Our Android tablet experiment has failed miserably

Summary:When it comes to Android tablets, we've gone with high-end devices with the Samsung Galaxy Tab and downright Bodega with the Maylong M-150 for $99. They all fail.

When it comes to Android tablets, we've gone with high-end devices with the Samsung Galaxy Tab and downright Bodega with the Maylong M-150 for $99.

The verdict: Android tablets are a big FAIL.

First up, we were looking forward to the Galaxy Tab as a device that could give Apple's iPad a run. The rub: The hardware is nice, the software integration is so-so at best and the price just isn't right.

Jason Perlow's money line about the Tab:

It feels like a really big smartphone, and the Android 2.2 UI even with Samsung’s tweaks lends itself to the user feeling like they aren’t using something that was really designed to run on this form factor.

This is in stark contrast to the iPad’s iOS, which was originally derided for being just a big iPod Touch or a giant iPhone, and is actually more optimized to the target device despite originating as a smartphone operating system.

OK, so $600 is way too high for the Tab. At $300 you'd put up with the flaws. Pricing is everything for Android tablets.

So clearly a lower price---say $99---would make us a little less picky about an Android tablet. Right?

Enter Perlow and the Bodega tablet. Go to Walgreens and for $99 you have an Android tablet.

Unfortunately, you get what you pay for. Perlow notes:

For $99.00, you really don’t expect and shouldn’t expect much from a tablet device. I do, however, actually expect the thing to work, albeit in a mediocre fashion. However, I don’t even want to call this device mediocre because it’s worse than mediocre, it barely functions at all.

Now what?

We've gone to the bottom of the barrel and the alleged top. The Android tablets are all lacking. Perhaps Barnes & Noble's Nook Color saves the day, but we're not hopeful.

As a result, I'd advise you to wait a generation on the Android tablets. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang basically said the same thing last week. Android tablets just aren't ready to tackle the iPad. He said:

We know at this point that the projects that we’re working on, particularly in the tablets, have taken longer than we expected. And it’s taken longer than we expected by a few months. But the important thing is that you can’t just build a tablet. You can’t just put an operating system on a tablet and hope that — on a piece of glass and hope that you’re going to compete against the iPad. The iPad is a wonderful product. And if you’re going to give that wonderful product a run for its money, you better build something absolutely exquisite.

Until something exquisite comes along at the right price you're better off staying away from the Android tablets.

Topics: Android, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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