No-name Android tablets on the rise: cheap doesn’t necessarily mean poor quality

April 17, 2012

Buying a non-branded Android tablet might be something that many frown upon, but a no-brainer for others. If you’re a member of the second category, you probably don’t care the first thing about branding and you are likely to be satisfied with the purchase, as long as the product is cheap enough to justify its not-so-impressive quality and features.

Over the last couple of months, we’ve seen a good number of white-label Android tablets entering the market, which have, gasp, more than a decent set of specs, yet are still priced competitively compared to brand name devices. The common conception that paying a hundred bucks or less for a tablet will get you a lemon isn’t necessarily true anymore.

Judging by the impressive shipment numbers of China-based white-label Android tablets, which according to market researcher eMedia Asia, reach three million units every month this year, you shouldn’t be surprised to see tablets becoming an increasingly common sight, not only in Silicon Valley or Manhattan, but in developing countries as well.

By comparison, in 2011, the average number of white-label slates shipped every month reached just shy of a million. According to the same research firm, up to 50 million units of white-label Android tablets will be shipped in 2012.

Given the dominance enjoyed by iOS and Android in North America and Western Europe, Chinese OEMs are focusing their attention to markets in Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. A flurry of tablets coming in all shapes and sizes, from 7-inch to 10.1-inch and larger, are mass produced in China to meet the growing appetite for tablets of the developing world.

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to find a reasonable quality Android tablet that comes with 1024 x 600 resolution and 4GB of internal storage at $100. More often than not, these “no-name” devices will even ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. They also come with some features that are not present on pricier competing products, such as HDMI out and regular USB slots. Ultimately, we may have to thank these small manufacturers, as they put pressure on big vendors to reduce the prices of their own Android tablets.

What’s next for white-label Android tablet manufacturers? The market for affordable Android tablets may not be able to sustain the hundred or so China-based manufacturers – according to Digitimes — that are now churning tablets out by the millions. We may see one or two becoming the next HTC, while the rest will remain in the background until the trend fades away.

What’s clear though, there’ll  always be a market for cheap but reasonably well-built Android tablets.

Comments

  • Graham Laight

    I approve of this article – a strongly positive and hopeful message!!!

  • Anamika

    Allwinner A10 based tablets are flooding indian markets. Price around $100-$150 they are way cheaper then name brands

  • MargaretNKinnley

    Great article, ty

    http://goo.gl/2Ey5F

  • EddieT

    actually, the market is getting flooded with off-branded Android everything devices.. from: car audio, MP3 players, smart watches, e-readers, cordless phones, TV’s and soon to be on netbooks, video game consoles, gps ski goggles, smart refrigerators, smart microwaves, and more.. so, i think the trend will be better acceptance with cheaper priced Android devices as a whole :)

  • Cube

    I like these cheep andoid tablets I have one stuck to my fridge with 3m picture hanging strips to order pizza.

    I have another one to do stupid stuff with too.

  • Spotfist
  • Tesqie

    This is such a well done article that i have decided to write one supporting it! You explain no name Android tablets very well and i showed all my customers this here http://www.tesqie.com/blog/No-name-Android-Tablets/ .Keep Doing what you do best :)

  • aylanc3

    I had the chance to compare an noname (allwinner) tablet and a Samsung galaxy tab P1010. The noname tablet sucks! Poor performance even when tech-data says 1.2 Ghz prozessor besides of the 1 Ghz of Samsung. Angry birds not playable because of the poor GPU.

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/the-problem-with-99-android-tablets-they-suck/17636

  • SomeGuy

    One of the biggest cons of no-name Android tablets is that you get no support for modding the device…no custom roms & in some cases no firmware updates.

  • mikec711

    I am new to the tablet world, saw a nice looking tablet on eBay and bought it. It is a 7″ noName w/IceCreamSandwich. Problem is, it is “not compatible” with most of the apps I run on my iPhone (apps that have an android version that should support 4.0.4). I am trying to contact the seller to see if/how I can upgrade to KitKat … but in the likely event I kick this one to the curb … the next tablet will be from recognizable brand. Hopefully black Friday will help. I am looking to extend into mobile dev (right now for POCs for customers et al) … anyone got recommendations for best Android tablets to do mobile dev (using IBM Worklight as the primary touchPoint)?