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Crappy Manufacturers And Pricing Are Killing Androids Tablet Chances

Eric McBride
4

Yeah I said it. Now to be fair, there are some damn good Android tablets on the market right now. I'm the proud owner of a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (the one currently banned here in Germany..thanks Apple) and I can honestly say it's one of the best purchases I ever made. Sony and Motorola have also made some fantastic tablet offerings that show Androids true sexiness, and later on I'll show you what I mean in some video reviews. So what's the problem? Why are Android tablets not where they should be in terms of sales? I'll sum that up for you in one sentence: Craptastic tablet offerings flooding the market and Google allowing them to use their software (that's still just once sentence right? **ponders**).

I'm gonna go on a bit of a rant here because this is one issue that really personally bothers me, and it's a shame because it's an issue that could be easily rectified. As you probably know, CES is currently going on and will be debuting lots of new Android tablets, and 2012 in general will be a big year for tablets, as everyone wants a piece of Ice Cream Sandwich and quad core processors. This is a great thing, and yet a horrible thing, as there are simply too many absolutely craptastical Android tablets available to consumers, and it makes the good offerings look rare and far in between. And I'm sorry to say this, but a lot of this is the big G's fault.

Lets look at this from a CONSUMER point of view (something not NEARLY enough companies do these days). If someone walks into a store with the thought of purchasing or possibly purchasing a tablet, there's already a good chance that the iPad is on their mind. That's naturally due to it being so mainstream and public. I guarantee you that when 9 out of 10 people see me in public with my tablet, they think I'm using an iPad. So maybe they are suprised to walk into a store and see all these other tablet choices laying around right? Their reaction is probably "wow, look at this? So many tablets! Maybe the iPad isn't the best one! Let me look around“. And here's where the purchasing decision already starts to go in Apples favor.

Times are hard economically for everyone, and everyone wants to snatch up a deal when possible. So where does that consumer look first on that massive isle of Android tablets? Why he starts at the cheap ones of course, and from the moment he picks it up, he immediately notices its obvious flaws. The screen is dim, the build quality feels cheap, it's bulky, it's shape is wonky, and so on and so on. Then he turns it on to find an OS that's actually booming with potential. Sadly, that potential is covered up under some cheap 3rd party skin/wrapper ( Sense and Touchwiz, I'll let you both slide...for now) and an interface so laggy that simply swiping homescreens is a disaster.

At this point, the consumer is already thinking 2 things: 1. "WTF"...and 2. "This isn't what I'm looking for at all". Then what does he do? He looks at the middle range of tablets in the 200-300 price range and finds a SLIGHTLY better experience. And now it happens...

At this point, if he's a bit tech savvy and trusts in big brand names and quality, he'll move to the more pricey tablets that are from well known manufacturers. He already has a taste of the crappy "Android“ experience that he had from those cheap tablets in his mouth. So he pics up a good tablet and plays with it to find that "this one is definetly better, faster, feels good, nice shape, and runs well“. But then he looks at the price. "Wow....that's pretty expensive. I really like this one, but let me have a look at the iPad before I make a decision".

And then what happens? He walks over to an iPad to find a couple of things: 1. The OS looks almost identical on EVERY MODEL of the iPad. 2. All of them run fast and zippy, and are on first use much easier to figure out. 3. The build quality is great. 4. And last but not least, they are all almost all CHEAPER than Androids high end tablets. He then most likely walks out of the store with a locked down, but user friendly and "cheaper“ iPad that is easy to use and does everything he wants it to. And then he shares that experience with all his friends that are considering buying tablets.

@Google. I LOVE what you guys have done with Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich. They have made my tablet into something that I couldn't live a day without, and I thank you for that. I know its potential, and that's why an iPad to me would never even be a buying option for me personally. But Androids "it's free..you can have it, skin, and damn near make it into an Android tablet that's BARELY AN ANDROID TABLET ANYMORE" mentality is killing its chances of becoming a major contentor in the tablet market.

Android to me should represent quality, and by letting everyone and anyone use it the way they want, it's simply moving the majority of consumers in the wrong direction. I BEG YOU to reconsider who you let use this wonderful thing called Android. I don't mean to lock it down like IOS, but just consider that if you wouldn't use it yourself personally, DON'T LET SOMEONE ELSE PUT IT IN THE HANDS OF CONSUMERS. And please for the love of God...lets get the pricing on the good Android tablets a bit more competitive? I know alot of people over here in Europe who wanted to buy a Xoom when it first came out. But that 700 euro price tag pushed them right into the Apple store.

End of rant. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand....discuss!

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    Christopher Silva Jan 9, 2012 Link

    This is an interesting rant.

    1. Android is open source. That means anyone can throw it on anything.
    Do we really want to change that? If yes then we have, well, ---Apple.

    2. Marketing from the quality Android Talet producers has left a lot to be desired.
    Samsung marketed their Note more than their recent Tablets. Of course this
    may be due to the courtroom fun between Samsung and Apple.

    3. Not everyone has a lot of money, and especially in developing countries like
    Africa, a cheap android tablet can still make a difference.

    I hope that the consumer understands the above point and maybe Goog should market / Sale these points.

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  • Eric McBride Jan 9, 2012 Link

    HI Chris!

    All good points, as usual :-D. I still think that there needs to be some quality control though. Yes, low end tablets for developing countries and people who cant shell out big bucks for a tablet is a great idea, but not if they are putting out devices that damages what Android is actually capable of.

    And what you said about marketing hits it on the head. To me its one of Androids biggest setbacks, and its lack of marketing is really hurting in terms of tablets.

    But this year is looking good for cheaper tablets coming from good manufacturers, and if it continues going in this direction things could really be looking up.

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  • Brennan Yamamoto Jan 10, 2012 Link

    Applying ANY control measures on android will completely defeat the purpose of it. Android is an open sourced operating system, it's not the same as iOS, so stop trying to fool yourself into thinking that every single android based device on the market should be a high quality premium piece of hardware. The simple fact that cheap android device can be manufactured in the first place speaks volumes. Yes, andoid has fragmentation issues, yes, people may be fooled by lower quality handsets, yes manufacturers can skin and edit android to any method of their choosing...but if you think for a second that it should be any different, then you obviously don't understand the philosophy of OPEN SOURCE.

    Whats even MORE ironic is that youre singling out quality control problems in android TABLETS, which run Honeycomb, which is the ONLY version of Android to date which has not been open sourced. Coincidence?

    Yes, there will always be fragmentation problems, ICS will not fix that, but we need to stop blaming google for faults that lie with the hardware manufacturers. Yes, I don't like third party skins any more than you do, but they're absolutely necessary for the survival of the operating system. Trying to ADD more control over the distribution of the operating system will only make things worse (Honeycomb has proven that) , if you need more proof of that fact, but look at windows phone. An absolutely excellent operating system, will extensive quality control measures...and look how well they're doing. If someone is turned away from EVERY SINGLE ANDROID DEVICE ON THE MARKET just because they had a bad experience with a single cheap end device, well, no wonder they're using apple.

    Sorry for the flame, but stop complaining that android needs more control. It doesn't work, and it's completely against the philosophy of what makes android so huge in the first place.

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  • Eric McBride Jan 10, 2012 Link

    HI Brennan,

    No need to say sorry. Thats what we re here for..to discuss! :-D

    Yes, Android is open source, yes fragmentation is a huge issue, yes it cant be locked down like IOS..BUT..and its a big but..theres a huge difference between a CHEAP tablet and a CRAPPY tablet. I for one am all for seeing CHEAPER good quality tablets, but Im dead set against seeing CRAP tablets.

    Do this one day if you get a chance: go into your local electronic store and go to the tablet section. You ll most likely see A LOT of them. Spend exactly 1 minute with each Android tablet and tell me which ones were good, and which ones were bad. Honeycomb is NOT the issue here. Manufacturers are! And the numbers dont lie: tablet sales are failing, and manufacturers and pricing are 2 of the main reasons why. (marketing is another huge one :-D)

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hi from Slovenia