Feb 28, 2012
Andy Rubin, the head of the Android division at Google, has said that Android tablets are going to be a priority for Google this year and that “2012 is going to be the year that we double down and make sure we’re winning in that space.” He revealed some sales numbers for Android tablets: 12 million, compared to 50 million-plus for the iPad. It’s unknown if this number includes non-Google tablets like the Nook line and the Kindle Fire. He specifically mentioned the current lack of Android tablet apps when speaking to The Verge, saying that “Fundamentally you shouldn’t have to have a third-party developer build his app twice,” possibly explaining why there isn’t a distinction between phone and tablet apps like there is on iOS.
The answer to their Android tablet concerns could be a rumored Nexus Tablet: a seven-inch tablet that would feature Ice Cream Sandwich and a 1280×800 display at a $199 cost, that could serve as Google’s way to push the Android experience on a budget tablet. It would be an interesting move, considering that most of the Google Experience Android tablets are ten-inch devices. Still, these smaller devices are currently defining the difference between Android and iOS tablets, so they may be the best move for Android devices to tap into that market.
However, hardware manufacturers like Nvidia continue to push devices like the Tegra 3 which are going into tablets like the currently-available Transformer Prime, and Asus’ own MeMo 370T which will boast the quad-core processor. As well, with Google continuing their move to purchase Motorola Mobility and installing their own executives, they may be continuing to budge into third-party manufacturers’ territories.
However, considering that Android provides manufacturers a low-cost operating system with hundreds of thousands of apps, Google’s moves may not dissuade them. Google has shown little interest in running out anyone else making Android devices from the market, and there are plenty of low-end customers with phones that the manufacturers may be able to cover. Google definitely wants a slice of that pie, though.