Dec 19, 2011
This promises to be a huge time of year for Android tablets: between the Kindle Fire being the most gifted item on Amazon, Barnes and Noble launching their new Nook devices including the Nook Tablet along with the still-on-the-market Nook Color. Plus, the Nook Touch is actually an Android device with an e-ink screen, and it’s actually possible to run Android apps on it after rooting it. This is very unsupported functionality, though. This is along with other cheap Android tablets that are on the market at bargain basement prices, and those high-end models at the iPad’s price point.
While sales will obviously be a huge barometer for the success of these devices, the other question will be quite simply if users will enjoy these Android tablets. Like it or not, the iPad is still the champion of the tablet market and what users are going to compare these tablets to. If the tablets don’t perform up to snuff, will people lose any faith in Android? The greatest fear that Google and other Android supporters have to have is that the current rush on Android tablets winds up creating a greater demand for tablets, but a dislike of the Android tablets released causes people to just be driven to the iPad. Long-term, these cheaper tablets may be bad for Android.
I personally have been telling friends interested in tablets that the iPad is a superior choice to the Android tablets. In particular, the smaller app selection on the Nook and Amazon stores represents a stumbling block, especially as even with Market access these tablets still pale in comparison to the iPad in terms of apps. Cost is a concern with them, and that is where Android tablets will succeed – being a fraction of the cost is a humongous selling point that the iPad just can’t compete with.
As one Twitter user pointed out, many tablets like the Kindle Fire are being given as gifts, and if users dislike them and start to try and return them or sell them secondhand en masse after Christmas, Hanukkah, and Festivus, then Android vendors could be seeing a lump of coal come next year when the next round of Android tablets come out.