Apple and Microsoft are getting all the ink in the tablet wars these days but no doubt Android tablets will be matching if not outselling iPads within a year or so.
People seem to forget that Google is the new owner of Motorola Mobility and plans to release a Xoom-like tablet running Android 4.X sometime in mid 2012, company chairman Eric Schmidt has said publicly.
I have no doubt it will be a game changer. The Xoom and Xoom 2 are pretty nice but they never lived up to the expectations against the iPad the way its sibling Android Droid smartphones quickly outpaced Apple's iPhone.
Google did not spend more than $12 billion to spice up the Droid. The Internet software giant spent the money -- reluctantly becoming a hardware vendor -- to make its open source OS as successful in the tablet market as Android is in the smartphone market.
I also predict that Google's tablet success will bring HP and Dell to the Android table.
One HP source told me that the HP's Slate 2 does not support Andoid but that the company has a plan to release a product that is similar to the iPad and that runs Android.
Dell abandoned its Streak5 and 7 tablets (it still sells accessories) but I think the company simply took advantage of the lull in the Android market to go back to the drawing board and produce a better iPad rival.
There's simply too much demand and too money to be made. Here's how one irritated but loyal Dell customer expressed his view on the Direct2Dell forum:
"In the tablet section u do not have the Streak 5 or 7 available & ur sales team r not sure when it will be available again..... When I spoke to ur sales team about the lack of options in the phones segment, he said that is because Dell is a Computer Manufacturing Company. How come u do not have tablets then? Why r u not keeping upto date with technology. All u have for the home users are laptops & desktops. how many home users prefer desktops today?"
Some have already seen some nice uptick in Android tablet sales, such as Amazon with its Kindle Fire.
Other Android tablet vendors Samsung, Asus, Sony, Toshiba, LG, Acer and others will benefit from the spike in sales of Android 4.X tablets. Each has a unique offering that fills a niche. Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 is very sleek. I like the Asus Eee Pad -- it makes the conversion from netbook to tablet smoother for keyboard lovers like me.
Android backers may be a little disheartened by Google's stumble out of the gate but it's debut of Android 4.X and its big investment in Motorola Mobility should put to rest any notion that the open source OS is out of the running. Quite the contrary.
It's just a matter of some quick hardware development and snazzy marketing -- and maybe a new name.
Motorola Nexus? NexusPad? DroidPad? Motorola Tab?