One of the beauties of Google's Android platform is the diversity of smartphones, and soon, tablets, to fit every customer preference, as opposed to Apple's "our-good-taste-fits-everyone" approach.
Still, a Platonic Ideal of an Android tablet does exist, judging by the results of a Zogby International poll put out Wednesday and sponsored by Sybase.
According to the 2,100 American adults surveyed, the tablet would have the same 10-inch screen as the iPad, have a ton of readily available apps, and cost less than $300 - after carrier contracts (more on this later).
The survey also showed a significant number of Americans interested in Android tablets (23%) and in using tablets as laptop replacements for work or fun (one in four).
Many respondents also expressed more trust in tablets made by a laptop or notebook manufacturer (good news for HP, Dell and Asus) and less trust in tablets made by vendors better-known for their smartphones (not-such-good news for LG, Samsung and Motorola).
Here's some of the detailed data:
- Not only would 23% of Americans buy an Android-based tablet, but half of Android phone owners said they would buy an Android tablet. Considering how fast Android smartphone sales are growing - IDC predicted recently that Android will be #2 ahead of iPhone and BlackBerry globally by the end of this year - this brand loyalty could be a huge boon for Android tablet makers.
- One in four Americans expect their employers to provide access to tablets in the enterprise.
- Tablets make employees more creative, efficient and better problem solvers, said respondents.
- While the largest group of respondents (40%) said they didn't care whether a tablet came from a smartphone or laptop maker, the second-largest percentage (29%) said they would trust one more if it was made by a laptop maker. 24% weren't sure, while 7% preferred one from a smartphone maker.
- 56% said they'd rather buy a tablet with a wireless data contract at a lower price rather than pay more without a contract.
- How low of a price? 29% said their ideal price for a tablet would be under $300. Considering their apparent willingness to pay $20-40 a month for a data contract, this gives manufacturers some key wiggle room. For instance, they could build a $600 tablet that they primarily intend to be sold through carriers for $300.
- Bigger is not always better. 50% preferred a tablet with a 9-10 inch screen (good news for the Toshiba Folio 100 and the ViewSonic ViewPad 100) while 26% preferred the 12-inch version. The 7-inch form factor came in 3rd - surprising, perhaps, considering the excitement around the 7-inch Samsung Tab. The 5-inch form factor, represented in real life by the Dell Streak, garnered the least interest.
- Customers love apps, of course. But it also turns out that many of them (33%) also want a real keyboard with their tablet. Isn't that what those convertible touchscreen Windows laptops that never took off were? Yes, but there were two key differences: Windows, and the use of pens/styluses rather than true finger-based multi-touch.
As per my strong bias, customers don't care about videoconferencing or a camera.
So what would your ideal Android tablet include and how much would it cost?