Competitors still struggling in the shadow of the iPad

Galaxy Tab, PlayBook, TouchPad still struggling in the shadow of the iPad

While I can't claim for sure TiPb was the first to say there wasn't a tablet market, just an iPad market, we've been talking for a long time now about how the iPad has become so dominant, so fast, it's left very little room in mainstream hearts and wallets for competitors. The latest cases in point:

  • According to The Guardian, Lenovo director of consumer products, Andrew Barrow, said rival Samsung has only sold some 20,000 for the 1 million Galaxy Tab 7s they'd stuffed into channels last year. Also, due to Apple's economies of scale and component pricing advantage, trying to undercut them with cheaper tablets "would be giving money away." Will newer Galaxy Tabs that blur the lines between phones (5.5) and full on tablets (10.1) change anything?

  • Meanwhile Android Central says the HTC Jetstream is now available on AT&T for... $699 on two year contract or $849 unsubsidized. The Jetstream specs features look interesting, even the HTC Scribe stylus, but at that price I'm guessing not many people will even give it a chance.

  • PCMag says Best Buy is cutting $150 off the price tag of the BlackBerry PlayBook 64GB. Again, with iPad starting at $499 and HP's TouchPad having been on fire sale for $99, it's tough for small tablets to justify big price tags. Will BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 turn that around, or will RIM have to suck it up and cut costs to gain share?

  • Lastly, and sadly, while HP will be doing another limited run of TouchPad's to keep manufacturing partners happy, they don't seem to be changing their minds about investing in webOS tablet hardware in the long run. They don't even seem able to put out the larger capacity, different colored devices they had on the roadmap. And Derek from PreCentral.net so wanted one in white!

Is anyone besides Apple close to getting this right yet? When iPad 3 launches next spring, am I going to have anyone else even trying to tempt me away from it? Amazon? JooJoo? Who?

[The Guardian, Android Central, PCMag, HP]

Georgia

Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, hosts the ZEN & TECH podcast, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Prime.

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There are 51 comments. Add yours.

sellitman says:

While my 1st choice would of been an iPad , I have to say my $99 dollar Touchpad is a wonderful device. With flash I dare say its a better product to surf with. The only downfall is the lack of Apps.

Ruben says:

Which makes it a not so great device since functionality is limited huh.

Tony Allen says:

Considering he can surf the entire web, emails, social networking, multitask very efficiently and be productive, I'd say you're pretty off huh?
The only thing he is missing is Apple's giant catalog of mostly useless apps. However, the homebrew scene for WebOS is far from over, the devs will live on and help keep this device alive, not to mention the eventual inevitability of this thing running Android and doing it well after the Tablet/Phone mashup 'Ice Cream Sandwich' comes out. Limited functionality? I think most certainly not. I sold off my iPad 3G and am in the market for a TouchPad, apps and apps alone aren't enough to keep everyone around, I could care less about playing Angry Birds, or Plants vs Zombies on my tablet, I want a powerful, portable, and usable web experience without bounds, and the TouchPad does just that. I could not say the same about my iPad.. constantly crashing, browser qwirks, a few random reboots, and I hadn't even jailbroken the hunk of aluminum and glass.

allmotor91 says:

You never owned an iPad if you claim it crashes and it's buggy. I think you used an android tablet and thought it was an iPad. Silly troll.

FlopTech says:

Could be worth a lot of money as a collectors' item. In about 50-100 years.

Dev says:

The latest Android tablets have gotten their part right (arguably, but IMHO they are pretty nice), but that is not enough to crack the market, not by a long shot. When you are taking on an 800-lb gorilla in a market, you have to be significantly cheaper, significantly better, or do one in-demand thing the big guy can't or won't. Even if you grant the Tabs have caught up to the iPad, they have not surpassed the iPad in any of these ways, and, until they do, they are going to struggle to find sales.

Tony Allen says:

Having spent time with a few HC Tabs and an extensive amount of time with my iPad, I find the Android tab to be significantly better, and I consider $100 off of something that based on the cheapest iPad, which is where people point fingers, considerably cheaper. It will crack the market as time passes, more and more people are buying Android tablets. Just as it has exploded with Android phones. The main difference is, people don't need tablets, people do need phones, and more and more everyday are opting for smartphones. Many of them find Android more attractive and useful than iOS.

Chris says:

and most look to HTC since that is the only maker who actully makes Android look nice.
I still prefer HTC Sense over the dated iOS look. Plus the added fuincationalty it gives.

Dev says:

...and as more and more people think like you, Android tablet sales will increase. I hope they do. A pure monoculture is bad and eventually leads to stagnation, no matter who is in the driver's seat.

Calvin Boekhoven says:

Yeah it is easy to control the market and make it an "iPad" market when the parent company sues the pants off of its competitors to stop the spread of competing products. To me this simply means Apple got a little irked by the success of some certain Android based tablets and pulled out the big gun lawyers. Obviously this is just my opinion but I'm guessing I'm not the only one out there who feels this way

Ruben sepulveda says:

Umm there hasn't been any successs of any tablet except the iPad :)It easy to say that what comes up must come down, that's understood, there is no insight there. You can't steal an idea or create one similar and hope that people see it and think it's the same as the iPad because it's not:( be original I say that my opinion. :) and your an idiot.

Chris says:

The only idiot is you.

roseventyfour says:

your right dude. Android tries so hard to be iOS but it's not gonna happen.

allmotor91 says:

Witch android tablet sold enough to make apple worry? None of them did your high on something.

Chris says:

Apple is worried over some of the features that some of these tablets have that the iPad may never get. Docks, multiple speakers, resizable widgets. high res 16:9 screens.

troyanthony says:

Obviously the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 had Apple scared or else they never would have spent all the time and money suing them. If the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 sucks then Apple should let it fail like the HP Touch Pad or Black Berry Play Book.
P.S. The only reason Apple adds features like Cut & Paste and Voice Command and larger screens and faster processors and multi-tasking and better notifications and folders is because Android fanboys brag about it enough that Apple eventually adds it to their OS. Loyal Apple users should thank Android for pushing the envelope and making Apple give them new features.

FlopTech says:

Welcome to the real world.

troyanthony says:

If Android Tablets are not a threat to Apple then why are they spending so much money suing everyone? Let companies sell their product (that you claim is so inferior) and let the market choose what survives and what doesn't. I thought the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 was way better than the Ipad 2. Android pushes the envelope on new features and Apple just plays catch up. I will say that the Ipad is a very smooth running machine but if you don't like to be locked down then what are your options? If Apple has their way there will be no options in the tablet market expect for the iPad. Once Apple has no competition in the tablet market cause they sued everyone, lets see how eager they are to give you the latest and greatest technology. The one who benefits from competition is the consumer.

fastlane says:

You shop in the no-name aisle, don't you? You make your kids hang their sweat socks up for Santa, you wrap their gifts with newspaper, and when they open them you tell them Android's just as good, right?
C'mon, I nailed it, didn't I?

Guest says:

And people wonder why Apple fans have a reputation of being spoiled snobby elitists...

fastlane says:

Ahh, so you weren't around during the two decades of snobby elitist Windows users viewing the Apple crowd as pathetic, lowlife outcasts? True story, ask your dad.

Guest says:

Well at least we know you're still pathetic!

fastlane says:

Please don't be bitter. You're rescued now. You're very late to the party with egg on your face, but you still found your way here. Good for you.

Guest says:

Windows users? Snobby?
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
What color is the sky in your world?

troyanthony says:

We will talk about how good Apple is when you get a bigger iPhone screen, improve your notifications, get scrollable widgets, can pull off your back and add a new battery so you don't have to charge it, get live wall papers, improve your multi-tasking, get Flash support, have an HDMI port, stereo speakers, true 16.9 resolution so you don't get the black bars on your videos, flash on your iPad camera, SHOULD I KEEP GOING? And don't say you don't care about the above things because you do and to prove it Apple is just about to give you all the above things that Android has for a LONG TIME!

roseventyfour says:

And even with those iOS problems Android still sucks. You would do better to go to an Android site and make these silly pointless comments.

fastlane says:

Nope, You've listed nothing important at all.
Bigger screen? I can see either size without any problems. Do you need glasses?
Flash? Are you kidding? It's 2011. I used to be a Flash developer back when it was useful. I don't miss that albatross one bit.
Removable pieces for a battery? Uh... they sell chargers everywhere, dude. Pick one up.
Widgets? (laughs)
You having a problem with your notifications? Well, that sucks for you, I guess.
16.9? Wow, do neckbeards really lose sleep over things like this?
First, Google's logo looks like it belongs on a Kids' cereal box, or a bag of jelly beans. Now, they have a little green robot cartoon mascot, and give their work names like "ice cream sandwich?" Time to grow up, be a big boy, and buy Apple products.
Hey, you can "keep going" as much as you'd like... but it's still the generic brand copy-cat for the broke-ass bargain hunters.

Gregz0r says:

Any excuse to say 'JooJoo', hehe.

Mcblair92 says:

The nook color is not competing against the iPad. It is competing against the Kindle. Just because it is a tablet doesn't make it a "Tablet".

Tony Allen says:

Don't know if I will see the correlation of the Amazon Tab and the MotoDroid. I think the Amazon tablets downfall will be that it likely won't have access to the official Google Android Market, that being said, hardware specs, and raw price, cutting the ipad down to its knees.
Apple keeps its products competitive as a result of marketing, and cramming as little as possible into a very polished, simple, gorgeous looking product. iPad for example, lets go with the original iPad, because un-arguably it looks better. It's gorgeous, had great intention. It sold like crazy because it was a cheap alternative to the tablet computers that were already around for a decade. It also used an OS that millions of users were familiar with. Things were cut down, like memory, and power. Things Apple isn't supposed to be concerned about, because their customers don't care about specs or numbers. Which is true, however the issue with blindsiding consumers with this sort of folly is that, when they finally start to use and abuse something like iPad with its limited power, the browser will crash when trying to load certain websites, or page redraws will occur every time you switch tabs. This was the number one downfall of my experience with my iPad. It needed more, it had what Apple sold it as, but it left me craving for more power, this of course would cause iPad to cost a considerable amount more and that wouldn't hold onto that $499 entry level pricetag.
Enter Android tablets, this isn't entirely true as a lot of them haven't been priced well, the Xoom for instance was outrageously priced at launch, Verizon knew so, Motorola knew so, and so did consumers. They spoke with their wallets and continued to purchase iPads. Price of the Xoom has been brought down considerably with the release of other tabs such as the Galaxy 10.1 in places permitting thanks to Apple, Acer Iconia, Toshiba Thrive, and Asus Transformer. These are all in the realm of price with the base iPad 2. Some offering more function and power for a cheaper price point. You're not stuck to Apple's iEnvironment, which for some is a benefit, I know tons of people who love their iPhone/iPad but can't stand iTunes. It all comes down to choice. If you have bought into the iOS environment, with all of the needed software and accessories, then you're going to continue to buy Apple's products. If you're like me, on the fence, you will venture out and try other things, alternatives such as the TouchPad, or pick up a Honeycomb tablet. All of them have the same ideal, just brought forth quite differently within each representation of what a manufacturer thinks a tablet should be to a user.

FlopTech says:

Re: " Amazon tablets downfall will be that it likely won't have access to the official Google Android Market"
Amazon has zero interest in the Android Market Weedpatch. Amazon wants to sell their own content and products. Duhhh.
Re: "hardware specs, and raw price, cutting the ipad down to its knees"
Oh god. He's bringing specs to an experience fight. Again. It's almost funny. Oh, and as for price, welcome to the race to the bottom. Worked for HP. Oh wait...

Tony Allen says:
  • The 7" tablet is a good size, it comes down to being able to have choice and preference. Some people will prefer a smaller tab to the larger 10" options. Just like not everyone wants to have a phone with a keyboard, but there are still many that insist on it.

-I'm going to assume that you're ignoring the fact that most computer desktop monitors and laptop display panels are widescreen format. If I wanted 4:3, I'd still have a big ol CRT sitting up on my desk. Not only better, but almost all video/visual media nowadays is designed around the idea of a 16:9-10 aspect ratio. You indeed are incorrect about the need for an ancient aspect ratio on a tablet.
So much for being a pundit. I do have a question about the rapid fragmentation you mentioned. All of the Android tablets in question here are using, or are planned to have used 3.0, 3.1, or 3.2. There are minute differences between them, but all are completely relevant. Stop using the bullshit buzzword 'fragmentation' it's ridiculous and really needs to stop being phrased in a way to point out some magical weakness in Android, when funny enough, Apple has plenty of its own 'fragmentation' on board, but you pundits wouldn't want to hear it would you?

Chris says:

Well said. Like I mentioned above the Verizon iPhone is running a different iOs then the ATT one.

Icebox93 says:

Archos has been making tablets longer than others (including Apple) and their new devices coming out in the fall are sharp looking and have excellent specs. They haven't had lots of success in the US but they have in Europe. One reason I'm partial to Archos is that they have devices with large hard drives so you can carry lots of media around. They seem to be targeting the iPad market as the new devices will be 8" and 10".

Chris says:
  1. 7" is great for those who want a smaller tablet and trust me there is a market for it.
  2. Honeycomb is honeycomb. 3.0/3.1/3.2 is just like iOs 4.1, 4.2 4.3 etc. Yet the Verizion iPhone us not running the same as the ATt iPhone....
  3. So all the displays including the MacBooks and imacs shouldnt be in 16:9? (the iMac and 11" macbook air are 16:9 while the rest of the line is 16:10) Many websites are being tweaked for wide screen viewing. why? because thats the way the world is going to.
Loz says:

iPad 3. I don't think you need to say anything more to any of the comments here. We are approaching version 3 and no one has caught up with version 1 yet.

Chris says:

Is that you saying that or you just coping Apple? If its the later then get your own opinion kid!

fastlane says:

Apparently, he just gets out of the house a lot more than you.

Icebox93 says:

Well IIRC amazon has less friendly policies for developers, so why would they?

Chris says:
  1. Both? Have the specs even been announced for the 7" kindle tab? Regardless 2.3.4 is still the most current android relase. Ice Cream sandwhich is out this fall and that will finally bring both the tablet OS and the Phone OS in to one. (still with an awfull GUI, but hey thats what Sense is for)
  2. Its still a device. Now if Jobs created the iPad from the start to have a 16:9 or 16:10 display you wopuld be phrasing it from left to right and saying its the BEST thing since sliced bread,
FlopTech says:

The Amazon tablet will kill off all other droid-based iPad clones except one: the Motoroogle iPad clone. Amazon has infrastructure and mindshare, and its Kindle pad will be a clear but very distant #2 behind iPad.
Too bad for Google that it won't use much of the actual Android code other than the bare kernel. The "profit layer" has been replaced by Amazon's. (See what "open" really means?)
The Motoroogle clone will get every unfair advantage Google can give it. $12.5 billion says so. It's the only "pure Android" iPad clone left. Stab HTC, Samsung, and HTC in the back like that and they get friendly with Microsoft. Boom.

Chris says:

Given Rene changed the comments up in request to a 13 year old child (as usual. Silly Canadians) I can not replay to your last comment. but the iPad is much more then just "web browsing"

Jay Mobile says:

If you don't have an iPad well... you don't have an iPad
The more Android hates the more iPads will be sold you don't have to like it but the facts speak for themselves. For me I prefer the iPad but if you like the Galaxy Tab better than that is great too however lets stop the finger pointing because in the end neither Apple nor Samsung, or Google give a crap about us. All that matters to them is that we keep making them richer

roseventyfour says:

Just because you stand in a store and tell yourself hey this is better than that doesn't mean anything. Apps are what makes these things so appealing and guess what? Android apps SUCK (for lack of a better word). Once you get this $500 toy home and realize you can't do anything with it except surf the web with tabs and flash, believe me your going to be pissed because the computer you undoubtedly have does the same thing. These things do not replace laptops they are multimedia devices. If i want a movie i know to go to iTunes. If I want music I know to go to iTunes. If I want a TV show i know to go to iTunes. When I had an Android phone I never put anything on it because i couldn't tell you now or then how to get it. HP touchpad sold like crazy when the price was low. Maybe that's the key, undercut iOS prices and stop trying to match iOS prices, because your experience doesn't match iOS. And yes i have played with Android tablets, and yes they still lag and force close. The truth hurts i guess.

roseventyfour says:

So even the Nook color has sold more than all Android tablets combined.

Speedvx says:

First of all, a comment for Georgia. Why is it "sad" that HP isn't changing its mind about webOS? This is an iPad site, not a site for a never was/has been of an OS! It's not sad that webOS is being killed off -- it's a good thing! Fewer options in the marketplace allow Apple to focus on making the best products even better and free up developers from having to think about a different OS. Can you imagine how much better things would be if there were no Android, no Blackberry, no Windows? Developers would be free to laser in on making great iOS apps.
Second -- can we please stop, just stop, all the talk about any tablets that aren't 10 inches? Steve Jobs was dead one -- virtually NO ONE wants any other size. There is absolutely no use in wasting the electrons on TiPb to even mention them. As usual, Steve was dead on target.
Third -- Amazon's tablet is DOA. There's no market for it. The iPad is a better everything than any other device on the market (and yes, I'm including the useless Nook, Nook Color, Kindle, whatever). Anyone who buys these products are simply drinking the Kool-Aid and not understanding what they're giving up.
Fourth -- Alfiejr -- sorry, but you are wrong. The Nook Color is not even a modest success. It is an abysmal piece of technology and an abysmal sales failure. Put the numbers side by side with the iPad. They don't hold up. And I laughed out loud when I saw you try to be PC about a "modest" number of people who want to use a "tweener" device. See my reasoning above.

Bob Waltman says:

First of all let me say that I don't hate or dislike Android tablets and I do own an iPad 2 and an iPad first gen.
Some here have said that the iPad is under powered and that other tablets have better specs. When you control the software and hardware you can tweak it to to run flawlessly on what may seem like inferior hardware. Just because the processor/memory may not be up to some Android tablet's specs doesn't at all mean that iOS runs slow. I've tried just about every type of app on my iPads and I have never had an issue. My browser (Safari) never crashed and only a few apps have, however it was the fault of the app and not iOS. The app developers (Usually) release fixes pretty quickly to get rid of crashing issues.
As to the point that Android is fragmented, I agree that the term is overused but the fact of the matter is that it is fragmented. Where iOS is designed to run with 3 devices Android is designed to run on many devices. Google has no control once HTC, Samsung, LG or whoever else gets the OS and starts tweaking it and changing it to accommodate their devices.
While handset makers keep releasing more and more powerful Android smartphones it doesn't necessarily translate to a better experience. The true test for Apple will come when Motorola starts releasing phones and tablets that are tightly controlled by Google. That's when you may start seeing Android shine.
As for 16:9 form factor, have you ever held one? It really is odd and unnatural feeling. That's why a Nook or Kindle or iPad is so much more comfortable to hold.
Lastly, I have an Evo 4G. I've had it for about 8 months and I have tried many different apps. My experience has been that Android apps suck. Yes there are a very few decent ones and I'm not referring to games, but for the most part they really do suck. iOS versions of any Android app are much better designed both in look and functionality. I was hoping that Google would release Photovine for Android since Instagram isn't available but instead they went with an iOS version. Kind of makes you wonder!!

Daniel King says:

Apple's domination of the market is like watching Mike Tyson fight Floyd Mayweather, ridiculous. After a while, even the fanboys have to start thinking about finding something else to get in to. I think that it's truly bad for the market. Just like the iPod has overshadowed the mp3 player market, the same is what's happening to the iPad. Just think that most people call any mp3 player an iPod even if you tell them it isn't (I have a Zune HD & a Zune 30 and got this all the time). The same is happening to the tablet market. To the average consumer they're all called iPads, right? As is happening to the iPod right now, eventually it will peak and everyone will have seen an iPad for the next 10 years and say, "what else ya got?". I think other manufacturers need to balls up and make devices that don't emulate the iStuff, but challenge it head on. I think Samsung has the best chance of taking some of that market, that is, if they can get past this patent thing. Will designs vary? Not by much, how can they? There are only so many ways to design a rectangle can they vary more than they do? Sure. I'll stop now because I feel like I'm about to start rambling, but just think how excited you would actually be if Apple had to present you with something spectacular every year, or couple of years, instead of minor changes that we allow to be "groundbreaking" and "magical". I think we'd all benefit from that.
Signed,
A guy who just wants competition

Bob Waltman says:

I agree 100%. While I have an iPad I still want to see some successful competition. But I disagree with you on who it may be. I believe that Microsoft will eventually become iPad's biggest threat and competitor.
Microsoft has what Apple has, an ecosystem. It may not be as extensive as Apples at the moment but Microsoft is rich enough and big enough to change that. As it stands now they have XBOX which is a huge deal and can compete on it's own against iOS gaming and even though some may laugh, they also have Zune. I too own a Zune and I would love to see Microsoft do something special with it. I think I would scrap the Zune software in favor of an iTunes competing app store/music/video store. You can't say that Zune is an iTunes competitor because it ONLY works with Zune devices. It has to be able to sync with more than just the Zune. Maybe rebuilding Windows Media Player from ground up and incorporating the Zune and app store into it???
The bottom line is that competition is good. If Apple starts feeling the heat they'll make better devices. As good as they are now their aren't perfect and can use some additional features. As much as I love my iPad I want to se better and better as new devices are released.
I have a feeling Windows 8 will become a major player in the mobile space and will eclipse Android rather quickly.

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