Android tablet surge will be led by Google-Motorola, HP, Dell in '12

Android tablet surge will be led by Google-Motorola, HP, Dell in '12

Summary: Fear not, Android lovers. Google's Motorola Mobility's next generation tablet will commandeer Android's rightful place in the market and bring others such as HP and Dell back to the Android table


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?

Topics: Tablets, Android, Dell, Google, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Laptops, Mobility

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  • I'd hope so

    We have multiple Android Tablet makers and one iPad maker.

    Michael Alan Goff
    • A $250 Google Tablet

      I really want Google Motorola to release a good $250 tablet. That's what we really need.
      If they push for that $500 price point, I really see no need for it. Why do most people buy Android smartphones? Price! We're getting a pretty good phone at a price below what an iPhone would cost us.

      If they release yet another $500 tablet, no matter how good a few people believe it is, there's really no market for it. They're treading in water where there's very little room for yet another me-too tablet.
      • Yes and no

        The best selling Android Phones are high-end, so obviously people buy it for other reasons than "it's cheap".
        Michael Alan Goff
      • That isn't even true...

        The best selling Android Phones are in line with the 32 Gig iPhone 4s and tend to be 32 Gig models themself.
      • A good $250 tablet

        If you want to know how good an Android tablet you can build and sell for $250 look no further than The Kindle Fire. That's about as good as it gets for that price. Amazon is even selling the Fire at almost cost price because they expect to make up for it in sales of content later.
        Don't expect a $250 Android tablet to compete head on with the iPad.
        Garion DK
      • Cheap Motorola Tablet?

        What sort of quality and feature set can we expect from a $250 Googlerola tablet - especially one that is not tied to a huge revenue stream like Amazon's? For that price it will be cheaply made using cheap plastic, have a smaller, lower quality display that is not nearly as enjoyable to consume content on, and generally speaking will have little to attract customers besides a low price point.

        Meanwhile Apple is selling refurbished older models from $299! Every year Apple will continue to release a new generation iPad with cool features for competitors to try to copy, with ever increasing integration with the rest of the Apple product line and services. They'll also continue to offer the previous year's model (still far superior to competitors) at a lower price point.

        Apple is years ahead of competitors in technology, design and vision and they're now big enough to benefit from economies of scale far beyond their reach.

        I don't see this landscape changing unless a) Apple royally screws up or b) a truly game changing technology or business model emerges to compete with them. The first scenario is highly unlikely. The second scenario is ultimately inevitable (nothing lasts forever) but ZDNet writers are the last folks on the planet capable of predicting it.
      • Fallacy

        Several posters here have perpetuated a fallacy of Android. The larger size handsets are "more popular" which is true and false. It's true that the marque Android handsets are more popular as far as individual models go, but it's also false to say that they are more popular, since there are many more smaller, less well known Android phones sold than top-of-the line smartphones.

        Compare the dozens, or more like hundreds of models of PCs sold to the few Models of Macs sold. I could very easily claim "Macs are more popular than PCs" by the same metric, if I ignored the total volume and concentrated only on the popularity of the few individual models of Macs sold.

        The truth is that the vast majority of Android handsets are not really smartphones, they are feature phones that people buy to replace feature phones, use as feature phones, and never load up Apps (how I would define a smartphone is an App phone). They may use it for email or may only use it for texting and calling, but most never load up a single App!

        That is in stark contrast to the iPhone where there is about a 25billiion/315million = 79.3 or almost 80 App attach rate per iOS device sold, it actually might be higher now. You wonder why iOS developers make almost all the money made in mobile Apps? That's why.

        If you think that Android is going to be able to compete on Tablets. Think again:
        1. No carriers successfully selling large volumes of tablets. People do not like the idea of having to sign a long term contract to buy a tablet, and there is no history of large populations of users ever doing so. Phones are completely different from tablets in this case.
        2. No successful retail chain selling non-Apple tablets in high volume.
        3. No developers making a lot of money, no customers buying lots of Apps, few tablet apps, few reasons to buy a nearly App-less tablet.. this is a vicious circle, but it ties into reasons #1 and #2 above, plus the iOS App attach rate vs Android device App attach rate.

        The Android market is going nowhere until these issues are seriously faced and addressed. I see no evidence that these are even being acknowledged, let alone dealt with. As a result I see no reason to believe the Android tablet market will go anywhere. Any time in the near term, and long term future for the same reason.
      • Already in the works, might ship in May or June

        There are reports that Google has already contracted ASUS to make a competitor to the Kindle Fire. ASUS was the only one with the infrastructure and expertise to fulfill the contract.
    • Yeah

      And look how much that has helped Android in the tablet market so far ;-)
      Garion DK
  • more nails in M$ and apple mobile coffins

    HP and Dell are finally seeing the light by embracing FOSS.
    Soon we'll live in a world free of proprietary software....what a bright future!
    The Linux Geek
    • Tell me just what color is the sky in your world?

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
    • Bright future?

      Yes, FOSS has come a long way. It will meet the needs of most of the people most of the time. But there will always be special needs met only by proprietary software, so it will persist.
  • True

    One statement in this story is undeniably true: there is too much money in tablets for the rest o fthe market to stay away.

    As for the rest, I'm not so sure. Apple is a steamroller these days, and there's only one Android tablet within spittin' distance of the iPad 3 and that's the as of yet unavailable ASUS Tranformer Infinity. If you want a 10" tablet today I see little reason to go with anything other than the iPad 3.

    And, oh yeah... I'll eat my shoe if Android tablets are outselling the iPad within a year. And I say that as a happy Andoird tablet user.
    • You may see little reason.

      But there are those that see quite a few reasons. External storage? Standard connectors? No walled garden? Better integrated cloud services? Never any need for wired syncing (never)? Multiple App stores? Widgets? True Multitasking?....
      • features

        iOS devices never need any wired syncing. At this point it's actually a nice feature they have it as an option. Being able to back up your device with all settings and features to your computer is nice if you need it.
      • Which is more standard...

        The iPod/iPhone connector IS standard, and in fact is more standard than most USB cables.

        In the most important sense - I can go almost anywhere and know I can find a dock connector cable, or not even need it because so many things now (like hotel radios) have dock connectors built in!

        I'll bet there are some places I can buy a dock connector but not a USB cable...
      • No one cares...

        "External storage? Standard connectors? No walled garden?"
        For those who care, there are external storage solutions for iPads, and iPod Dock connector is ubiquitous for most people (any type of cable you need to buy is always new, if you are referring to mini HDMI. Few people have those before they need it???). And Walled Garden? Again, most people don't care - they go to the iTunes store and find what they want.
        Android talets will always appeal to the tech class, but for most people, the iPad offers them a much better experience, and throwing more specs at it will not change that.
      • These are the reasons why there will not be a successful Android Tablet

        No Walled garden = no money for developers
        No External Storage = cloud based storage is the future only its now!
        Better integrated Cloud Services = iCloud google Docs, mail etc is great web mail but not really very good - and does not work when you are not online!
        Neer need syncing = never able to upgrade Android to current version - most people are still on 2.3!
        Multiple app stores = no developer market, as in there is no money in developing Android applications - why there is not Android apps for most of the biggest iOS segments,
        Widgets = unsuccessful idea in Windows, OSX etc. real people do not use widgets!
        True Multitasking = battery hogging background apps you never know are killing all the resources and battery life of you cell phone?
        Get a life an realize that the only reason Android / Motorola every sold anything is because people needed something to sell against the iPhone, and as Apple has expanded their distribution Android has lost market share.
        Simply look at Verizon who was / is the owner of the Droid brand and the biggest US eller of Android phones (Motorola, Samsung and HTC) last quarter sold more iPhone 4S's than all the other Android phones combined!

        And the only company that sold any significant Android tablets did so by not telling anyone that it was running Android and by underpricing both Apple by selling at a loss of each unit sold - Amazon!
      • Wow

        You really think Apple's undoing will be competing products' support for last decade's technologies? I guess we can look back and see that legacy support for floppy disks and parallel ports are what defined today's technology leaders.
      • Some reasons.

        Jail break it and you get more app stores and more options.
        Multitasking is better on the iPad because it does not suck bettery life (IMO).
        Wired syncing is an option, iOS has had OTA syncing for about a year now.
        iOS has by far the best App Store and best update strategy.

        Can you explain how Android has the better integrated cloud services...I really would like to know.

        Widgets...each to his own.