CES brought an onslaught of tablets. Over 50 were announced. The “Tablet Wars” got quite intense during the first month of 2011, but it sure seems things are calming down as more Android tablets are released. According to Digitimes, this is not just our imagination. Manufacturers are actually starting to back off tablet production to focus on smartphones again.
Being the first non-Apple major manufacturer to bring an Android tablet (7-inch Galaxy Tab) to the market, Samsung has been quite successful, reaching a 10% share of global tablet PC sales. Sadly, while Samsung has been fairly successful in this market, other manufacturers are struggling to turn a profit on their groundbreaking tablets.
Tablet sales from major companies like HTC, LG, Motorola and RIM have been “flat” so far. According to Digitime’s sources, this has led multiple handset makers to move their focus back to 4 to 5-inch high-end smartphones. While Android tablet sales have been relatively low, Android smartphones are dominating the market. There’s simply more potential business there. Many Android users (including some of our staff) would agree that having a tablet is not crucial. Most things one can do with them can be done on a smartphone. It just seems much easier to whip out that credit card for a phone, since a tablet is mostly considered a luxury. Money is definitely not the only issue, though. Android’s nemesis still seems to be making very good sales.
Let’s face it: Honeycomb tablets are nice, but they are still young and often come with defects. To the average end-consumer, this greatly affects the experience. Where are all the sales going? You guessed it. iPads. It requires a certain level of “nerdiness” for one to take full advantage of what Android has to offer, and the iPad/iPad 2 is just easy, simple and clean. (No, I am not on Apple’s side). It makes sense that the average consumer would choose an Apple tablet after considering such factors.
As seen through the evolution of the Android platform for smartphones, our beloved OS is one to start slowly and gain momentum to reach the top. This is what we have been waiting for in the tablet world–more development, more improvements from Google’s side, more manufacturers bringing new ideas. It was assumed it would be awhile before the Android tablet experience was perfected. Even NVIDIA’s CEO mentions Android tablets would beat Apple in sales, but not until 2013. Lack of support from manufacturers would slow down the process, though; something we Android fans would hate to see.
As a loyal Android fan, I will continue to support the platform for the reasons we all know already. But, what do you guys think is the future of Android tablets? Will only a few manufacturers survive? Do you think manufacturers should be patient and keep working until Android tablets reach the top (as Android smartphones did)? Please share your opinions with us below, and let’s hope that tablet innovation is not jeopardized.