Linked by David Adams on Tue 20th Dec 2011 06:06 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless 2011 will go down in the history books as a great year for tablets mostly for Apple's iPad however, not all tablet vendors fared as well as Apple. It's not for lack of products that prevented Android tablets from taking any market share away from Apple this year. By our calculation, over 100 tablets were introduced since the iPad however, we defy even the most tech-savvy of you to name more than a few of them. What was so wrong with the competition that it failed to make any inroads in the tablet market, at least until the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook came along?
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Still waiting...
by broken_symlink on Tue 20th Dec 2011 06:40 UTC
broken_symlink
Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm still waiting for the perfect 7in. android tablet. I want something with 1280x800 resolution, microsd slot, at least 16gb storage, dual core 1ghz minimum, 1gb ram, microusb port, and bluetooth. The ideal price for me is $299.

I've considered a galaxy tab 7 plus, but the lack of microusb is a deal breaker for me. I've also considered a kindle fire, but no microsd is a no go.

I'm strongly considering getting a 7in. toshiba thrive, although its a little more expensive than I would like. The nook tablet would be ideal if only the bootloader were unlocked...

Those are the things that are personally keeping me from buying an android tablet. I recently came across this link http://www.spemall.com/Tablet-PC_c.html they seem to have a bunch of generic android tablets for cheap.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Still waiting...
by Pro-Competition on Wed 21st Dec 2011 01:15 UTC in reply to "Still waiting..."
Pro-Competition Member since:
2007-08-20

Have you looked at the Nook Tablet? The screen resolution is only 1024x600 and it has no Bluetooth, but it has the MicroUSB and MicroSD, dual-core, WiFi, 1GB RAM, and 16GB storage (not all user accessible, of course). And it's only $249.

I've been thinking hard about it myself. I would probably root it and use a custom ROM.

(There is speculation that the chipset probably supports Bluetooth, but that there is no antenna for it. Apparently this was the case for the Nook Color, and when the custom ROMs came out, they were able to get Bluetooth working, but only for very short distances. Something to consider.)

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Still waiting...
by broken_symlink on Wed 21st Dec 2011 01:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Still waiting..."
broken_symlink Member since:
2005-07-06

I have. There are no custom roms for the nook tablet though, because the bootloader is locked. B&N also recently disabled the ability to sideload apps, so you can only install apps you get through their app store.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Still waiting...
by chemical_scum on Wed 21st Dec 2011 21:14 UTC in reply to "Still waiting..."
chemical_scum Member since:
2005-11-02

I just bought my wife one of the much maligned cheap Android 2.3 "tablets". A Nextbook 8 Premium, Its hardware specs are relatively basic; 1 GHz ARM processor, 512 Mb RAM, 4Gb storage with micro USB, a micro SD slot and a 8 in. capacitive screen. It is really just an extended eBook reader. But it is fast and intuitive to use. In addition she can browse the web using WiFi and the Webkit based browser that comes with Android (a better experience than I expected), read her email, view videos (YouTube runs smoothly), take pictures and listen to her favourite music as well as reading ebooks. As for apps so far I have installed Overdrive for her so she can borrow ebooks free from our public library. She is keen to try some other apps as well, like one that will do web radio. She couldn't care less about games.

It might not compare to an iPad or be the perfect small Android tablet but at about a third the price of an iPad, it is a very useful and competent little device that meets her needs exactly.

Reply Score: 3

Doh!
by kragil on Tue 20th Dec 2011 07:16 UTC
kragil
Member since:
2006-01-04

The price.
If the Xoom had been 199 from the start it would have been a big hit.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Doh!
by Sodki on Tue 20th Dec 2011 09:24 UTC in reply to "Doh!"
Sodki Member since:
2005-11-10

The price.
If the Xoom had been 199 from the start it would have been a big hit.


It's true. I wouldn't mind buying an slightly inferior Android tablet if it was cheap. It just had to be good enough for my needs. What I see now is multiple Android tablets and most of them more expensive than the iPad 2, which is considered the gold standard. No way the Androids will win the tablet wars at that price...

Reply Score: 6

Kindle Fire and Nook Collor
by shotsman on Tue 20th Dec 2011 07:39 UTC
shotsman
Member since:
2005-07-22

Once again two pretty hot devices are not sold into a market that is bigger than the US. I can understand B&N but Amazon? Really. I've just looked on their UK site. Nada. nowt, Zilch.

Is it any wonder that the Ipad2 is such a success.
Yes I'm ignoring the devices sold by Samsung(See title). At least they are trying to sell theirs here.

Reply Score: 3

err.. could it simply be quality?
by project_2501 on Tue 20th Dec 2011 08:29 UTC
project_2501
Member since:
2006-03-20

I am by no means a fan of the Apple walled garden model .. but I simply do not want to part with hard earned money on Android tablets that:

* look and feel like cheap plastic
* where the UI is butt ugly
* the app market may be bigger but "feels" like its mostly full of junk (I emphasise feels)
* all the significant 3rd parties will make their products work with Apple - whether its HiFi systems, newspaper apps, automated fridges, whatever. I just an advert on tele for a kids art package for a tablet - it wasn't an Android.

...

It's the same with the phones too - great hardware in some cases .. but the OS looks and feels cobbled together.

WebOS tablets and phones anyone? ...

Reply Score: 8

No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

Have you seen the Asus and Samsung models? They don't exactly look cheap. Then again, they aren't cheap.

But of course, Market is still crap and all corporations make products for Apple gadgets since they've noticed the <strike>fanboys</strike> media will do advertising for free. Ever seen a tech blog mention a new set of headphones on the market? Of course not. Unless it's made for Apple, of course. Then it's, you know, "news".

Reply Score: 4

leos Member since:
2005-09-21

But of course, Market is still crap and all corporations make products for Apple gadgets since they've noticed the fanboys media will do advertising for free. .


Not even close. The apple peripherals market exploded because there were a few consistent models to target, and, more importantly, Apple provides an amazing hardware interface for accessory makers. This info is only available under NDA, but the stuff you can do with accessories for Apple devices totally blows everything else out of the water. That's why there are a billion "Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad" devices out there and the ecosystem is thriving.

Reply Score: 2

No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

Bullshit. Making quality headphones for different brands of phones is trivial, yet the market for "made for iPhones" is flooded ("thriving") and finding something suitable for use with an Android phone is fairly difficult. You can't really explain that with Apple being oh so great and all hail the saviour St. Jobs.

Reply Score: 4

Yoko_T Member since:
2011-08-18

Bullshit. Making quality headphones for different brands of phones is trivial, yet the market for "made for iPhones" is flooded ("thriving") and finding something suitable for use with an Android phone is fairly difficult. You can't really explain that with Apple being oh so great and all hail the saviour St. Jobs.


Fact is that a headphone for a Android phone is pretty much *A GENERIC 2.5/3.5mm {CELLPHONE} HEADPHONE*

You can also use .99 cent to $300.00 headphones with a Android phone just like you can with most MP3 players.

Hell, for the most part they *ARE* the same headphones.

Reply Score: 1

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Not even close. The apple peripherals market exploded because there were a few consistent models to target, and, more importantly, Apple provides an amazing hardware interface for accessory makers. This info is only available under NDA, but the stuff you can do with accessories for Apple devices totally blows everything else out of the water. That's why there are a billion "Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad" devices out there and the ecosystem is thriving.


A standardised "dock" connector was a stroke of genius for Apple, especially since it's used on everything from the lowly iPod Classic to the newest iPhone 4S and every iDevice in between. Having something similar for Android devices would be nice.

It's too bad that the phone vendors have viewed this as a potential cash cow where they can sell their own peripherals instead of creating a peripherals economy around their devices. Just look at the many failed (proprietary) "dock" connectors from Sony, Samsung, Motorola, etc.

And, now that micro-USB and mini-HDMI ports appear on every phone, there's no real need for a specific "dock" connector. Anything you can do over the Apple "dock" connector can be done over either USB or HDMI. All the phone vendors (or better, Google) need to do is mandate that these two ports are always located together on the same side of the device, are always recessed X mm from the case, are always Y mm apart, etc and voila! A "dock" connector is born!

After that, everyone and their dog can create docks, mounts, and sundry other peripherals, since the "micro-USB + mini-HDMI" connectors will always be accessible together.

Alas, I fear that Google does not have that balls to add something like that to the "Android Compliant" certification process (not that such a thing exists); nor do any two phone vendors want to work together on such a thing.

Edited 2011-12-21 22:57 UTC

Reply Score: 3

I have a need for a tablet
by RawMustard on Tue 20th Dec 2011 09:11 UTC
RawMustard
Member since:
2005-10-10

But None of them are what I want. If I didn't mind being told what I can and can't do with my own property, then I would probably just get whatever's going. I want a tablet that I can install my own OS on, be it Linux, Windows, or whatever. I want to run what I want to run and configure it how I want. If I want java I can install Java, if I want Python I can install Python, if I want .not then I can install .not err I mean .nEt. if I want mplayer well you get the picture. And I want it to be quality at a fair price!

Oh and I don't want Carrier IQ rooted on the thing!

Am I asking too much?

Reply Score: 3

RE: I have a need for a tablet
by daedliusswartz on Tue 20th Dec 2011 09:39 UTC in reply to "I have a need for a tablet"
daedliusswartz Member since:
2007-05-28

You are, for the mass market, which is what matters.

The mass market needs a vertical stack that helps them to live their lives.

People shouldn't have to for the most part think about "how" to use a device. It should be natural, intuitive, consistent and reliable.

Apps extend the device, but that in iself is within a defined boundary (i.e. a standardised API and hardware). They do not need to waste their time installing component after component. They should be focusing on what the app can do, not how it can do it.

They need a consistent experience and Android at this time doesn't provide that, though they are getting better.

If you do not believe me, consider why Android OEMs are trying to be more like Apple.

Reply Score: 4

Earl C Pottinger Member since:
2008-07-12

But clearly they are not doing as good a job as Apple's walled garden model.

The answer to me is to go the complete opposite, open their machines so users can do the things they can't do on Apple's hardware.

Remember the first reason microcomputers took off was that users were able to do stuff on them that they could not get done on the big iron of the time.

Many of my personal uses of computers can not be done on an Apple tablet, but runs fine on my net-book. It is not a matter of CPU power but how flexible the over-all environment is.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: I have a need for a tablet
by Stephen! on Tue 20th Dec 2011 19:19 UTC in reply to "RE: I have a need for a tablet"
Stephen! Member since:
2007-11-24

People shouldn't have to for the most part think about "how" to use a device.


People having to think is good exercise for the brain.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: I have a need for a tablet
by arpan on Tue 20th Dec 2011 21:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I have a need for a tablet"
arpan Member since:
2006-07-30

People having to think is good exercise for the brain.


Good UI design means that the app works intuitively, so that the user is able to accomplish what he/she is trying to do without wasting time wondering why your app isn't doing what they want.

Basically, when they are working, are they thinking about your application, or are they thinking about their work? The less they need to think about your app, the more focus they can give to their own work.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I have a need for a tablet
by Neolander on Wed 21st Dec 2011 08:32 UTC in reply to "RE: I have a need for a tablet"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

What's with this thinking that one needs to lock down everything in order to make usable products ?

One every bike I've ever bought, I could service everything myself, using a relatively standard interface. This characteristic also makes the life of my mechanic easier for stuff which I can't do or don't want to do.

Please explain how this makes bikes hard to use for people who don't want to bother and just see the mechanic each time the chain goes off the gears.

If you can't, please explain how tablets are different from bikes in this area.

Edited 2011-12-21 08:32 UTC

Reply Score: 1

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

What's with this thinking that one needs to lock down everything in order to make usable products ?

One every bike I've ever bought, I could service everything myself, using a relatively standard interface. This characteristic also makes the life of my mechanic easier for stuff which I can't do or don't want to do.

Please explain how this makes bikes hard to use for people who don't want to bother and just see the mechanic each time the chain goes off the gears.

If you can't, please explain how tablets are different from bikes in this area.


Absolute bull!

Apart from the simplest of services on a bicycle (allen key jobs), the same manufacturer might have 4 different tools for 4 different component types that are all incompatible.

E.g.

Shimano Bottom brackets. There are

* Square Taper JIS
* Square Taper ISO
* Octalink
* ISIS
* Hollow Tech 1
* Hollow Tech 2
* External bottom bracket designs (very new)

That is just for 1 component and they all require different tools. Bikes with ISO standard threads (68mm bottom bracket shell length).

You could have French (old and rare), Swiss (old and rare), Italian (phased out but plenty of bikes use it) and a whole different standard for BMX altogether.

For 1 component we have 24 possible tools needed already.

Modern Bicycle Technology is very proprietary. Let me tell you, it is really hard trying to get standard ISO kit that is compatible with anything older than 10 years (some of my bicycles are 40+ years old). In the 1970-1990s most manufacturers decided to use ISO standard kit (based off the British ISO standard which was largely superior to the other standards) ... unfortunately due to Mountain Biking and People wanting flashier bikes ... these standards have gone out the window.

People on here complain about the odd incompatibility between Word and Libre Office ... I have to hunt for parts on ebay or word of mouth (no internet) or make stuff myself.

Don't even get me started about headsets or suspension forks, handle bars, quill stems etc.

/rant over

Back OT

Also you comment is totally missing the point, we are talking about the interface between the person and the machine not how you repair it.

99% of all bicycles work more or less the same with minor difference, unless you have a penny farthing, a recumberate or a fixed gear.

Edited 2011-12-21 18:31 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Back OT

Also you comment is totally missing the point, we are talking about the interface between the person and the machine not how you repair it.

99% of all bicycles work more or less the same with minor difference, unless you have a penny farthing, a recumberate or a fixed gear.

Not quite. The OP of this thread stated "I want a tablet on which I can install Linux, Java, Python, etc... if I want to".

For me, this falls in the "easily serviceable" category. A device can provide this kind of option, typically with a "root switch" deep in the settings or an unlocked bootloader, without harming the normal user experience in anyway.

I stand corrected about bikes, though ;) I was thinking about low- and mid-end hybrid bikes (sub-600€), which is what I'm familiar with. On those, you really know what to expect, except for a few nonstandard oddities like saddle tube thickness or tire width. From that point, I was incorrectly assuming that the rest of the bike world just follows.

Edited 2011-12-22 08:44 UTC

Reply Score: 1

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Not quite. The OP of this thread stated "I want a tablet on which I can install Linux, Java, Python, etc... if I want to".

For me, this falls in the "easily serviceable" category. A device can provide this kind of option, typically with a "root switch" deep in the settings or an unlocked bootloader, without harming the normal user experience in anyway.


No that falls into the easily customizable, which is a totally different category than serviceablility. I appreciate that they overlap, but they aren't the same thing.

Tablets are a product that happens to be a computer. I am sure there are niche suppliers (much like my odd bicycle parts) for it ... but you will have to pay a higher price.

Edited 2011-12-22 09:49 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

No that falls into the easily customizable, which is a totally different category than serviceablility. I appreciate that they overlap, but they aren't the same thing.

Well, I agree that "serviceability" is not the proper word, but I am not sure that "customizability" is, either. A Samsung sales rep would tell you that a fully-locked Android is easily customizable because you can, without much hassle, install a wide range of new software and put widgets on your desktop.

Is there a short expression in English to describe the concept of being able to do the same things as the OEM with your computer ?

Tablets are a product that happens to be a computer. I am sure there are niche suppliers (much like my odd bicycle parts) for it ... but you will have to pay a higher price.

Well, there are ARM development platforms, if you are ready to spend the price of a finished tablet for a bare-bones circuit board with a touchscreen attached to it that doesn't boot unless you install an OS yourself first, and that only features incomplete technical hardware documentation ;)

It's just a far cry from current desktops and laptops where you can just press Esc during boot in order to boot another OS, and where every software available on the internet may be installed without a huge hassle. Though Secure Boot may change that for OSs...

Edited 2011-12-22 11:25 UTC

Reply Score: 1

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Well like it or not this is the route that is computing is going to take. Pretty much most computing tasks can be done on even the cheapest computers now.

Also could we stop making FUD up about secure boot? It gets tiring.

Edited 2011-12-22 23:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: I have a need for a tablet
by Gusar on Tue 20th Dec 2011 11:19 UTC in reply to "I have a need for a tablet"
Gusar Member since:
2010-07-16

Am I asking too much?

You probably are. However, I'm right there with you. I won't even consider a tablet if it doesn't allow me to do what you describe. And even then, it would probably lack something else I'd want. Like say at least one full-sized usb port to plug in generic usb sticks.

Tablets are just too limited. I get a lot more out of a netbook. And for a smaller price too.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: I have a need for a tablet
by tidux on Tue 20th Dec 2011 15:34 UTC in reply to "RE: I have a need for a tablet"
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

If the Toshiba Thrive has an unlocked bootloader, it could be what you're looking for. It has a pretty stock Android (read: no OEM idiocy like Motobarf) and full-sized HDMI and USB host ports, and a full sized SDHC slot.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I have a need for a tablet
by Gusar on Tue 20th Dec 2011 21:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I have a need for a tablet"
Gusar Member since:
2010-07-16

Unlocked bootloader is just one part of the puzzle. The biggest issue are hardware drivers. Do the Thrive's graphics have a driver that works in a traditional Linux distro? Same for other components: touchscreen, sound, wifi, etc.

And even if the drivers are available, there's the big chance they're tied to a specific version of the kernel and X, like with Intel Poulsbo. No way am I going to restrict myself like that.
All drivers don't necessarily need to be open source, I use the Nvidia blob for example, but that only works because Nvidia is constantly updating the driver when new versions of the kernel and X require it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: I have a need for a tablet
by Earl C Pottinger on Tue 20th Dec 2011 15:42 UTC in reply to "I have a need for a tablet"
Earl C Pottinger Member since:
2008-07-12

What you want, is what I want. I want to choose what OS I use, I want to choose what software I install.

And I want the software install not to be removed on some outside company's whim.

Reply Score: 4

Where are the numbers?
by karunko on Tue 20th Dec 2011 09:38 UTC
karunko
Member since:
2008-10-28

And more to the point: why are we discussing as facts the musings of a blogger at Retrevo, especially considering that, by their own admission, "The Retrevo Pulse is an ongoing study of people and electronics from the consumer electronics shopping and review site Retrevo.com"?

And no, adding "one of the largest consumer electronics review and shopping sites in the world" shouldn't lend the report any more credibility, since there's nothing scientific about it -- they're not even quoting sales numbers!


RT.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Where are the numbers?
by David on Tue 20th Dec 2011 17:21 UTC in reply to "Where are the numbers?"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

Hard numbers would be nice. But I think that if what's mainly a shopping site wants to post some insights on their blog, and those insights are valid (and wouldn't a shopping blog have a worthwhile take on consumer demand?) then it's worth posting.

Reply Score: 1

Yoko_T
Member since:
2011-08-18

Basically can be summed up in Five words:

Too Expensive and Too Crippled.

Another mistake was in aiming these thing at Cell phone users by trying to tie them with cell phone providers, which only drove up the price of them. $399+ a 1/2year contract?

Get real people.



Another mistake was in pricing these things as costing more than a low-end netbook/laptop that was 10 times more useful.

Just because people who buy Ipads are complete morons doesn't mean the rest of the world is.



They also should have been aimed at people who are looking for an add-on/enhancement to their laptop/desktop systems rather than a *REPLACEMENT* for them.

Reply Score: 3

v Sony Tablet S is the best Android tablet
by Hussein on Tue 20th Dec 2011 13:22 UTC
Comment by Bounty
by Bounty on Tue 20th Dec 2011 17:33 UTC
Bounty
Member since:
2006-09-18

"we defy even the most tech-savvy of you to name more than a few of them. What was so wrong with the competition that it failed to make any inroads in the tablet market, at least until the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook came along?"

1. Thrive, Coby, Archos, Prime, Transformer, Galaxy, Icona, Xoom, Ideapad. That's off the top of my head (non-Nook/Fire), and I don't own a tablet. Not counting 7" v.s. 8" or 10" versions of the same machines. I know about the same number of the names of PC models, I guess the PC is/was DOA too. All hail iApple, I can name every model of desktop computer they make (iMac/PowerMac) I guess that makes them the best.

2. How the hell can you say they made no inroads?

"Android-powered tablet computers accounted for 27 percent of global sales during the three-month period, jumping from 2.3 percent a year earlier, Strategy Analytics said in a statement today. The iPad’s share fell to 67 percent from 96 percent. " (October)

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-21/android-tablets-gained-on-...

Apple lost 30% of the market and Android ate an additional 25%. Apple started off with 41 times the market share of Android, and ended with only 2.5 times as much, and the trend isn't stopping. Apple lost significant market share, Android's grew over 10x. Those numbers were before the Fire and new Nook entered the market.


Why link to this crap? It's not even a subtle lie. It doesn't matter if someone out there wrongly expected Android to take over even faster. It's not a fail, when you kick someone's ass less quickly than some falsely elevated expectations.

Reply Score: 11

wannabe geek
Member since:
2006-09-27

How silly. The business model is pretty much the same as that of PC manufacturers. Is that a flawed business model? Hardware manufacturers should focus on building good, affordable hardware, and let the software to software developers. As a market matures, it usually tends to move from walled gardens to comoditization and open standards. It happened again and again, in personal computers, mobile phones, web browsers and so on. People will only put up with walled gardens when no open alternative of similar quality is available.

Why would people buy an iPad clone with no brand recognition and actually inferior quality for almost the same price? No room to cut prices? seriously?

Oh, and please, remember, "begging the question" is the name of a logical falacy (petitio principii, asuming the initial point), not a synonim of "raising the question".

Reply Score: 3

Comment by testman
by testman on Tue 20th Dec 2011 22:19 UTC
testman
Member since:
2007-10-15

What was so wrong with the competition that it failed to make any inroads in the tablet market, at least until the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook came along?

Mass brainwashing from Cupertino turning the world into Apple fanbois! Obviously.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by testman
by WorknMan on Wed 21st Dec 2011 01:54 UTC in reply to "Comment by testman"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Mass brainwashing from Cupertino turning the world into Apple fanbois! Obviously.


Either that, or in my case, 'specialty' apps like Lemur that aren't available for other tablets.

As a friend of mine says about Windows, 'I don't like iOS... I like what I can run on iOS.'

Edited 2011-12-21 01:54 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by testman
by Hussein on Wed 21st Dec 2011 07:17 UTC in reply to "Comment by testman"
Hussein Member since:
2008-11-22

I'm sensing sarcasm, then again you can never know (Poe's Law).

Reply Score: 0