In case you haven’t noticed people have been going crazy these days over the $99 HP TouchPad. The only problem? They’ve sold out way too early, and a lot more people would want one. It seems that people don’t care that much about the availability of apps as long as it’s a tablet with a good browser and of course the core apps such as e-mail clients, music players, and so on.
The hardware for the TouchPad is very powerful. It’s a 1.2 Ghz Qualcomm processor, like the one found in HTC Sensation. So as soon as Google open sources Android 4.0 this fall, which will work for both phones and tablets, you can be sure that there will be a stable Android 4.0 ROM on it by Christmas time. ROM developers are already working on porting Android 2.3 to it. And for the $99 price and the high quality of the tablet, you just can’t beat it as an Android tablet. If enough Android fans are buying these tablets right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if, ironically enough, the TouchPad would be one of the most popular Android tablets out there by the end of the year.
If Google and manufacturers are smart, instead of focusing 100% of their energy on competing with Apple at the $500 level (or worse at $800 level like Motorola did), they should spend at least half of that time making quality $250(or less) tablets.
If you ask most people now, they’d probably tell you they don’t feel the need to spend $500 on a tablet – any tablet – including the iPad. But what about $250 or less? The more the price drops, the more tempting the tablets feel, even to people who weren’t even considering them before.
Specs are important. They are part of the experience. The faster the processor, the faster your web page will load. But there is such a thing as “good enough”. As long as a tablet is fast enough, say with a 1 Ghz Cortex A8 chip, has a decent resolution, a quality display with good viewing angles (most important part in a tablet) and it’s light enough, they will be good enough for most people who don’t even know that “quad core tablets” already exist.
Manufacturers could invade the market very quickly and this in turn will convince many more developers to make Android tablet apps. Does that mean there shouldn’t be $500 Android tablets anymore? Absolutely not. I, for one, don’t think I’d even be happy with the performance of a Kal-El tablet, and I’m probably going to wait until quad core 2.5 Ghz Transformer tablets appear, and that’s because I want to turn it into a main computer whenever I’ll get one. But that’s just me, and I don’t think most people are like that. As long as the UI moves well enough, web pages load in a reasonable amount of time, and they can read books on them, a 1 Ghz chip will be more than enough for these tablets.