The tablet market hasn’t been too friendly to Google’s Android operating system. Over the last year, consumers have been increasingly turning to Apple’s iPad to satisfy their tablet desires. Android-based products, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab0, Dell Streak and countless other slates, have been collecting dust on store shelves.
Of course, there are some who say that that will change. To prove their point, researchers and analysts point to Android’s slow start in the smartphone space before Android won a dominant share of the overall smartphone market. But so far, Android hasn’t lived up to the hype in the tablet space. So perhaps it’s time to question if Android really can make it in the tablet market. There’s no debating that it will have some slice of the tablet market, but it’s becoming more likely that it won’t be dominant. What’s more, it’s becoming far more possible now that Android might just become the “odd man out” in the tablet market. Don’t believe it? You should.
Although some consumers rebuff claims that Android security is an issue, for enterprise users, especially, it’s a major problem. So, as the iPad and Windows 8 tablets enter the enterprise, Android will be left out in the cold. And over time, that could have a profoundly negative impact on the operating system’s adoption.
2. The iPad Is King and Will Remain So
Apple’s iPad is the king of the tablet market. Some researchers say that eventually, the device will buckle under the pressure. But they’re wrong. The iPad is what people want and will continue to want in the coming years. Android-based tablets won’t significantly challenge iPad’s leadership.
3. iOS Is More Usable
Android is a fine operating system, but it’s not iOS. Consumers are making that abundantly clear with each new iPad they buy. Apple’s iOS is simple to use, it doesn’t suffer from security issues, and its feature set is top-notch. Android’s Honeycomb platform falls short in many of those areas. And until it turns things around, it’ll be on the outside looking in.
4. Windows 8 Has the Same Strategy
While the talk surrounding the tablet space is largely focused on Apple and Google, it’s important to point out that Windows 8 is coming. And when it launches, it could very well derail Android. Like Google, Microsoft is offering its operating system to any and all vendors, effectively pitting the two companies against each other. Given Windows’ success in the past, it should be quite interesting to see if Android can hold up against the Microsoft licensing juggernaut.
5. Vendors Are Lining Up for Windows 8
Speaking of Microsoft’s mobile strategy, it’s also worth noting that several vendors are already warming to the idea of bringing Windows 8-based tablets to the market. In fact, HP, Dell and Asus have all made their intentions known. In the coming months, even more companies will likely follow suit. When that happens, Google will have to wonder if vendors will offer both Windows 8 and Android tablets. There’s a good chance they won’t, especially if Windows 8 tablets outsell Android models.
6. Look at the Sales
This year, tens of millions of slates have been shipped worldwide, and the vendors are starting to assume their places behind Apple. However, Android sales are tiny, compared with Apple’s. And when Microsoft enters the market next year, things could get even worse. Despite what Google says, slower-than-expected tablet sales are making Android vendors nervous.
7. Smartphone Success Means Nothing
Just because Android is successful in the smartphone space, it doesn’t mean that it will have a strong showing in the tablet market. Smartphone customers and tablet customers are looking for very different things. So far, it appears they’re not as willing to adopt an Android device over the iPad. That could change, of course, but to simply assume that Android will be successful in tablets because it’s a winner with smartphones is ridiculous.
8. Consumer Confusion
Google has made the poor decision to offer several different versions of its Android operating system. Furthermore, its desire to let vendors modify the operating system however they see fit is becoming a liability in the tablet space. The iPad is successful in large part because people know what to expect from iOS. But an Android smartphone owner running Gingerbread will be lost on Honeycomb. That’s a major flaw in Google’s strategy. It’s hurting the company in a big way.
9. The Tablets Are Boring
When will Android vendors finally start innovating? Looking around the market, it’s filled with a host of devices that, in one way or another, fall short. Dell has arguably been the worst culprit, first unveiling the 5-inch Streak tablet, and then following that up with a similarly disappointing Streak 7. And although Samsung is commonly cited as a top iPad competitor, the Galaxy Tab’s design is derivative. Until Android vendors start taking chances, the operating system will continue to be an after-thought for consumers.
10. Google Seems Apathetic
Finally, we need to look at Google. There’s no debating Google wants to be successful in the tablet space, but for some reason, it hasn’t been so willing to help vendors out. Honeycomb was a mess at launch. It has yet to use its brand to help sell a single tablet the way it does with its “Nexus” line in the smartphone space, and it consistently focuses its mobile discussions on handsets. The time has come for Google to show it truly cares about tablets or watch Android become further marginalized.