Jun 17 AT 5:24 PM Edgar Cervantes 34 Comments

Should manufacturers slow down tablet production?

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.

Via: Tom's Guide

Source: Digitimes

Hello, I am Edgar Cervantes. I am an avid Android fan, and keeping myself updated on the topic is part of my daily life. I will always work hard to give the best of me to our community of Android enthusiasts, and I am very honored to be part of this ship. Hopefully we can all enjoy sharing our knowledge and opinions!

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • http://varemenos.com/ Varemenos

    Well, i aint buying one unless they drop the prices (both phones and tablets).
    If i ever buy a high end tablet it will be one with windows 8, so i can integrate it with my desktop

  • http://Website Ecodelta

    I am an android smartphone user. Recently I received an IPad. The thing is quite easy to use, even too easy to use but the interface seems to me too much dumbed down. I miss the flexibility and google integration.
    Using the iPad has not taken for me the wish to use a table with honeycomb, but my impresion is that hardware and software wise, android tablets are still too young. They still need to evolve quite a bit.
    I expected some good options to have appeared by end of last year, but from what I see now I may have to wait until next year.
    I believe there is a market for android tablets, but the market will be reduced too at most three main players.

  • http://Website ArcaneAndy

    I want one, just can’t afford one…

  • kwills88

    as much as i love android..i think this is an issue where people are not giving time to actually enjoy their newly purchased devices, simply because the moment they get it..something new within two weeks to a month is out..if they take time to improve on one device at a time, then proceed to release them at a pace of lets say 5-6months, then we might have a lot more top of the line devices being pushed out instead of a lot of half assed products where people find themselves having to send back due to problems with these products’ hardware.

    I prefer a small amount of great products, instead of a large mass of crappy ones.

  • http://Website Mark

    I’m sorry but as much as I love Android. Unless, they make it easier to use AND severely drop their prices to aggressively compete with the iPad then I don’t see much hope for them. The tablet market is vastly different from the smartphone market in that there are hardly any carrier subsidies to make them widely available AND let’s face it, tablets just aren’t as necessary as smartphones.

    On a side note, I’ll probably be getting a Windows 8 tablet if I get the chance.

  • http://Website Kud english

    More tablets means more competition and lower prices so that’s only going to be good for us users.

    But damn I wish they’d quit it with the low specs. My phone is more powerful than half the new tablets, why would I bother?

  • http://Website mil

    Personally I think the reason why Motorola, HTC etc are not selling much is because what they are offering are pretty poor compared to competition. Apple’s ipad2 and Samsung’s galaxy tab 10.1 are the only decent options. Until other manufacturers come up with similar or better specs then there’s no point. The tab 10.1 would be my preferred tablet of choice but there’s still lots of room for improvement such as inclusion of microSD card slot (this seems to have been dropped in Samsung’s tablet). Also, a better processor that has better video and audio codec support.

  • http://Website Jerbuckles

    IMHO it is carriers slowing the purchase of tablets, why buy a wifi version when you have a lap top, so 3 and 4G versions are nice, but you have to buy another plan in order to support it. If Consumers were able to add it to an existing unlimited plan I believe tablets would fly off the shelves. You spend 300-400$ on a smart phone plus your plan, now they want you to spend 400-800$ on a tablet and add another 30$ a month for a metered plan. Why…

  • http://Website heeros

    I would love to purchase an Android tablet. But for one, 10″ is just too big, and 7″ is not that much bigger than my phone, so I wouldn’t mind getting the 8.9″ samsung tablet.
    But my next problem is that the source code for honeycomb has not been released yet. I like the option of putting custom roms on my phone, why should I not have the same option on my tablet? So I’ll have to wait till “ice cream sandwich” is release before I get that option. I’m also fascinated with usb host support and would probably want at least 1 full size usb port on my android tab.

    but who knows if I’ll be able to resist the 8.9 samsung tablet once it’s released.

  • http://Website The_Omega_Man

    The purpose for Tables is not yet clearly understood by the consumers or by the CEMs. If the whole purpose is information consumption the iproducts have ALMOST nailed that niche. The Android camp is caught between general purpose computing and simple information consumption. And android tablet functionally does not compete with an iproduct and does NOT need to be priced competitively, unless that is the target demographic the CEMs are going for. The competition for the Android based Tablets is the Windows 7 or Rumored Windows 8 Tablet. These are workhorse tools, designed to get things done and to be productive. The Marketing by the CEMs and the Carriers needs to reflect this and emphasize the productivity aspects of these devices, or they will forever just be thought of as iproduct, “knock-offs and wannabes.”

    Hopefully the bigger players in the space will get it, the Dells, the Samsungs, the LGs, the Motorola’s, etc. Google can not afford to have another fiasco like this rushed out Honeycomb release. I believe it did more harm than market good. and the SDK was too late in getting into the hands of the developers to have sufficient number of “tablet optimized” Honeycomb apps available at launch time, to give the Xoom any kind of real marketing advantage. The tech press did not help much with the whole “Half Baked” moniker branded onto both the Xoom and to Honeycomb at time of release. Google did the right thing by not dumping 3.0 on to the open source domain, until it is really ready. Hopefully they are learning and striving to make Android a truly stable, reliable, fast, and functional system within the next release. That married with great and innovative hardware and PROPER Mainstream computing targeted marketing, will help differentiate the Android tablets from those other ones. And spark both industry and consumer interest on a world wide scale. I see a good hardware future for the likes of the ASUS Transformer type of platform. This provides portability, productivity, functionality and flexibility in a single system. To me this is the only kind of tablet computing device that makes sense going forward, for people that want and need to get real work done, and not just surf the web , occasionally send and read emails or watch TV/movies.

    • http://Website Math

      Google has stated that they will not release the sources of honeycomb and I doubt it being ready had anything to do with it (more likely contractual obligations).

      I think this is weird because of the fact this is a first for Android and that the whole point of releasing the sources is to get community help with fixing bugs which could only have helped the honeycomb experience.

      In any case, its done and its the only “other” tablet os so what can we do.

      • http://Website Jaymonster

        This is not a first for Android. Google did the same thing with 2.0 ( with similar gripng about it).

  • http://Website The_Omega_Man

    Oops, I meant Tablets not Tables in the first line! Grrr, there is no comment edit on this site!

  • http://Website Krumpli

    Went from TMO G1 to Galaxy tab 7in on ATT a month ago. For me best move I ever made. Screen size is perfect for navigation. SPEED is very good. Plenty of storage room. Battery life with heavy usage still makes it through the day. My complaints have nothing to do with Samsung. They all relate to what carrier did. This is similar for all USA carriers. I am not a big phone user. Have been using VOIP phone calling with a 75% acceptance factor on 3g and 100% acceptance on wifi.

  • http://Website THIS IS FRAGMENTATION


    • http://Website Jaymonster

      You are an idiot! There is nothing here that suggests fragmentation… other than your stupidity of course.

  • http://Website Alan

    I think a lot of these tablets were rushed out, so it’ll be nice to see one thats properly finished in the next few months. They all have some kind of issue, like the manufacturers are afraid to get them right. This is kind of the same thing that happened with iPods. They won the entire market because no one can be bothered to make something that legitimately competes with it.

  • http://Website Paul Atreides

    Go cheaper and more powerful than an ipad…just maybe that would work. I also once said they would have to market these things for everyday use and not mainly for entertainment here and there. None I’ve seen so far have the total package, including the apps. Google should of made one awesome tablet 1st, with a polished honeycomb and more robust tablet apps. Once they set the tone, then allow other companies to join the party like they did with the G1.

  • http://Website Math

    Apple has worked for years positioning themselves as the manufacturer of choice for niche products where people expect to pay more than for just “parts and labor”.

    HTC and Motorola do not have that aura about them. They have seen success on the phone front mostly because phones are subsidized. Almost nobody ever buys one of their phones off contract. Subsidized phones makes them appear as being value priced which is more compatible with most consumer’s mindset today.

    Tablets mostly do not come subsidized and so come to market with the price the manufacturer set forth and most of them obviously made the mistake of pricing them as premium devices, which they are not as their market is that of the dirt cheap netbooks and low-end laptops.

    That and googles track record for releasing beta quality software and letting long standing bugs, well… stand some more makes most tablets simply unattractive.

    Asus is one of the few manufacturers that gets it and they just so happen to come from the netbook and laptop market. And just look at their sales compared to those of Motorola.

  • http://Website AnAndroidGuy

    No they shouldn’t stop producing tablets, but it’s three things that needs to be done for Android tablets to take off:

    1. Google and manufacturers need to lure more developers in to make tablet specific apps. Apps will make or break Android tablets, and the lack thereof has so far broken Android’s tablet momentum

    2. Make the “with Google” branding mean something for tablets. There’s many different tablets out and half of them are junk. But instead of cracking down on tabs with awkward specs, just brand tablets that meet certain requirements with the “with Google” stamp of approval. For example Honeycomb tablets should have a certain screen size (10. 1″ seems to be manufacturers’ favorite) so that developers won’t have such a difficult time developing for multiple screens sizes, they can just code for branded tablets which would be the Android equivalent of devs coding for the iPad. Non branded devices would just run the risk of not guaranteeing all apps would run smoothly on that device.

    2. Stop trying to sell them on contracts and keep the prices low! Android is free software and tablet parts (XOOM) cost about $350. Stop being greedy by selling them for more than they’re worth. People don’t buy computers on contract, why would we buy tablets on contract?

    3. Marketing and visibility is key! Stop advertising only specs in commercials. It sounds geeky and the people you’re advertising to doesn’t know what any of this specs are so commercials begin falling on deaf ears. The average person don’t know what a 1.2 ghz dual core processor is, but they do know that after a while their device gets sluggish. Display how these specs are useful and how the user can benefit from them instead of just throwing them out there. And more importantly, stop comparing it to the iPad in your commercials, that’s just giving Apple free promo. Visibility is important as well. To customers browsing in Best Buy they won’t know the XOOM is an iPad competitor. Why? Because the iPad is in the mobile device department, while the XOOM is on the opposite end of the store surrounded by $300 netbooks. Not a good look for an $800 pilot device

    • http://Website AnAndroidGuy

      Oops, typo. Four things.. 1, 2, 3, 4

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/thegreenjacket rhY

    Netbooks are currently < $200 and do everything a tablet does.

    Sell a tablet that runs as well as a netbook for $300 for something they don’t need. There aren’t enough rich people around for that kind of splurge.

  • http://Website think big

    Main android tablets problems are services. Music store/video/books, GAMES and to own BEST are seling tips from fruit company. Owners of movies, games… wont to utilize their purches. So they buy new device.
    Currently there is too much similar products and to little ideas on software side.

  • http://Website CCaCasCaseCasey

    I agree with the article 100%. I am a huge android fanboi and closesly follow android central and phandroid, but this article was SUCH a good unbiased and realistic read I will definitely be returning to this site!

    As for the article itself, I believe the whole platform needs to run a bit smoother, throw in some cool animations and transitions (like ios) and android will overtake ios in ALL areas of the market. The devs need to keep developing and the oems must keep innovating and android will prevail!
    Great read guyes android Ftw!!!

  • http://Website Charles

    I too would like a Windows 8 tablet.

  • Prince77

    They need to slow down, to this day I really do not see the purpose of these tablets, unless it’s for work purposes. Other than that, what is the point?? I will continue to say, they are bigger than a smartphone and smaller than a laptop, that is fine and everything. But I will not be paying three different bills just to do what I can do on my cellphone and at home on my desktop/laptop.Why have a bill for your phone, tablet, desktop/laptop when you just really need two, which is your phone bill and all the data or whatever you paying for that and then your cable modem or DSL, that is all you need.

  • http://www.phonetipsandtricks.com Bryan Hunter

    So far the only use I can think of for a tablet is to surf the internet while i’m lying in bed or on the couch. Actually, that’s something I can do on my phone…

  • http://Website Robbie

    I think that apple tablets are meant to appeal to the masses, and if they keep mass appeal in mind they will sell a lot more. I also think that android tablets are a lot more versatile and customizable which in my book is a good thing. The android tablets also tend to be more powerful which is for sure a good thing

  • http://Website TuxDot

    I think more work needs to be put into the design and build of these tablets, I mean look at the Tab 10.1; the only things I ever saw anyone review badly about it are the lack of SDcard and the fact that Honeycomb is young. Otherwise, it was a great piece of hardware. Tablets are luxury items, so build them well. I’m perfectly fine with manufacturers jumping out of the tablet race if they can’t deliver a good experience to consumers; they’re dead weight, honestly.

  • http://Website TuxDot

    Also, I will never buy a Windows 8 tablet if they’re still building off a Win32/NT codebase. Windows 7 was what proved to me that Microsoft is starting to finally understand how to build a decent OS; but they honestly need to dump everything about Windows and start from scratch. They could make the next great operating system easily if they started working with clay instead of crap this time around.

  • http://Website 00 Gundam Meister

    The problem with the Android tablets as far as I can see breaks down into several areas.

    1. Honeycomb. It’s not ready for primetime yet. The Android team really needs to get in there and get all of these issues ironed out. Even 3.1 is better but not good enough. There are still too many Force Close happening & locking up of the OS. That is not acceptable.

    2. Apps. Where the heck are all the app developers? Where the heck are the apps? Google really needs to pay app developers to bring apps to the market. This is the one thing that is killing sales because what good is a tablet without any apps? Web apps are okay, but people do want the customized experience or the choice between apps & web apps.

    3. Cost. If you want to beat Apple, drop the price. $399 should be the baseline for any 16 GB tablet. Lower prices should be the goal. Even the iPad is too expensive for it’s very limited functionality.

    4. Ecosystem. We need a one stop shop for music, movies, TV, etc. Amazon is close but not quite there yet. Google needs to step up & get content deals or buy some music/movie/TV studios. They have the cash to make a splash. They need something to answer the iTunes ecosystem. This will make the tablet ecosystem thrive.

  • http://Website belinda

    agreed, the fragmentation is getting annoying!

  • http://Website Lucian Armasu

    Why are they surprised the sales haven’t been good? So far they’ve offered tablets that are either overspecced and way too expensive (Xoom) or underspecced and still expensive (Flyer).

    Now, I’m not saying all the manufacturers are at fault here. Google is, too. They should’ve focused a lot more on developers. They screwed up their chance because they wanted to rush Honeycomb to market, so they didn’t have time to get developers on board. I’d rather they waited until this summer to release a nicer, more stable Honeycomb, and give the SDK to developers at least 2-3 months earlier.

    It’s exactly what Apple did, and that’s why they had like 2000 apps, I believe, at launch. Without those apps, the iPad would’ve been a flop. Many people were alreay saying it’s just a big iPod touch, and didn’t see why they’d need that. They only started seeing its usefulness once they saw all the apps in the reviews.

    As for manufacturers slowing down, well I’d rather see them slow down to make some high quality and cheap tablets, rather then throw dozens of tablet models on the market and most of them crappy and expensive.

    Personally, I think the Android tablet market will start exploding when Tegra 3 ones arrive, and especially when Amazon launches their own tablets. They’ll take the market by storm, and then once again all the manufacturers will go crazy about it.

  • http://sylvaniaandroidtablet.net sylvania tablet

    whats this guys name?