I'm not going to get an iPhone, so what else is there?" And it turns out the "what else" is a ton of Android phones, so that's what they get.

        For what it's worth I don't have an iPhone and probably never will. But I still don't understand this thinking.

        • Re:Also (Score:4, Informative)

          by markdavis (642305) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:55PM (#35982086)

          People compare marketshare of "MS-Windows" machines to Apple (MacOS) machines all the time. One is a huge variety of machines (MS-Windows) and the other is just a few models all from one company (Apple).

          So what is there to not understand?

          There are a dozen Android phones for which the hardware is superior to the iPhone. And the "environment" is basically Android for all of them, and they can almost all run almost all the same apps. So yes, it *does* make sense to lump all of the Android phones together when comparing to lumping the three models of the iPhone together.

          And I don't know where you are getting your statistics, but there are already a lot more Android OS phones in use than there are iOS phones.... get your facts straight!


      • Re:Also (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rabtech (223758) on Friday April 29, 2011 @11:19PM (#35982164) Homepage

        People need to stop treating this as a contest to be won or lost. Android is "beating" the iPhone because android phones are what handset makers .can. build so they are churning them out.

        The android market is different than the iPhone market (in large part). Android is displacing traditional cell phones with smart phones beause it is flooding the market with models and pretty much any phone that isn't an iPhone is or soon will be an android phone. That's a perfectly fine business model and works just fine for everyone involved. Apple is setting records for iPhone and tablet sales year over year and their app store is undeniably the largest with the most exclusive and popular apps.... But not everyone cares about running apps on their phone or may actively avoid Apple for various reasons. Apple (so far) hasn't chased the low end or low margin markets, nor have they branched out into different form factors. Cell companies also like Android better because their profit margins are higher on some of the phones and they can do a lot more customization (and crippling in some cases since they like being jackasses)... That has an effect too.

        The iPad is different... People get one because they *want* one, not because they dropped their old one in a toilet or their contract was up or their old battery died so they figured it was time to upgrade anyway. Having one is useless without the apps to run on it, unlike a cell phone which is perfectly capable of doing the basic things cell phones have done for years without installing a single app.

        When an Android tablet is the same price as an iPad with far fewer apps, a less fully-baked OS (though improving), etc it is certainly no surprise that the iPad owns the market. That doesn't mean Apple is winning the "tablet war" or android is losing... It just means the market dynamics are reversed in that case. The Android tablets appeal to anti-apple folks, geeks, people looking for alternate form factors, etc.

        I use Apple products but I'm glad there are competitors out there to keep Apple nimble and honest. And if you prefer Android, great - use it. In the end we are all winning in a sense because our devices continue to get better and better.

  • by fred fleenblat (463628) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:00PM (#35981496) Homepage

    a 2 year old can use the iPad, as can non-techie grandparents. that's why apple is selling them by the millions.

    nothing to do with platform loyalty or netbooks or supply chain or anything. it's a good product that appeals to millions of people.

  • Google Control (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:00PM (#35981500) Homepage Journal
    It to a while for Androd phones to compete. Google basically had to stop playing it's game of sort-of-open solftware that would be given to one vendor as a treat so that other vendors would stay in line. The mobile phone companies had to have the freedom to effectively close the handsets so that profits could be created. And, at a basic level, the software had to mature to a stable product. A lot of early adopters got screwed because after six months their phones were out of date bricks. Who is going to take that change with a $500 tablet, that in six months it can't be upgraded.

    So basically we are seeing this again. Google gave Motorola a treat and let it ocme out with the first tablet. No one who is not an uber early adopter is going to buy this table because, unlike the iPhone and iPad for which Apple will provide a couple years of support(my 3 is still getting updates), there is no way to know if the real Honeycomb is going to run on it. We have at least 5 vaporware machines, but they do not exist? So, do we do like MS fanbois and wait for a machine that may or may not be real, or simply buy an iPad?

    It is way to early to say whether Honeycomb will succeed in that tablet market. Google is still playing games, and no casual end user would touch it anymore than the Nexus one. It is very likely when there are 10 models out there, all running variations of Android, and if the look and feel and interconnectivity are superior to Apple, then we will likely see Honeycomb take a significant share of the market. However, as the iPhone now, it is likely that the iPad will take the top position for quite a while. However, unless the tablets can undercut the price of the iPad(meaning not the xoom for $600) they will have a hard time competeing. Price, is, after all why the 3GS is in the number two sales position, even though it is an extremely anemic phone.

  • Improve the UI... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:01PM (#35981504)

    Android smartphones have overpowered the iPhone in market share, yet Android tablets barely register in sales versus the iPad. Android tablets are as competitive in most respects against the iPad as Android smartphones are against the iPhone. So why the difference in success?

    Having tried both iPads and Android tablets I'd say the reason is simple. Android is a mobile phone OS that was hastily adapted for tablets and it shows. If they ever manage to come up with a good purpose designed tablet version of the Android UI that assessment may change. The Android system settings are also sometimes annoyingly unintuitive. For example, when the mail client told me I needed to approve access permissions before I cold connect to Exchange 2010 it took me about half an hour of clicking about in the system settings pane before I realized thats the wrong place to look. You have to pull down the curtain on the menu bar and click the task item in the list you get there to fix this. Another thing is that while iTunes store definitely contains a whole mess of crappy apps the Android market is even worse.

  • Theory #6 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dracos (107777) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:02PM (#35981522)

    Android tablets don't have a single-minded and focused marketing (spelled h-y-p-e) machine behind them.

    Tablets are doomed to fail except in vertical markets where consuming data is more common than producing data. For personal use they're a fad, little more than an overly capable media player. The people who might want a tablet but don't want an iPad are few.

    • by Svartalf (2997) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:12PM (#35981586) Homepage

      I don't know about that. Coupled with a bluetooth keyboard, my A500 matches most netbooks in capabilities and performance and is more portable/usable even without the keyboard for many uses you'd use a netbook for.

      • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @12:21AM (#35982434) Journal

        I think it'll be the Asus Transformer [], with its keyboard/trackpad dock, that will truly kill netbooks. Sure, it's still somewhat pricey ($399 for tablet, and then the extra $140 if you want the dock), but you get 16hrs of battery power on that thing, and you can actually use it as a tablet, too - whichever factor makes more sense for any given activity.

        For geeks willing to root and hack things, it's even more awesome - since you can run pretty much any Linux distro within Android (in a chroot jail), and given something with a proper keyboard, you get a device that has lightweight mobile-optimized UI and great battery life, but with the full power of a desktop Linux at your fingertips at any desired moment (think OpenOffice, TeX, the entire development chain... heck, you could run Eclipse and develop right on the device).

    • by thestudio_bob (894258) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:29PM (#35981670)

      Android tablets don't have a single-minded and focused marketing (spelled h-y-p-e) machine behind them.

      Well if we're handing out theories, Eric Schmidt didn't to get a sneak peak at the iPad like he did with the iPhone []. It probably slowed them down a bit not having the Google R&D machine (spelled m-o-l-e) behind him.

    • by Americano (920576) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:31PM (#35981684)

      Tablets are doomed to fail except in vertical markets where consuming data is more common than producing data.

      Which is to say, the most common uses the majority of the population puts personal (not "the one I use at work") computers to? I'd love to "fail" by owning a huge chunk of a market that large.

      Hint: If you view "hacking the linux kernel" and "writing my own software" to be typical use cases for casual & personal use, you're wrong.

  • Numbers please (Score:3, Interesting)

    by macemoneta (154740) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:02PM (#35981526) Homepage

    I didn't see any actual sales figures to support the claim that Android is doing poorly on tablets. Considering that this is only the second quarter of sales, I think it's a little early. Many manufacturers haven't even released sales figures yet!

    Also, strictly from a personal perspective, I know five people with Android tablets, but only one with an iPad. Interestingly, all the Android tablets are from Archos, which is rarely mentioned in articles.

  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:08PM (#35981548) Homepage Journal

    I wonder if it is simply that they don't understand the market and at the same time trying to trump the iPad without understanding what the users want. It could also be because they are scared of cannibalizing the markets they already have.

    While not Android, Microsoft for the moment, seems to be failing to capture the market because they see tablets as hand held PCs, rather than a totally different type of device.

    I think to understand the iPad you need to understand where Steve Jobs is coming from. An interview/a in Wired back in 1996 makes it clear. Essentially the computer of the future won't feel like a computer and would feel intuitive. I think the iPad does that well, even if there is room for improvement. Hardware manufactures don't get that and Google doesn't seem to be providing that direction either. The dimensions of some tablets also don't work because while they are good for one thing aren't good for others. In many way a National Geographic sized device makes a lot of sense, since is an acceptable format for reading magazines and is not a hindrance when watching movies. On the other hand, the Playbook for example, feels optimized for movies, but doesn't feel like it is comfortable for other uses. []

    Oddly enough I feel that HP actually has the potential to do something really good with WebOS, with regards to the tablet space, but only time will tell. They might surprise us yet.

    As for other ways that tablets could be used, you only need to look at science fiction films and TV series' for ideas. Star Trek and Earth Final Conflict for example.

  • by Flipao (903929) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:10PM (#35981562)
    Android tablets have been out for a few months.There's your answer.
  • by roc97007 (608802) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:12PM (#35981588) Journal

    The answer is, there hasn't yet been a good design at a compelling price. I was almost sold on the Galaxy tablet, because it had something that even the ipad didn't have, (a 7 inch form factor) but there were some parts that were half baked, and Samsung priced it out of the market. I'm seeing similar things from the other major players -- they want a premium, high-end-laptop price point on designs that haven't been completely thought out.

    Moreover, the tablet-centric version of Android (3.0) isn't completely mature yet, and is running on very few actual tablets.

    And finally, the rash of cheap wannabes with resistive screens and Android 1.X are muddying the waters. Fred and Ethyl aren't going to know the difference between a Coby and a Toshiba, so they'll buy the $149.95 model and be disappointed.

    • by wintermute000 (928348) <johannlo1&gmail,com> on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:18PM (#35981934)

      You know the galaxy tab is now 300 australian dollars here down under? thats the 3G model as well.
      Exchange rates are a pain assuming you're in the US but they are now completely sold out everywhere. I grabbed one and am loving it even with the rough edges, heck at that price point its justifiable purely as a nice colour ebook reader that can do kindle and sideload epubs.
      But would I have loved it as much had I paid 800 AUD for it (launch price), heck no, I would have thought 'geeze could have bought a 3G ipad for that'.
      Just goes to prove: doesn't matter if its a bit half baked if you price aggressively.
      I would go so far as to say it will be the ONLY way droid tablets take off is to attack aggressively on price

  • Who's on first (Score:2, Redundant)

    by jklovanc (1603149) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:13PM (#35981598)

    Lets see, when the iPad came out there was no other tablet on the market and years of marketing hype which created a pent up need. The iPad came out and they sold a crap load of them. There is also the Apple fanboy factor "If it is Apple I must have it". Many, if not most, people who would buy a tablet now have iPads thereby deceasing overall demand for tablets.

    An Android pad with a real tablet OS comes out, is panned by the tech community and people wonder what it didn't sell as many as the iPad? Most people who want a tablet but have yet to buy a iPad are a patient bunch and will wait till the right one comes out. From all the reviews, the Zoom is not the right tablet.

    If you want to compare sales compare how many iPads were sold in the same time period as the release of the Zoom. Then the comparison may be valid.

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:33PM (#35981994)

      An Android pad with a real tablet OS comes out, is panned by the tech community and people wonder what it didn't sell as many as the iPad? Most people who want a tablet but have yet to buy a iPad are a patient bunch and will wait till the right one comes out. From all the reviews, the Zoom is not the right tablet.

      Maybe your "real" tablet OS was panned because it is still incomplete and rough around the edges but we'll stick to your theory that the iPad success is all about marketing.

      If you want to compare sales compare how many iPads were sold in the same time period as the release of the Zoom. Then the comparison may be valid.

      Apple sold 3.27 millions iPads [] from April 3, 2010 to July 20, 2010 which is slightly more than a quarter. Apple didn't announce iPad sales in the 2Q 2010 as the iPad had been recently released. Motorola sold 250,000 [] in 2 months from Feb 24, 2011 to April 28, 2011. If we interpolate, Motorola is selling 125,000 Xooms per month while Apple sold over 800,000 iPads per month. In order to catch Apple with the same kinds of sales, Motorola will have to sell 1.5 million Xooms per month for the next 2 months to catch the original iPad.

      • by jklovanc (1603149) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:55PM (#35982084)

        You missed the point. When the iPad came out it was the first viable tablet. There were millions of people chomping at the bit to buy a tablet; any tablet. Now there have been millions of tablets sold fulfilling much of that need. Any new tablet will not sell as fast as the original iPad because many people already have a tablet and the new tablet is not the only option.

  • by Synn (6288) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:14PM (#35981602)

    If you like Apple you really only have the 1 choice in Apple products. You either buy the iPad 1.0 or you wait until the expected iPad 2.0 comes out. Really, Apple is the one that competes with Apple. For an Apple fan, there is no alternative.

    As an Android fan there will be a lot of Android tablets. I'm waiting around to see who comes out with the best one that fits my needs.

  • No, really at $450 (Acer Iconia A500) [].

    The reviews aren't exactly glowing though. It's cheaper than the iPad at least. Have you heard any news about it though? No? That's because it seems Acer's PR department doesn't seem to know how to do its job. How can it take off if no one knows about it?

  • by kwiqsilver (585008) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:21PM (#35981634)

    People might be looking at the problem backwards. It's not what Android is doing poorly that's hurting it in the tablet market, as much as what Apple is doing poorly that's hurting it in the phone market. The answer is carrier exclusivity. iOS gained on Android [] in the US phone market for the first time in a long time recently, because they started selling Verizon phones. Perhaps as iPhones begin to support more carriers (assuming Apple can scale manufacturing enough), Apple will start to take bigger chunks.

    • by jbplou (732414) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:33PM (#35981700)

      The thing is Apple has never really lost marketshare with the iPhone. android is getting more marketshare from new users, and at the expense of blackberry and windows phone. I sure apple would like more marketshare but considering all they sell right now is the 4 and 3GS that isn't too bad. I think the fundamental flaw in smart phone thought is that ut will mirror PCs, why can't it go like a different market for computing devices, the gaming device. There have always been at least two players in this market I think smart phones will be similar. If Apple fails then HP or MS will step up.

    • by klaiber (117439) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:31PM (#35981990)

      Which would be consistent with the iPhone doing very well in European countries where either the carrier was better then AT&T, or where there was a choice of carriers.

  • by alen (225700) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:25PM (#35981646)

    Own a htc inspire and an iPad 2. Used to have an iPhone 3GS.

    My inspire cost me $20 at Costco and is faster than an iPhone 4 in some ways. An iPhone costs $300 for the cheap one with activation and tax.

    There is no subsidy on wifi tablets and the 3G ones cost more due to the chipsets and licensing which eats away the subsidy some carriers give.

    iOS is more polished, battery life is better, app store is better unless all you want is widgets and live wallpaper, security is better and you don't have to check permissions for each app, and iOS multitasking is better and more efficient. And there is no crazy system of moving some apps to sd card, killing processes manually and some of the other nonsense I see on android. The other day I downloaded an app from the market that says you have to root your phone for it to work. Another one says you need something called launcher pro and other apps. Ridiculous.

    There are thousands of iPad apps in the app store. The android market has less than 100. My 3 year old uses the iPad for educational apps which the app store rules. The other tablets are being sold based on specs and the inclusion of flash for pr0n

    Demographically we are in a baby boom. In NYC a lot of schools are overcrowded due to all the kids. Apple figured this out and is marketing the right way. Everyone else is fighting for the single guy surfing porn market.

    The into iPad is $499. It's a dual core arm a9 CPU, very good gpu, excellent screen, etc. Just as good or better specs as everyone else and better dev support. Choice is easy.

    • by mr_da3m0n (887821) on Friday April 29, 2011 @11:35PM (#35982254) Homepage

      The other day I downloaded an app from the market that says you have to root your phone for it to work. Another one says you need something called launcher pro and other apps. Ridiculous.

      A platform has a feature that is not present by default, unless the user manually enables it. An application requires or targets that feature and makes no sense for those not having it to run it.

      Then another depends on another application because it doesn't make sense outside that context, and thus states so. (on a sidenote in this case often the application will just ask you to download to the other if you wish to use the feature).

      How is this ridiculous again? Are you implying the applications could, or should have worked for the phones that somehow don't have the feature? Was that just feature envy or...?

      Using the same logic: The other day I downloaded an app from the App Store that says you have to have a camera on your device for it to work. Another one says you need something called iOS 3.0 or later. Ridiculous.

      It sounds like you're implicitly demanding something unreasonable. Or am I really missing something?

      Also for the record I just switched my iPhone 3G for a Samsung Galaxy S Capivate. It suits me very well and I found most of the apps I found on the app store were also available on the android market. I don't miss anything from the iPhone. At all. I have the same apps, and much, much more interesting ones.

      I mean, I'm not trying to be argumentative here because it all boils down to personal preference, but honestly, let's face it -- the App Store may have thousands of apps, but most of them are useless toys, so that figure sounds very inflated to anyone who has actually owned iDevices, Certainly the core group of actual applications is much smaller. I'm not specifically talking about games here, because I still don't think that's the main use of a device, just a nice added bonus.

      However, I do agree that the iPad is a much better device than the alternate offerings. I am still debating the actually /need/ for a tablet if you have a laptop, but it is very nice to have. I especially like using it in bed or wherever I'd use a book. That includes the can.

  • Asus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sonicmerlin (1505111) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:28PM (#35981662)
    Has anyone seen the Asus Transformer? $100 less than an iPad 2 and it sold out minutes after being put up at Amazon and every other retail outlets. It's on backorder for weeks.
  • by formfeed (703859) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:37PM (#35981718)

    There have been tons of droid commercials. People know android as a phone OS.
    -Obviously you want something faster and better on your tablet than on your phone.

    Maybe one should brand one as Android CE and one as Android XL (same source of course..)

  • by johncandale (1430587) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:46PM (#35981776)
    they said the same thing the first few years of android on cells. Give it awhile.
  • by Sarusa (104047) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:48PM (#35981786)

    Lack of tablet apps. That's the reason I own an iPad right now and not an Android tablet. Running an Android phone app on an Android tablet is just as ugly as running an iPhone app on an iPad is... but most i* apps have an iPad specific version. Android apps don't.

    This is probably chicken and egg - the devs don't have tablets because the XOOM was just not very appealing. I'm looking forward to the Acer and Samsung tablets.

  • by larry bagina (561269) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:55PM (#35981820) Journal

    Fandroids spent the last year claiming tablets are stupid and nobody wants one. It took so long for a half-usable android tablet to come out that they started believing it.

    That and Apple has mail order, a line of retail stores, and other outlets (Best Buy, KB Toys(!), Wal*Mart, Verizon stores, AT&T stores, etc). Motorola, Samsung, HTC, etc. etc, have traditionally sold only through telcos and only after the telco lobotomizes it.

  • by wesgray (1827286) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:55PM (#35981822)
    Wins on phones? Here in Chicago US Cellular was offering Buy 1 get 5 free on android phones. We all know who has biggest share of smart phone profits which is the point of all of this and has not needed fire sales to pump up volumes.
  • by drb226 (1938360) on Friday April 29, 2011 @09:57PM (#35981834)

    Google has also made no effort to outflank Apple, following Apple's lead in almost every area instead (voice-based search and navigation being the major exceptions)

    (And multitasking. And Flash support (albeit crappy). And open-sourcing the whole project. And allowing multiple marketplaces. And allowing development in multiple languages.) Yep, Google's just gathering crumbs off of Apple's table here...

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:01PM (#35981862) Homepage Journal

    Most people buy a phone because they need one so they start with that idea, go to a phone shop and select a product based on various attributes important to them. Examples would be price, appearance, performance, functions. Tablet buyers at the moment start with the idea that they want an iPad so they go out and buy one. They don't decide to buy a tablet because they don't actually need one.

  • by Altus (1034) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:18PM (#35981936) Homepage

    Android really took off among the masses when you could get Android phones for short money. Not long ago T-mobile spent a weekend giving away Android phones and they are often available for a lot less money than an iPhone. I suspect a lot of average, non geeky, people are more than willing to go for the cheeper Android phone without a second thought.

    When it comes to a tablet, most of them are in the same price range. Why wouldn't you buy the most polished one with the largest number of applications? And perhaps in time there will be good enough Android tablets that are significantly cheeper than the iPad and they will be an easy choice for a lot of people, but given the lack of a subsidy (since the iPad doesn't require a contract and any subsidized Android tablet does), I suspect it will take longer for them to gain a significant price edge on the iPad.

  • by hsmith (818216) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:26PM (#35981962)
    Are the android sales because it is the android PLATFORM or just because people need a new phone and that is what their carrier offers? To me the lackluster sales of Android tablets says that people aren't much into android as they are just phones that people generally buy and use.
  • by hackus (159037) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:28PM (#35981974) Homepage

    Well, I bought an Archos 101, and the implementation of the interface etc is not done very well.

    Lots of bugs, not very fast. In fact surfing on the thing is nothing short of frustrating.

    I use it primarily to run Adobe's pdf reader. Which, for that it works OK.

    It plays a movie, when the player doesn't crash and it works pretty well for mp3's.

    Tons of room for improvement.

    My other complaint about tablets is they are not as good as netbooks for surfing either, yet they cost the same.

    So I think I will not be buying a tablet till I see parts below 28nm size in them. By that time they should be quite well refined.

    But right now, the only thing I would consider using my Archos 101 for is PDF reading or listening too music.

    Archos as a company doesn't keep its promises either. I was promised flash support for the thing and all we have is unaccelerated flash variants which work very poorly.


  • by Duradin (1261418) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:38PM (#35982018)

    One "word": BOGO.

    Once they start selling Android tablets BOGO like the phones the tablets might start to be competitive.

  • Not win? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis (642305) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:47PM (#35982052)

    >"Figuring Out Why Android Wins On Phones, But Not Tablets"

    Android hasn't "lost" on tablets. Real Android tablets (3.0) have only just arrived, and really only one has been available for more than a month- the Xoom (and that was pushed out a few months too soon). How can something that just came out "not win"? Android phones didn't "win" in even a year- it takes time to build a product line and for the word to spread.

    Revisit Android tablets in just a year and THEN see how they are doing...

  • by jht (5006) on Friday April 29, 2011 @11:24PM (#35982194) Homepage Journal

    Android, the platform has sold a bunch more than iPhone, the phone. Because Android isn't one company's phone, it's the default free OS that phone vendors besides Apple and RIM adopted en masse. Why? Because by getting on board with Android, phone vendors don't have to pay the license fees, and can cut development costs. Plus they can get some pre-built apps for the phone without having to cultivate their own app market.

    As far as phones themselves? iPhone sells far in far higher volume than any one Android phone - it just doesn't outsell the whole Android ecosystem. And won't anymore at this point. But the key metric is really how large, robust, and lucrative the platform app markets are. iOS' App Store dramatically outsells the Android Market right now and probably will for the reasonable future. Why? I think part of the reason is the nature of Android itself, and the phones it goes on. Outside of the passionate few, Android mainly is the generic OS you get when you get that phone that's a step up from the old feature phone you had, and there's no iPhone available as an option (or you don't really care one way or another, you just want the phone that's cheapest on a contract and has a web browser and e-mail).

    I think the tablet market is a little different, at least to date. First of all, the iPad came to market as really the first fully-formed vision of a viable tablet. And right now just as the competition starts to catch up, Apple does something to jump ahead again. iPad 2 isn't much better (if at all) technically than the Xoom, but they have design in their favor, roughly identical specs, and Apple has a much more mature app ecosystem and about a year's head start.

    It'll take a few years for the competition to even out. And meantime, these newer platforms don't really lend themselves to the old Windows ecosystem model where one company dominates and everyone else fights for scraps. Apple sells millions of iOS devices each quarter (over 20 million last quarter), and all those users reinforce each other, buying upgraded devices eventually and also buying apps. Developers make lots of money writing iOS apps. That isn't going away. At least 2, maybe even 3 platforms will likely survive and thrive for a long time to come. Apple's advantage now is that they are building devices for consumers, not so much for engineers. That's part of their DNA and why Android won't ever "win" outright.

  • by Salvo (8037) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @01:13AM (#35982642)

    Phones are (in our current society) a Commodity; everyone "needs" a phone. For most people, they are the Primary Computing Device and Primary conduit in a connected world. The cheapest phone, or the most available phone will do. Android phones are a cheap and available alternative to the iPhone, so appeal to consumers as well as the Technorati.

    The role of a Tablet is not as a Primary computing devices, but as a satellite computing device, Tablets are a Luxury. The only people who would purchase a Tablet other than an iPad are Technologists with a Political point of view. Any consumer who does any research whatsoever into Alternatives to the iPad will turn back to the iPad; the benefits of an Android Tablet (better Camera, Card Reader, USB Host, Legacy applet support, etc) pale into insignificance compared to the convenience of the iPad. A cheaper legacy device like a netbook is also significantly better than a Android Tablet in most of these regards too.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: #44 Zebras are colored with dark stripes on a light background.