Is there a viable market for tablets other than the iPad?

Is there a viable market for tablets other than the iPad?

Summary: I believe I am not alone with my affinity for the tablet, but when it comes to hard numbers there haven't been any to indicate that there is a sizable market for any tablet outside the iPad.

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Regular readers of this blog know my affinity for the tablet. I like using them, I find they fit my life very well and it's a common site to see me with one tablet or another in my hands. I believe that I am not alone with my preference for the slate, but when it comes to hard numbers there haven't been any to indicate that there is a sizable market for any tablet other than the iPad.

Samsung got some traction last year with the global release of the Galaxy Tab, but the sales numbers bandied about for this tablet were called into question. I don't remember seeing any hard proof that Samsung has sold millions of the Galaxy Tab as originally indicated. This is my tablet of preference, so I think it's possible Samsung has sold a lot of them, but I have seen no proof of that.

The Motorola XOOM was the first big tablet to hit the market with the Android Honeycomb operating system optimized for tablets. It was released with a big advertising campaign in the U. S., so if any non-iPad tablet should have created a splash it should have been the XOOM. Analysts are painting a very grim picture for sales of the XOOM, so it doesn't look like it has proven there is a real market for an Android tablet.

There are a lot of other Android tablets getting ready for market, and the HP webOS-based TouchPad is too. These follow on the heels of the BlackBerry PlayBook, which is aimed at the enterprise. While these are happy times for a tablet fanboy like me, there is simply no hard proof that there is a market for any of these tablets, no matter what some analysts may predict. The only tablet that has been proven in the market is the iPad, both first and second generation, and its success is driving the rest of the industry to try and cash in. I hope they do, but it's not a given it will happen.

Topics: iPad, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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30 comments
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  • RE: Is there a viable market for tablets other than the iPad?

    Of course there is, the market is just now starting to grow and expand... More people will see cheaper options and buy into them...

    Companies like Samsung and Asus will be able to match or beat the pricing of Apple and that along with friends who bought these alternatives will push them over the top.

    Crud, I had a guy from work call me and ask me which Tablet I have... I told him the XOOM and he asked me how I liked it... I said, it's great, I love it! He said, I'm going to buy one.

    Why does this matter? Because he isn't technical but he doesn't appreciate Apple's heavy handed approach to managing their ecosystem.
    slickjim
    • RE: Is there a viable market for tablets other than the iPad?

      Peter, you must still be sleepy.
      CowLauncher
    • RE: Is there a viable market for tablets other than the iPad?

      @Peter Perry
      "he isn't technical but he doesn't appreciate Apple's heavy handed approach to managing their ecosystem."

      This is a technical argument, so how much coaching did your non-technical friend get to draw his conclusion?

      Ah, you object: it's not technical, he just hates iTunes. Sorry, he wouldn't understand what an "ecosystem" is in this context unless he understood the various content delivery mechanisms and their alternatives, and whether Apple's approach is good or bad--hint: it's not bad--unless he was somewhat savvy.

      Or your putting words in his mouth, which is some more coaching.
      credulousDolt
      • Another option

        His friend worded it one way, and he worded it differently (same message) for here.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Is there a viable market for tablets other than the iPad?

        @credulousDolt None that I know of, he said he talked himself out of the Apple.
        slickjim
    • @Peter Perry... you get funnier with each post

      You are indeed the new Mike Cox (or is that you Mike with a new routine and schtick?)

      Keep up the good work. We all need a good laugh each day.
      MacCanuck
      • RE: Is there a viable market for tablets other than the iPad?

        @MacCanuck I am no relation to Mike Cox, I don'y hide behind aliases...

        Apparently you find reality funny though as you call me names and say I am inaccurate and then fail to provide proof that I'm wrong and yet people should take your word for it.

        Shouldn't you be patriotic and supporting RIM anyway?
        slickjim
      • RE: Is there a viable market for tablets other than the iPad?

        @MacCanuck

        He's NonZealot.
        msalzberg
      • RE: Is there a viable market for tablets other than the iPad?

        @msalzberg I am not nonzealot either... Again, I do not hide behind aliases.

        Of course I have never read their posts either or but it appears I have gotten alot of zealots attention as they all hate me!
        slickjim
  • Don't call a winner at the start of the race

    This space is still in its infancy, it's way to early to call a winner. iPad beat everyone to the game and had that excitement and frenzy, but Android, and particularly the Honeycomb OS have a lot of practical applications for enterprise. It's no wonder Xoom isn't doing well, there aren't more than a hand full of Honeycomb apps. Give it time.
    mutualmobile
  • RE: Is there a viable market for tablets other than the iPad?

    Yes. Once manufacturers realize they must produce good tablets that cost substantially less than the iPad. Barnes and Noble's Nook is the only other viable tablet competition for the iPad right now.
    ckantack
  • Variety is key

    I think there is definitely a market for android and webOS so long as they innovate and create variety on the hardware side of things. I bought the ipad and ipad2 and I would go out and buy an android tablet right away if it had honeycomb, a price around $400, and a 7 inch screen.
    toltz
  • RE: Is there a viable market for tablets other than the iPad?

    I think the Lenovo tablet will make a big splash in the Enterprise world. I think RIM has basically lost its hold on the Enterprise device market and much of that market share will be picked up by Lenovo, who excel at making great functional business-quality products.
    swmace
  • There's room for all.

    Obviously, the iPad will lead the pack for a while, but that doesn't mean it will be the only one making big numbers in the tablet game. Today is a prime example with how fast the ASUS eee Pad Transformer sold out everywhere. Give the market time.
    Bates_
  • RE: Is there a viable market for tablets other than the iPad?

    Of course there is. That's like asking: "Is there a viable market for PCs other than WindowsOS?" But for now the iPad is the gold standard. It's good to see that the competition is starting to wake up and (hopefully) catch up. I like the new Sony offerings just announced (especially the S2 because it puts a new spin on the form factor).
    toestor
  • No. You have all these developers writing for Android tablets

    but nobody really buying them in any great quantity.

    in about 6 months alot of development will drop away from Android tablets, so that won't help it either
    Will Farrell
    • RE: Is there a viable market for tablets other than the iPad?

      @Will Farrell Not going to happen, they're converging the ecosystem and standardize aspect ratios so you can write for the phones and scale to the tablets.
      slickjim
      • RE: Is there a viable market for tablets other than the iPad?

        @Peter Perry <br><br>In other words, they're taking the lazy uninspired route by scaling up apps built for a small 3.5 or 4 inch phone to tablets? 10" inche tablets? If there's no desire to make apps specifically for Android/Honeycomb tablets then there will be no tablet market to compete. Developers are just as important to the success of these alternative tablets as users. If the'se no developer interest then there's no user interest (and vise versa). Apps are the main driver to these devices, as well as the user experience.<br><br>And why would I want a wonky blown-up phone app for a tablet experience with enlarged and stretched out buttons when I could get one built specifically for the iPad size instead?
        dave95.
  • Err...

    Well the Android Tablets don't seem to be "catching the world on fire", but what else is there?

    Windows Tablets have been around forever, and never gained traction - Maybe Windows 8? Maybe, but I actually don't think so. The appeal of the iPad is how "un-computer" it actually is, I don't see how Microsoft can make Windows 8 very iPad like without alienating their core market (which is FAR larger than the market of "iPad like devices"). Maybe they can, but I find it hard to conceptualise what such a system would look like.

    The Playbook is an utter mess - we can forget that.

    Thus far that leaves HP's webOS [SIC] and this seems to be the most interesting device since the iPad. Here the challenge isn't to take a PC and make it "iPad light", rather scale up something like an iPad into a "full PC". I think their chances are rather better (no legacy).

    So of what we've seen I think the HP holds the most promise (of the non-Apple tablets). Of course, we can't discount the notion that someone will be able to conjure a completely new "magical device" out of a hat and amaze us all... But then you never can.

    At the moment Apple seem secure, with only webOS on the horizon to offer any real competition. For all our sakes, let's hope HP don't drop the ball (even as a current iPad user, I can see competition is good).
    jeremychappell
    • I disagree. I think Windows 8 will be a competitor

      @jeremychappell
      in the future, but the near future, I agree with you, Apple is secure. I don't see WebOS gaining over Android as it doesn't have the mind share that Android does, and you're right, it isn't catching the world on fire itself.

      What will be most interesting will be overall tablet sales in the next 6 months. Will it have the same uptake as phones, or will it level off much earlier given the nature of the tablet factor itself?
      Will Farrell