Android Honeycomb Tablets: Ipad Competitor Worthy?

February 28, 2011
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A recent posting on Business Insider titled, “The Truth About The iPad, Day 300: I Barely Use It Anymore,” details the experiences of Senior Staff Writer Dan Frommer, and why he has fallen out of favor with Apple’s once huge tech darling. I too, no longer use my Ipad at all, and most of my friends don’t either.

Perhaps the reason why the novelty of using the Ipad has worn off is because it has limited expandability in the areas of true customization, and because many of the cutting edge apps are no longer being actively developed for it.

Comments on the Business Insider article only serve to confirm Dan’s opinions, and we know too that most Ipad users don’t frequently use theirs anymore either. As any savvy tech person knows, the Ipad is really nothing more than a glorified, large screen Iphone.

Honeycomb Represents A Step in the Right Direction

We happen to believe that Android 3.0 Honeycomb, while not perfect, is a significant and substantial step in the right direction. This is an operating system designed from the ground up – and specifically with tablets in mind. Its user interface and user experience are light years ahead of previous iterations of Android, which weren’t designed or optimized to be used on a larger screen.

Adding to the endless customizability that characterizes Android, we believe that Honeycomb is going to be a big hit with power users, and with users who desire more from their mobile tech. Most users of tablets claim that web browsing is probably the most important function to them. Android 3.0 Honeycomb appears to address this in a big way, with its widescreen functionality, tabbed browsing, (future) flash support, and more. Further to this, the ability to add browser extensions will be big hit with users too.

While the Ipad certainly will always appeal to specific demographics, it is likely to lose a significant share of its following as more powerful, more customizable, and better value tablets come to market in 2011.

Tablets themselves are a new phenomenon – and are still very new to the majority of people.

While we are not arguing that Google’s Android 3.0 Honeycomb is perfect, it does present a significant step in the right direction, and is likely to take a pretty sizable amount of market share away from the Ipad in the future. Just like Android became the top smartphone operating system within a few years, Honeycomb is likely to repeat this rapid ascent to the top tablet spot in the future too.

Google is ambitiously courting developers, and is working hard to make it easy for them to bring great apps to market. This being said, many bloggers and journalists have recently written that they feel the release of Honeycomb on the Motorola Xoom feels a bit rushed. Certain apps crash, or can’t go from landscape to portrait, etc.  We have also received some comments on our site that indicate the popular Words With Friends App fails to live up to expectations, and prohibits a significant portion of information necessary to play the game itself from displaying on the screen. So, what gives? While we love Android at this site, we also expect, demand, and want more.

With Adobe Flash not functioning until the 10.2 update, and with 4G requiring a 6 day hiatus from the owner’s hands – we have our sincere doubts as to the initial success of Honeycomb tablets. We do, however, recall the debut of Android 1.0 all too well. To be blunt, it wasn’t perfect execution, but it still was pretty good. Since then, Android has steadily improved in nearly every way, and we expect the same to occur for Android 3.0 Honeycomb too.

Greedy Companies Kill Tablet Interest

We, and many others too, believe that tablets are still too expensive. Motorola and the other manufacturers have opted to put a significant price premium on their tablet offerings, and we believe this is a foolish approach. At $800 unlocked for most Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets, we believe most consumers are going to sit on the sidelines until they approach the 300-400$ price point. We know the components inside these devices, plus the cost of manufacturing, puts them at around $207-$235 each. With this in mind, we consider an asking price of $800 absolutely uncalled for.

That being said, most of the companies making Android devices make little to no money off the phones themselves, so who’s to blame them? Any and all competition in the world of mobile technology will only serve to further the interests of us – the consumers.

What are your thoughts? Is $800 too much to ask for a tablet? How much would you be willing to pay?

 

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