Android Tablets

Google CEO Larry Page wandered into the touchy territory of Android tablets during this afternoon's investor conference call. That's, of course, relevant because while there are 5 bazillion models of Android tablets out there, none has really come anywhere close to the popularity of the iPad. That, and longstanding rumors have Google putting out its own tablet this summer, likely on the 7-inch side of things with a price that may or may not compete, depending on which rumor you go by.

So did Page shed any light on what might or might not be coming? Not so much.

Here's his answer:

I think that we're very excited about tablets. I think, you know, there's a number of Android tablets out there. Obviously, we have strong competition there as well. I think you've seen us really invest substantially in things like Google Play, which really gives you great access to entertainment, media, books and videos and so on, as well as the apps. And we think that's an important component on what we're doing.

I think there's also, obviously, there's been a lot of success on some lower-priced tablets that run Android -- maybe not the full Google version of Android. But we definitely believe that there's going to be a lot of success at the lower end of the market, as well, with lower-priced products that will be very significant. It's definitely an area we think is quite important and that we're quite focused on.

Not that we expected him to blurt out future plans or anything. Far from it. But you can't help but wonder that that says about the current state of Android tablets when Google's CEO trumpets the low-end ones that do more to muddy the waters than propel the ecosystem forward.

Larry Page on Android tablets by androidcentral
 

Reader comments

Larry Page on Android tablets: A lot of success on the low-end

20 Comments

Google needs to pick a few manufacturers and work more closely with them to get something solid out the door that kicks the IPADs ass. On the same token, how about they fix the damn touchscreen code so that its smooth. I wont own an Apple drone device but I'll be damned if they aren't smooth as butter. Sure its a small thing but if you are using it day in and day out, its a bigger deal and something we should have on the Android device...amongst other things like working GPS. (i'm looking at you Primmmmmee!!)

So in other words, the Kindle Fire is doing way better than most other Android tablets and it is doing it without using any trademark Google services. Would be interesting to hear their full opinions on the Kindle, yeah its adding to their OS numbers but they don't get a cut of the app sales.

All I want is a very high end power horse tablet, around 11 inches in size. I do not need a half spec'd 7 inch tablet when I got my Galaxy SII.

Looking forward to business class Win 8's.

Unless Google can fix audio latency, Android tablets are never going to be competitive with the iPad among musicians of any sort. I love my Galaxy Nexus, but if I was going to buy any tablet, it would almost certainly be an iPad, mostly because the music apps are vastly better.

And I think now is a good time to ask it again. I have been patient, but where is my New 11"+ Samsung Tablet. Either running dual Super Core or quad core, and the significant bump in screen resolution? These other recent SGTII's have got to be a stalling tactic. Come on, I'm ready!

I'm not sure if the low-end is going to succeed without a good ecosystem to back it up. Look at the state of the market for portable music devices after the release of the iPod.

High end devices CAN and DO succeed, it just depends on how they're executed. Low end can easily result in low quality if not done right.

"Look at the state of the market for portable music devices after the release of the iPod."

I have had several MP3 players in use in my home at any given time. My daughter has an iPod touch. for the price of her iPod touch (2nd generation - yes, its old...I know) I was able to buy 4 more MP3 players. All of them were Sandisc Sansa players and all of them have performed remarkably. Oh, and lets see, her iPod was 8gb. Each of those "Low End" Sansa's were 8gb...hmmm, lets see, 8 time 4 is....hmm, 32gb. Oh, and they had microSD card slots, and at 12 buck a piece for 8gb cards, lets see...8 times 4 again is another 32...so lets see, 64gb of storage space and great fidelity during playback, for the same price as an 8gb iPod... oh, and 4 people are having fun, instead of just one

Great. So Android really is turning into the Windows of Mobile.

People want cheap cheap cheap cheap cheap, and ti does NOTHING to propel technology.

Look at all the PC manufaturers out there that all they build is cheap. The cheap market brings nothing to the world. No innovation, no propulsion, and little competition on what is good. All it does is bring competition on "how can we possibly cut so much of this product so that it makes it less expensive?"

I look for value, not expense, but VALUE. What can I get for my dollar. I wish the general market thought that way a bit more rather than just "I want cheap cheap cheap."

I think he says "Think" too much! 8 sentences in his answer and 6 had the word think in them....He's the CEO of Google not IBM! :p

Listen, I love my Android tablet. I have a Transformer Prime. I have a lot of fun with it. I read in bed with the screen down low so it doesnt bother the wife, I listen to music at work. I surf the web, play some really cool games, watch some family videos, email. I even play around with the OS now and then. I really love this thing. Is this thing worth 500 bucks. Again, I love this thing but answering that question is like asking if a professional athlete deserves multi millions per year to play a game. The answer is subjective to the person answering the question. While I am a techno geek who embracesd all forms of technology, I personally do not feel this is worth 500 bucks. I would have been more comfortable with, say, 300 bucks. Dont get me wrong, it is an amazing machine (Quad core, lots of ram and storage, high end graphics, expandability and in general, high quality - yes, even with the "GPS issue" and "Wi-Fi issue" which I personally have not experienced) but 500 bucks is a lot for the average person to fork over in one shot. Thank god for tax returns and bonuses. I dont believe for one minute that this thing actually costs 500 bucks to build. You can show me build numbers all you want but the prices mentioned are for single sales, not bulk purchases.

Is price the reason that Android tablet sales are not in the iPad realm? I think it is part of it. So what is the reason you ask. Well, in my opinion, Android is the reason. Now wait a second before you blast me. I love everything Android but it is the cause of this disparity with the iPad. Let me explain.

1. MOST people who buy a tablet are looking for a media consumption device to watch movies, play games, read books and magazines and listen to music. MOST people dont want to think, they just want to do. Enter the iPad, perfect for the non thinker. Turn it on, download to your hearts content, consume. Android, well, it does all that and more but you have to work a little, which is part of the fun for us techno geeks

2. Too many devices and flavors. It took me weeks to wade through all of the reviews and technical jargon before I finally talked myself into spending the 500 on the Prime. I knew from the first review that the Prime was the best tablet available for Android but 500 bucks really stuck in my craw.

3. Too many devices and flavors. yes, I said it again. Listen, I knew when I bought the Prime that it would be obsolete very quickly. I had heard rumors of the Infinity. But let me tell you, the very next day after I bought the Prime, the infinity was confirmed and the release date was made public. Ouch, that just fkn hurts. I just paid 500 bucks for an obsolete device.

it is my humble opinion that the only thing that the Android tablet needs to make itself complete is a display with the high resolution and pixel count of the latest iPad. The companies making them have basically created the perfect template but they seem unwilling to go that extra mile. Its not like the iPad display is not achievable, because Apple did it. But even with a killer display and the rest of the features that set it apart from the iPad (expandability, ports, flash ect), the Android tablet will never become the tablet of choice. Why? Because people are basically cattle. They want things handed to them. They dont want to think or work for anything, and they iPad does that for them. For the rest of us, we will continue to explore and those that can, will create great new toys. But lets be honest here. A tablet is just that... A toy, and 500 bucks is a lot to swallow to buy a toy that will be obsolete in 3 months.

Im sorry that was so long. And one last point to make. The Kindle Fire is often touted as the Android tablet to beat. Can you guess why that is? Its cheap, does what it says it is supposed to do, and is a basic clone of the iPad in the fact that it is for those cattle out there. Lets be honest, the only reason the Kindle Fire is selling is because it is a lot cheaper than an iPad and poeple really want a tablet. I actually bought my son a Nook color, and after the latest update, it is basically a tablet without the tablet price. Sure, it isnt buttery smooth like mt Prime, but it plays Netflix just fine, has a bunch of apps that were worth the free price (hahaha... because even free isnt worth it sometimes). The only hack it needs is Google Play. I know Nook Color Tablet has slightly better specs, but it also cost almost 100 bucks more.

Why is the Kindle Fire doing so well? it is a media consumption device for those cattle out there that dont care about anything but price.

My biggest gripe and praise is the overabundance of variety in the Android tablet realm. On the plus side, there is surely a model to meet your needs. On the down side, retialerss and manufactures tend to not stock accessories for the multitude, but rather trend towards "universal" products. I personally own a Toshiba Thrive. I wish I could find a local store that sold more Thrive accessories, but alas all I can find are the back covers and the dock. I want a case, but I can only find them on Amazon, where I can not get a feel for it before I buy.

This pains me to say, but Apple has it right in that it comes in a few form factors, meaning manufactures have a single design to customize around.

You are so right about the accessories. I was in Staples the other day. Physically, in the store, they sell the Transformer Prime, Acer Tab (not sure which version) and the Galaxy Tab. As for accessories, they sell....yup, you guessed it. iPad accessories. They literally had 12 ft of shelf space times 4 shelves high dedicated to iPad accessories. Everything from replacement power cords right down to the Angry Birds hard shell case. WTF. They dont even sell the iPad in the store. I say if you are going to sell an item in your brick and morter store, then you better have accessories for it.

Android succeeded as a phone platform because they flooded the market and battled Apple from the low end as much as from the high end, tablets will only succeed if they do the same thing. Dunno why anyone finds that surprising; specially considering tablets are still an un-subsidized luxury device for most people, their 3rd/4th computing device in most cases.

Only reason I own an original Transformer (which I do love) is that I got it for $300 last summer during Office Depot's $100 off promo, otherwise I'd still be waiting to purchase a tablet or I'd have ended up with a Fire.

It's not that I can't afford a $500-600 model, I upgrade phones every year (heck I just spent $100 on a mechanical keyboard for my desktop), a tablet just isn't worth more than that to me and many other people.