Tablets

Why Android tablets failed: A postmortem

Android tablets were expected to give the Apple iPad fierce competition in 2011. It never happened. Here's why Android tablets flopped.

As I gear up for CES 2012 next week, I can't help but think back to CES 2011 where the big story was all about Android tablets. I was in the front row at the Verizon keynote when Google made a surprise appearance and did a demo of its newly-unveiled tablet software, Android 3.0 "Honeycomb." I shot a quick video of that demo, sprinted back to my hotel room, uploaded it to the web, and it quickly went viral.

The tech world was all abuzz about Android tablets. People were yapping about the gorgeous eye candy in Google's Honeycomb demo. Motorola, ASUS, and lots of other gadget companies quickly made big, flashy CES announcements about their forthcoming Android tablets. The Apple iPad had just surprised nearly everyone by selling 15 million tablets in 2010, but the general consensus at the time was that Android was firing off a clear message: "Dear Apple: We're coming after the iPad."

On smartphones, Android had just had a huge 2010 of its own. It went from virtually zero market share in January to a third of U.S. smartphone sales by the end of the year, leapfrogging the iPhone in the process. With so many of tech's biggest hardware makers lining up behind Android tablets heading into 2011, the expectation was that Android tablets would likely leapfrog the iPad by the end of the year. At the very worst, it looked like Android tablets would pull even with the iPad and split the tablet market. Even as late as June 2011, some prominent tech commentators were still predicting that Android tablets would gobble up a huge chunk of the tablet market by the end of 2011.

It never happened.

Depending on who you believe and what exactly you count (tablets sold to retailers vs. tablets sold to customers, and whether you count Android offshoots like the Amazon Kindle Fire), Android was running on somewhere between 15% to 30% of all tablets sold in 2011. That's respectable, right? Disappointing, but respectable. However, that's not the whole story. It gets worse.

If we look at actual tablet usage, the numbers get really ugly for Android. Recent reports (like this one from ComScore) that track web traffic from tablets show that the iPad accounts for 95% of tablet traffic in the U.S. and 88% globally. That means that either Android tablet sales to paying customers are much lower than previously reported or the people who buy Android tablets aren't using them very much, or a combination of the two. Whatever the details are, it's an ugly scenario that means Android tablets have almost no traction in the market.

So, why did Android tablets flop in 2011? There are four main reasons. Let's count them down, and then talk about what 2012 looks like.

4. The 16x9 problem

Google tried to get innovative with the form factor of Android tablets by giving them a 16x9 aspect ratio instead of copying the iPad's 4x3 form factor. It sounded good. It was different. After all, 16x9 is associated with HD and 4x3 is associated with SD. The problem is that when you put a 16x9 tablet in your hands, it feels awkward. Google made landscape the default orientation so it feels like you're holding a laptop screen that's missing a keyboard, instead of holding a book or a magazine or a padfolio like it feels when you have a 10-inch 4x3 device like the iPad. When you turn a 16x9 tablet to portrait mode, the screen feels oddly squished. And now, it's going to be difficult for Google to fix the problem. The 16x9 landscape orientation is still the default in Android 4.0 and there are a ton of existing Android tablets like the Motorola Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer that are locked into the 16x9 orientation, so even if Google did a software update, it wouldn't help.

3. The enterprise doesn't trust Android

One of the ways that Android tablets were going to move a lot of units in 2011 was large orders of 1,000s of tablets to traditional enterprises like hospitals, manufacturers, and schools. Last March I wrote about Samsung gearing up to sell a lot of Android tablets to the enterprise by setting up sales programs and preparing its sales force to handle big tablet orders. Samsung reps enthusiastically said they would contact me when they had big customers willing to talk about their tablet rollouts. I never heard from them. By mid-2011 that didn't surprise me because the IT leaders I spoke with were spooked about Android malware. The fact that users could click on browser links and accidentally sideload apps that could siphon data out of Android devices was not something IT pros wanted to deal with. As a result, surveys like the one from enterprise vendor Good Technology showed that 96% of tablet activations in the enterprise were iPads.

2. The lack of tablet apps

Despite the 16x9 problem (and Honeycomb's initial software glitches that Google eventually ironed out), the Android tablet platform itself isn't all bad. I like running widgets and mini-apps side-by-side, for example. That makes Android tablets feel more like a traditional multi-tasking computer. The built-in Gmail, Google Books, and web browser apps in Honeycomb are really slick -- I especially like the thumb controls in the browser. The problem is that there just isn't enough of this stuff. Google has not created enough of its own apps and third party software developers have hit the snooze button on Android tablet apps. Where's the Google Analytics app or its Google+ app or its Google Finance app or its Picnik photo editing app? Instead of building its own native Android tablet apps and firing up software makers, Google seems intent on focusing app developers on building HTML5 apps that work well across tablets, smartphones, and computers. That's an important and admirable goal, but dedicated apps can still be extremely useful for taking advantage of a platform's strengths. And the bottom line is that users like the simplicity and focus of having an app that they can tap and enter a dedicated environment for a particular service. Google doesn't get that, doesn't like it, and hasn't pushed for it on Android tablets. The result is that Android tablets just don't feel like they're useful for doing much besides surfing the web.

1. The price

When Apple first announced the iPad, I had honestly started tuning out by end of the event (there's only so much of that "magical" and "revolutionary" stuff I can stomach). I was ready to write an article excoriating the iPad as a badly-overpriced toddler toy when Steve Jobs announced that the price of the iPad would start at $499 (I'd expected the price tag to be $800-$1000). I immediately bolted straight up in my seat and my eyes popped open and Apple had my attention again. To this day, I believe that the iPad's greatest marketing strategy and the No. 1 factor in its success has been its price tag. Conversely, when Google and Motorola announced that the first big Android tablet -- the Motorola Xoom -- would cost $800, my immediate reaction was to shake my head and say, "DOA." At the time, other tech analysts tried to argue that what you got for the price with the Xoom compared very favorably to the highest-priced iPad. It was a logical argument but that's not how most of today's tech buyers think, and the proof is that virtually no one bought the Xoom. Eventually, other tablet makers rolled out some nice Android tablets for $400-$500 by the middle of 2011 -- again, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and ASUS Eee Pad Transformer are both very attractive -- but to the masses, that price tag was apparently still too much for tablets whose primary function is surfing the web.

What now?

Even Google's own numbers don't paint a pretty picture for Android tablets, and the release of Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" is unlikely to help the situation much in 2012. ICS is't about fixing the tablet problem. It's about unifying the Android experience between smartphones and tablets. My ZDNet colleague Jason Perlow has been testing Ice Cream Sandwich on the Motorola Xoom and has concluded that it won't fix any of these fundamental flaws with Android tablets.

Last month Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said that Google will "market a tablet of the highest quality” in the first half of 2012. It's also been rumored recently that Google is working on a low-cost 7-inch tablet to battle the Amazon Kindle Fire, which runs a bastardized version of Android 2.3 and quickly grabbed the No. 2 spot in the tablet market at the end of 2011.

However, until Google deals with the four issues we've talked about here, it's unlikely that it will change the fate of Android tablets. At the very least, Google will have to fix No. 1 and No. 2, and that might be enough to overcome No. 3 and No. 4.

Also read

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

320 comments
MOMconnected
MOMconnected

We're still at the starting gate! The tablet market is in its infancy, and continues to evolve, so it's too early to call a winner will be at this point. Most of us have multiple devices in our portfolio all used in different scenarios to keep us productive wherever we go, so there is room for multiple OSes, supporting a variety of devices. And don't forget about Windows 8 and the impact it will have when it hits store shelves. Designed for touch and tablets (Metro), it will plug right into an existing ecosystem of Windows-based devices, which still owns the majority of the global market. For me, I have a desktop PC for heavy lifting, a laptop for mobility, my smartphone for quick access on the go, and I just added a Kindle Fire to my portfolio to surf on the couch, in bed and keep the kids entertained. I'm comfortable with the functionality of each of these devices when I use them in the appropriate scenario. We're just getting started, and I'm excited to see how these ecosystems will evolve. I'm expecting to embrace a variety of OSes to stay connected regardless of the device. http://momconnected.wordpress.com/

mychitterman
mychitterman

I believe the tablet is picking up in sales even in less developed countries, however, the use is not largely for browsing. Have a few examples and cases in the caribbean region.

jasaugusto
jasaugusto

I bought to my daughter a 32 GB Asus Transformer (keypad included) a couple of months ago and I, and she, are both very happy (speed of response, etc). Ok, its a sort of a gaming rig for now, but if Android productivity software starts popping at a reasonable cost it can be also a working horse (it has the attachable keypad). It's very light. Indeed this article comes from another universe (USA, I'm in Europe) where people is much more sensitive to the power of Apple marketing than in the Old World :-) (in almost all american TV series and mainstream movies appears an "Appled" Macbook cover in the hands of somebody...) Never thought in buying a iPad (too closed for kids, according to ">their

Jaytmoon
Jaytmoon

First of all, nice graphic rip from the teminator movie segway (re: skull), I use an Ipad @ work, it sucks, I own an Acer A500 32GB for less than $420, it Rocks and NEVER needed a reset. It also supports flash, plays Hulu basic has usb ports and a micro sd slot (Oh Apple doesn't offer that ether) Boo Hoo. Go back to the Genius store and dream up some better drivel!

babyfacemagee
babyfacemagee

Android tablets captured 26% of the market in Q4 and the iPad went from 98% of the market Q4 2010 to 59% in Q4 2011. That's a resounding success for Android tablets which have only been out in force for all of 6 months. A year from now Android tablets will equal or beat the iPad in market share. This is even faster than it took Android phones to overtake the iPhone. Today Android phones hold 53% of the smartphone market while the iPhone is at 25%. This article is pure link-bait. No truth to it at all.

cpshooter
cpshooter

What were you on while writing this article?

rjw
rjw

1 PRICE Wrong. You. Have a choice from 200 up until 700. IPADS start at 600 2 LACK OF TABLET APPS Wrong. Just in tablets twice the number you have in the whole Apple echosystem 3 THE ENTERPRISE DOES NOT TRUST ANDROID. Well it does not trust Apple either. It does not BUY the tablet yet. Lenovo,and others are doing a great job that Apple can't even start doing because the IPAD is not enterprise grade 4 FORM FACTOR: Is a matter of taste and getting familiar with

Sul52
Sul52

So this is the tablet wars. I have played with the iPad, and then bought a Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet - Android 3.1. Now 3.2 would have been better and ice cream sandwich will be even better. Are the things that are lacking - yes, but overall would the iPad have been better? No. The ThinkPad tablet has a stylus and I can use it like a . . . well a tablet. I can write notes and convert to text. (And I don't use the stock Mobile Notes Script that came on the device, but rather other aps I've found that work better.) I find myself using it more and more and more and more. What can I do with it? full size usb port - flash drives that can be used as storage not just as a transfer media, external keyboard and mouse, and there are some other devices that will connect as well - such as printers via PrintShare (USB, WiFi, Bluetooth). Full SD Card that can be used for storage (again not just as a transfer device). SIM Card slot - yep that means that with the cell/broadband chips you can change networks. Mine doesn't have that chip, but my next one will as soon as they have a 4G LTE chip available for it. The tablet has become my go to device, I don't think the iPad would have been able to do that. It is used for my time records, email, calendar, task list, web browsing, phone and video conferencing via Skype, project management, pdf markup, simple spreadsheets, mileage tracker, expense reporter and interface to accounting data, etc. This without a broadband connection - can't imagine how much data I would use with a broadband connection, so maybe it's better it doesn't have one. And i also use it for a GPS map system with a full downloaded map program and data (CoPilot Premium). When I read the data regarding web traffic and that the Android Tablet wasn't high on the list I think it must be only web traffic via Broadband, because my web use is almost entirely the tablet for most of my data use. But it's via WiFi, because Verizon would be far to expensive to use for the amount of data I use. While no device can be perfect for every user when I compared the iPad to the ThinkPad Tablet the ThinkPad won in almost every use I had for it. And I think for a lot of business users this would be the case. What will it do and how much will that cost? ThinkPad won.

Peter Sanders
Peter Sanders

Hi I bought an iPad 2 xmas 2010. I have used it during 2011 and discovered its many limitations. You can't just plug in any device you like and expect it to work. Android device are MUCH better at accepting data from and working with other devices. File transfer is one of the worst limitations of the iPad. If I want to copy music or photo's to the iPad then I have to use iTunes - what a pain. When I wanted to copy Christmas photos to the iPad iTunes could only work with the top level folders it COULD NOT copy photos from sub folders! Instead, I used my Samsung Galaxy S2 for the photos, copied them instantly from the pc, from ANY sub folder I wanted :) For most people that want things simple and do not want to do anything even slightly different to what Apple "ALLOWS" you to do, then ok, use an iPad. If you need something PRACTICAL and flexible to suit "YOUR" requirements then Android is the way to go. For those that don't know, the iPad DOES NOT CHARGE from a computer USB while the iPad is in use. If it is not is use it will eventually charge if connected for about 24 hours (no iPad use in that time). Just imagine how many more Galaxy Tabs would have sold late last year if Apple did NOT sue Samsung and gain an injunction, preventing Samsung from selling their own products in Australia and parts of Europe! Apple is TOO RESTRICTIVE in so many ways. My niece could not even transfer some images from her iPhone to my Galaxy S2 via Bluetooth, the iPhone could not connect!! Apparently only iPhone to iPhone Bluetooth file transfer is available! Personally I would never buy another Apple product. I want to use stuff I buy for things "I" want to do NOT what the manufacturer "allows" me to do. Bring on the Galaxy Note :) my next purchase! (not available in Australia ATM). So for me it's thumbs down for iPad and thumbs up for Android tablets. Peter

techenduser
techenduser

People are so over Apple. The phones are at the bottom above RIM on ComScore and the tablets are kiddie looking with that horrible outdated interface. Your app drawer is your homescreen with no way to change it. The Android OS is sleak and 21st century. IOS looks like playskool or fisherprice designed it and the demographics were pre-schoolers and geriatrics. Whatever Apple puts out future forward if it has that relic from the past GUI on it is DOA. The number of Android users is staggering. Over half electronic device owners. They like to separate by manufacturers to diminish the number counts and effects of Android. Only a small percentage of the electronic market is part of the "Apple prison system." i give Apple 3 more months and people will be saying who? Oh, that old trend, Apple. Microsoft has managed to stay relevant longer and in 3 years Android has taken over.

mohd
mohd

Good article Jason! Divisive and inflammatory - art of a good writer. I think you missed out the investment in apps on the iphone as a big motivation to stay with Apple (therefore the iPad). I think 4 is too early to call. It may work for or against android. Pure web browsers may not like it much. But, video streaming and movie watchers would love it. As for 3, enterprises have always loved closed source and large US vendors. They need assurance there is someone to hold accountable. But when the tipping point is reached, the enterprises will find it difficult to ignore the user base. On 2, you are right, as a marketing strategy, Google should have created 'special' (reads: proprietary) apps. But, i have to salute Google for upholding their values to fight for the greater good of all. As for 1, this is where the marketing geniuses at Apple have to saluted! They have found the 'sweet spot' of pricing - high enough to make good money, low enough to keep out 'disruptive' pricing & technology.

Derek880
Derek880

I don't get this "Apple-love" syndrome. Putting two tablets in front of most people, one being an iPad, and the other being an Android tablet. They wouldn't know or care the difference, as long as they could surf, check e-mail, and occasionally play some games. Given the choice between a screen tap and flick tablet, that is not as functional as my laptop, but costs more, I would definitely choose to save money by buying a cheap Android tablet such as a Kindle Fire. Who has the money in this economy to pay an extra surplus for an iPad simply because others want me to believe that the iPad is a "cool" thing to have because it's an Apple product? It's like people trying to convince me that my generic grocery store pear that costs 99 cents a pound is somehow inferior to a pear from Whole Foods because their pears are 2.99 a pound. If it wasn't so silly, I would probably take it seriously. For the record, I have an Acer Iconia tab and had an iPad in my possession as well. With the exception of the interfaces, I never noticed much difference at all between the two with what I was using them for. In the end, the Iconia won. Why? Because, I was able to hook my external hard drive to the Iconia and transfer files whenever I choose. I can also connect practically any USB or Bluetooth keyboard. I can listen and transfer music without having to install iTunes, and I can organize it however I choose using different widgets. I'm not locked into anything. In time, I got pretty bored with the iPad. Not because it's bad, but because there is next to no variety with it. If you love Apple products, fine. Pay more, and show off your pretty Apple logo. But I'm not sure why Apple fans are constantly trying to promote the demise of Android tablets. Way too many articles like this on Tech Republic.

Greg Williams
Greg Williams

Got the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer for Christmas and haven't been able to put it down. Of course my first choice was the iPad2, but without being able to compare...I'm very satisfied. We have 2 desktops, and 2 laptops (my laptop is way out-dated), and I can never get on my wife's laptop (no pun intended). So I originally had a new laptop on my wish list, but also was thinking iPad. The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer with the detachable keypad is the perfect combination and suits both needs. And I very happy with the Cloud app that came pre-loaded. Android vs. iPad?...you know what they say "It's not the song...it's the singer."

heather_turiello
heather_turiello

Jason, I'm a fan and follow your blog steadily. I'm surprised and irritated at the strong statements made in this article. The market is certainly not growing as quickly as we'd expected, but it certainly isn't a flop or failure. As the owner of a Galaxy Tab and the new Asus Transformer Prime, I'm a huge fan of the android tablets. My kids each got the Kindle Fire for Christmas, and while it's not an iPad killer, it's a close competitor with the content that Amazon can provide. With the proliferation of operating systems, app stores and formats, this story is far from over and I'd expect you to not be so irresponsible in your language.

mnemennth
mnemennth

... it's with Android. Simply put, Android is the OS that's ALWAYS almost finished, never really there. Part of this has to do with the idiotic level of attention paid to getting the next release out the door as fast as possible, neglecting the need to do actual user testing and find out if it actually works. The other half of it is the FACT OF ANDROID... it is a stable OS which was released FOR FREE to the worst pirates in the modern Technology Arena - Cellular Carriers. As a result, it is essentially every carrier and two-bit wannabe technology cloner's B!TCH; never, EVER even approaching a finished product. As much as I hate Apple's paternalistic closed ecology, it does produce one thing: accountability. If you want to be on Apple's platform, you've got to be vetted. If it doesn't work, you get it working before they allow it on the platform. If it breaks units after launch, you get yanked and maybe even lose your rights to publish. With Android, hell they don't even KNOW ABOUT half the broken crap that's out there, much less give a rat's backside. And guess what. The public has figured this out and they are less and less willing to accept a wannabe solution to save 20% or 30% over the real thing, especially when that wannabe is SO PALE of an imitation. Google - you want to save Android? Start legislating against carriers and third-parties who take Android and rape it. Revoke their license which they have repeatedly broken the terms of and sue them in court. Get injunctions. Show them they can't steal your partially-stolen IP and turn it into unsupported vaporware for millions of end users. As long as they figure it's not going to cost them anything (and right now it doesn't), they're going to continue to treat your Public-Licensed Software as if it were Public Domain, and use the money they make off your hard work to pimp-slap you every chance they get. mnem These are not the 'droids you're looking for.

moniqx4
moniqx4

I have to agree with most I think calling it failure is a bit premature. I do think Google could help the Android rep by limiting what companies can make it, and with what hardware. I used a very cheap and lame Coby tablet my friend had, and if I hadn't tried to use anything else I might too believe the Android tablets sux. However, I have used much nicer Android tablets and liked them quite a bit. I currently, have an HTC Android phone that I love ( and it actually made me stop using my itouch) and I also have an iPad, which I love too. But I got the iPad, before Android tablets were available, and now if I had to pick it would be an Android because I really am starting to despise the iOS's inflexible interface and I've always hated iTunes. (For a company with as much money as they have, you think they would spend a few bucks on making iTunes worth using.) Real multi tasking and widgets are a beautiful thing. As far as what I use my iPad for, mostly reading ( i know expensive reader). I play a few games, and I use it to entertain my daughter for long waits or road trips. That's pretty much it. I do find it bulky to carry around at times and lately it crashes alot. For those that don't think an apple product crashes, think again, apple was just smart to not tell you it crashed, just shutdown the app with no messaging, let the user figure out what happened.. so clever. :-) Overall, I think the idea of tablets, have a place and for our sake we better hope there is more than one brand to choose from.

BentLightyear
BentLightyear

What we're seeing is the birth of the tablet, which is still very much in its infancy. In a year or two we'll have tablets that will work like laptops, where you can install whatever OS you like and Windows will be the norm. The 10" (sheet of paper) size will replace most computers and the 7" (pocket) size will be the standard travel size. In the mean time, I bought a PanDigital Planet 7" for $140 at Fry's that meets my needs for playing around, despite being chosen as the #1 "Don't buy" tablet by CNET and TechRepublic. There will be really no reason to pay more than $150 for most tablets after things settle down. Apple is an expert at charging 2 to 3 times what something is worth because it's pretty and putting a strangle-hold on the software. The trend is toward making things cheap, efficient, and open; but we'll have to wait a little while for that to catch up with tablets.

dalewking
dalewking

I have seen so many journalists rag on Honeycomb, calling it horrible. I really don't understand this. I love Honeycomb. The only real complaint I have with honeycombb is that for some reason they removed folders from the launcher. I'm sure there is an app I can get that will add folders for me (which is another plus for Android). I will grant that iOS is more fluid and responsive, but I understand what that trade off is. On iOS an app can do almost nothing if it is not the active app. Android lets apps run in the background and do things like download stuff or update widgets (how do iOS users live without widgets?). I'm willing to live withan almost imperceptible lag to have apps that can actually do something. I seriously do not get what these people have against Honeycomb.

subhro.ganguly
subhro.ganguly

Looks like the author is either payed by Apple Inc. to voice for them or is a die-hard (aka blind) apple fan. Google is just picking up and I see the trend is very positive throughout the world. I can admit Google might not have the same Marketing model as Apple which has given all (good but not great, some like Mac book air is a failure) Apple products a boost in sales (read -> right way of targetting imature student minds and influencing corporate minds with 1 million apps), but I am not going to admit that Google has failed. Being a technie I always wanted to customise OS to my benefit and Google model of openness is a great fit to my personality. I never had been a Google guy till I bought my first Android last year (cell phone/tablet) and a 2nd Android (Acer Tablet) this year (I still use Iphone/ipad to compare the products) but it looks like I am getting addicted to Android the more I explore Google Apps and it's abilities.. If Google can stress more on their marketing I am sure they will surpass Apple sales in no time. I would rather rate the following article much rationalised than the current one. http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/tablets/tablet-trends-and-game-players-in-2012/521

tchall
tchall

Android 2.2 added the "device administrator" API allowing a pretty decent lockdown of phones and tablets... Any discussion of "android fail" that ignores built in support for enterprise security FAILS before it even gets started.... Unlike proprietary operating systems corporations using Android devices can customize their own version of the OS... Bottom line... they're whatever you want them to be.

dfl274
dfl274

What so many tech-geeks always seem to overlook is that techies are not the ones buying these devices. Why does the technocrats constantly get their predictions about Apple's "failures" and "demise" consistently wrong and why so many Android developers miss the mark? Because they fail to realize the people Apple markets and develops for are people that do not read blogs like these. They are average consumers looking for devices that do what they need them to do at a reasonable price with as little head-ache as possible. This is why Apple consistently breaks expectations. Android has become a success in the mobile world simply by saturation, a play from Microsoft's book which is suprising for don't-be-evil Google. But when it comes to brand recognition, are there any Android developers that coming anywhere near Apple's exposure? None. Thats a problem. Tech developers have to understand that geeks are loud, geeks make a lot of waves, but they aren't the definition of consumers and catering devices towards geeks is a financial dead end.

IT Eagle
IT Eagle

I got a (often forgotten) Toshiba Thrive tablet and love it. I know it weighs a little more but I can barely tell the difference, when reading books or working, between it and my wife's Nook Color I got her last year. I love having all the ports built in my Thrive. That is where Apple is going to end up screwing themselves again someday. Make something and then lock it down, like the Macs vs Windows computers. Most of us want to be able to choose the hardware and features, not be handed something and told this is all you get and you WILL like it. My wife and I both have iPhone 4s' and she has an iPod Touch as well so we are familiar with them. She stopped using her Touch, except for games and listening to music in bed, when she got a Nook Color last year (2010). It takes care of her email, books, web browsing, and Facebook. I stopped using my iPhone for business, and have found that I use my computer at work less, and prefer to use the Thrive.

Paul A Thomas
Paul A Thomas

The apps that came with my iPad2 exist on my HTC, so really all I got was a larger screen! I am sure many business people would agree they want the following from a tablet: [b]1.[/b] Update a blog on the move - (The WordPress WYSIWYG won't work on android or iOS and my clients don't want to learn HTML) [b]2.[/b] Be able to write my book on the train and easily transfer the file to my PC [b]3.[/b] Be able to easily print documents when you hit the office or get home [b]4.[/b] View serious Flash?? apps in the browser - (E.g. Google Insights for Search) [b]5.[/b] Browse photos and upload them to my blog or website from within the device (The HTC will browse my photos, iPad2 doesn't) [b]6.[/b] Create the odd spreadsheet now and then [b]7.[/b] Send and receive SMS texts via 3G or 4G - I have wireless broadband on the iPad, so why not? My HP laptop with 3G lets me send text [b]8.[/b] Create PDF files on the fly Tablets should provide proprietary business apps as standard, the pricing demands it. Security should be tight and open source apps properly validated. Worrying about games should be the last thing on the list for tablets. Games are for the general populous needing a phone with a few games loaded as a distraction, not a focus. Tablets are too expensive and too limiting to become mainstream. Smartphones on the other hand, are more practical and serve the wider community. The first tablet device that focuses on business users will take a big slice of the market hands down. Expecting everyone to rush out and buy a tablet to play games and browse the Net is extremely presumptuous. Apple is head hunting and taking note of these conversations. My bet is they will be focusing their energy on the business end of the market soon enough. Apple's iAd is struggling to gain momentum and they know this is where the pay dirt lies. Don't be surprised to see Apple shift from magazine and angry bird apps to some serious business tools and mobile marketing initiatives in the near future.

CFWhitman
CFWhitman

The iPad has a 4:3 ratio and most Android tablets have a 16:9 ratio. I think those are equally off the more ideal ratios of 16:10 or 3:2. Of course, that's entirely subjective and not really a deal breaker in any case.

gragon
gragon

Doesn't this article belong on the Onion?

Vesicant
Vesicant

Yeah, fantasy-fevered bloggers like you go into hyperdrive to nowhere, but when reality doesn't deign to notice, you never quite get around to admitting you were spewing nonsense. It's always Somebody Else's Problem.

Paul A Thomas
Paul A Thomas

I agree Peter, However, it only took me 8 hours to realise my iPad2 was going to be too limiting from a business perspective. I'm constantly trying to justify buying my iPad for reasons other than just using it to give presentations of our digital magazine publisher...

danbi
danbi

The BSD UNIX based iOS is much more advanced than the Linux based Android. Apple know few things about UI and few things about matching hardware and software, aka tuning. It is the experience that matters - this is what the user pays for, not the raw hardware. My bet is, we will much sooner forget about Android, than about iOS (although iOS is just a variation for Apple).

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

The Kindle Fire is a big success, and will continue to get better. Amazon is on the right track. Android tablets are on the wrong track. That's the point of the article, and I have a follow-up article coming that will expand on that point.

danbi
danbi

I doubt Google will go sue carriers/manufacturers, because they are not very good standing wrt IP infringement themselves. They are safe as long as they don't sell the thing. And as long as they do not sell the thing, they cannot claim damages etc. This is why Android is in trouble -- even if it was perfect in every other sense.

danbi
danbi

Let's pray, Windows will not be on every tablet. In any case, if you need Windows environment today, you may access it via RDP/VNC from a tablet. Pretty cool for those in need.

danbi
danbi

iOS also let's applications run in the background and do various things. This does not make the UI less fluid. iOS is an multitasking BSD UNIX OS, by the way. Lag is one things I absolutely dislike in Android tablets. A device apparently more powerful than the iPad is not reacting to your command... and with the touch Interface this is everything.

rbradbury
rbradbury

I'd love to have a failure like that! They are selling millions of them and half of CES is devoted to desperate clones of the MBA (aka 'ultrabooks').

James Rogers
James Rogers

Mac OS X Lion Server has built in Profile Manager for iDevices. Devices are enrolled via an SSL certificate and are managed at the corp level. I can manage all my iDevices through a simple web interface. Why complicate it with a million options. Apple can and does do corp management for their iDevices.

suncatTR
suncatTR

Since the mid-2000s, Apple has succeeded through marketing products that are simply not as good or as versatile as its competition, but they advertise more than most--and lie about features and innovation. Consumers lose because they don't shop around to see better products. They're distracted by Apple's perceived "coolness" factor, designed to make them pay much higher prices than the products warrant. Apple has done a huge disservice to both consumers and business by moving most of its hardware to be sealed, disposable, incompatible, even among Apple products. I don't care about the high prices, but disposable computers not designed to be easily repaired or recycled should be illegal--or, at least, shunned. Consumers are Apple's marks, as P.T. Barnum allegedly said, "There's a sucker born every minute."

James Rogers
James Rogers

Good post :) Consumers will win this one. It's amazing how Samsung is trying blatantly to copy Apple's ads, going so far as to even hire the same little girl from one Apple's ads. It's quite funny to watch it all unfold.

danbi
danbi

Adobe announced that FLASH on mobile devices will not be developed anymore. That was about the single selling point of Android over iOS. Curious, why Google didn't want to spend some money convincing Adobe to support their platform.

suncatTR
suncatTR

The tablets that are used in business are the ones that are marketed most aggressively, not the best tablets or computers for the job. Tablets and computers are often selected and purchased by people who won't be using them and don't understand the technology. That's why my pointy-haired boss had a top-of-the-line notebook to do email and text, and I had a bottom level desktop with a too-small hard drive, flaky network and no back-up software to develop a huge database, prepare reports, drawings, posters, risk analysis data/charts. They even complained when I asked for better hardware/software. This is why there are so many iPads--MARKETING, not utility, not considering appropriate tools for the tasks.

dalewking
dalewking

Most Android tablets (not including the Kindle Fire) are 1280x800 which IS 16x10. This lets you have the 720p video with the toolbar beneath it. Writtein on my ASUS

aflynnhpg
aflynnhpg

I'd like to help write that article Jason. Suggest the title, "Why the Kindle Fire survived the death of Android" 4. 16 x 9 Aspect ratio. The kindle fires 7 inch screen makes it ideal for viewing the 16 x 9 aspect ratio. Er...well, that's bad for other Android devices but randomly good for this one. 3. I Jason Hinder predict that the enterprise is really going to love the Kindle Fire. Unlike the work horse Tablets that run native Android, I think the enterprise will like a device that's geared for entertainment and has a layer preventing access to the normal Android interface. 2. The lack of tablet apps. If you read my article on "Why Android failed: a postmortem", you 'll know that a lack of apps is a huge problem. The Kindle fire meets that head on by locking users down to one source for apps "Amazon" and that somehow is improving this problem. 1. Price...actually, that is what this device has going for it. It's cheap. I think it's clear Jason if we just apply your logic from this article to the Fire we can see why it's on the right track. I do agree with you not to lump the Kindle in with the likes of Galaxy S or Asus Transformer Prime. They couldn't be more different. Sarcasm aside, I believe you are missing the Appeal of Android as an OS in general, and you are way off target calling it dead with respect to tablets.

danbi
danbi

Amazon did the right thing.

danbi
danbi

Wait and see! The Ultrabooks will kill the MacBook Air, because Intel said so. Intel is not Google, but still...

sire_tim
sire_tim

In fact, I can control our organizations Android tablets far better and with more granularity than the iPads using stock standard tools built right into our exchange platform.

danbi
danbi

Facts show, that whatever Apple promises - is delivered in their products. Not so with others. It is funny, that you say about the disposable Apple devices. Apple devices, whatever, have always had high value. In essence they are used much, much longer than any other devices. The disposable devices, that contribute greatly to the plant's electronic waste are actually the "me too" Android tablets.

Paul A Thomas
Paul A Thomas

suncatTR. Too many businesses don't get it. Good computer hardware is cheap these days. Storage and memory costs a pittance. Information, processes and critical data, as you mentioned, are priceless and need to managed with the best tools available for the job. Poor purchasing decisions cost twice as much in the end, not to mention the costs associated with down-time spent tapping the desk waiting for a process to complete. There is no excuse for buying the wrong equipment other than stupidity. I always tell my I.T. guy what I want to achieve and he provides a hardware/software solution.

nv1z
nv1z

And that is another difference between owning and managing a business. An entrepreneur starts a business. Period. He or she intuitively says, "what do I have now that I can use to start a business." Then asks "what do I absolutely need to go forward that I do not have now?" And then the business owner acts. And learns. Case in point: when I started my landscaping business, I had a small residential push lawn mower, some hand tools like hedge trimmers, and old bed sheets I used as tarps. The only thing I needed was a pickup truck or trailer I could put on a car. I opted for the pickup truck and one of the family cars was traded in. As the cheap residential equipment broke, it was replaced with commercial equipment. Also [and this is where it relates to the whole discussion about tablets] I would ask myself daily "how can I make this job easier or more reliable?" and tools would be added to aid in that task. For example, from my tech experience years ago, I saw the benefit of having a computer and a PDA [not necessarily a smartphone] so I could keep appointments on the computer, on the PDA, and synchronize them so there would be no conflict. I didn't need to buy a new pocket calendar or Franklin planner each year anymore. I didn't have to transcribe my contacts from the current year planner to the new year. Having the ability to get email, make calls, and take pictures all from the palm of my hand is very useful. After I finish with each customer of the day, I check my email and any calls I may have received. More often than not, I can do more business without having to return to the shop. Also, if I am done early for the day and/or as I am driving around I see a property in need of TLC, I call the owner or realtor [if being sold] and offer my services. I can take pictures and send them along with a quote. The owner or realtor can reply yea or nay and if yea, I do the work on the spot. Also I keep watching to see if one tool can replace many. Until recently, I had a b&w networked laser printer, separate fax machine, and separate b&w copier. I *wanted* a color laser printer for some things, but chose not to buy just because I *wanted* it. Then my copier broke (after 26 years of reliable service). So I consolidated my copier, my fax machine, and b&w laser, into a single networked color laser printer with scan, fax, duplex print, and copy capability. I still use the b&w laser for b&w printing, but the color machine does everything else. See how this works? That is how tech helps me. That is how business owners think, and not just landscaping business owners. It has nothing to do with 16:9 versus 4:3 orientation.

James Rogers
James Rogers

Have you checked out the Aruba stuff? For managing internet access etc for wireless devices in particular? Quite cool. SSL certificates as well, but for managing access, does site logging etc as well. What tools in Exchange? Interested to check it out, just as we are moving away from Exchange, but anyway, be cool to read up on it.

danbi
danbi

I understand your frustration with Apple and their FCP decisions. I believe they haven't yet decided to kill that platform, but probably had to make some hard decisions. You need to realize, that some brilliant old software is the result of difficult and perhaps impossible today licensing. Frankly, I do not know enough of this low-level facts in order to judge Apple on the FCP issue. But we are talking mobile devices here and although I have used Nokia phones myself and find them perfect match for my PHONE use, it is a fact that Nokia for some reason (perhaps lack of proper licensing) has failed in the 'smartphone' area -- not that it does not have very good smartphones, but they sort of abandon successful models in a while and have gone the wrong way to make so many devices. Thing is, although the iPhone cannot be said to be the best device for anything, it delivers consistent experience and has such a long life cycle that it has attracted significant developer interest.

suncatTR
suncatTR

And they lie about their products. I remember when Apple put FaceTime [a.k.a., video chat] on the iPhone and made a big deal about it being new, innovative [yah know, like Microsoft innovative], except I had my Nokia phone in my hand and had been doing video calls for several years already. They also bragged about the iPhone camera which was pathetic compared to the one in my phone, not to mention the free GPS I have that I wouldn't have with an iPhone. Apple promises to fix security holes, but take months to do it, often without notifying users that there's a security problem at all. Apple promised creative pros that their new OS 10.7 would support their Apple Final Cut Pro software. Broke my heart AND potentially my wallet. They dumbed down FCP so it didn't do hardly anything it did before, was incompatible with expensive hardware and plugins, but it worked except when we need to work. It will cost at least $2000 to replace incompatible software and hardware, or maybe I'll stop with OS 10.6.

Paul A Thomas
Paul A Thomas

I love your resolve and innovative ideas. You have a franchise opportunity right there! If I was a real estate agent and you called me about a property needing some care you would win my business hands down. It's refreshing to hear your view on I.T. especially from a landscaper's perspective too!

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