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Android IOS Hardware

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

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 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 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> 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: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 FreakyGreenLeaky ( 1536953 ) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @09:52AM (#35984148)

    ...and you are parroting the same tired arguments uninformed Java-apologist people parrot.

    Go climb back into your Java coffee bean shell and go back to sleep so the adults can get on with the real work. :)

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake