Android Tablets - An Abysmal State of Affairs


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  1. Drhyde

    Drhyde Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    First off, let me say that I love Android. I love the freedom to customize, I love the functionality (both included and added later on), I like most of the custom UIs, and I even like our faithful little android, Andy. However, I must say, as of this current timeline, the tablet market for Android is downright horrifying.

    The tablet market as it stands now is reminiscent of the phone market before the Nexus One and Droid hit. Unlike the phone manufacturers, there is no cohesion in the tablet releases. The wonderfully amazing tablets that are supposed to come out (Adam Ink, Archos, others) are nowhere to be found and have almost no definitive timeline for their release.

    Further adding to the problem is the weak hardware offerings. There is such a large gap in the quality of hardware with the current tablets we have. Virtually every phone that exists uses capacitive technology, but I would say less than a tenth of the tablets do. The iPad success has given way to an overabundance of terrible junk from China that is doing nothing but tarnishing the name of Android and giving new consumers a bad impression.

    Even worse is fragmentation. While the phone market is largely stabilizing and most phones are now at least at 2.1 or being discontinued for older ones, the tablet market is filled with low end Android 1.5-1.6 that is stripped of a larger part of its functionality. Most lack access to the key Google apps that make Android so worthwhile. With no access to the market, sideloading is essentially the only route to improving your android library which in turn will lead to rampant piracy as the Chinese industry has flooded the market and over saturated the playing field.

    While there is hope in the form of the Galaxy Tab, for the moment it is looking to be a carrier-locked tablet. This is a bad move, locking consumers into cell phone contracts where the carriers have all the power to determine what will be on the tablets and what can be done with them. One only needs to look at recent trends with AT&T and Verizon to see where this will lead.

    So what would be the solution?

    Well, likely the most obvious one to me is for Google to release their own tablet. While the Nexus One wasn't a smashing success by their hopes, it altered the playing field by demonstrating what good hardware combined with an up-to-date OS can do for the market. It's now rare to see cell phones with processors weaker than 600 MHz and an Android version less than 2.1 because of Google's proactive decision.

    We need Google to once again demonstrate what can be done with Android and the proper hardware. I'm truly hoping that Gingerbread brings more tablet oriented functionality and allows the vendors to create something worthwhile. I'm still anxiously waiting for a truly worthy iPad competitor, one that has market access and isn't tied to a cell phone carrier. I don't think that's too much to ask is it?
     

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  2. Catfish

    Catfish Well-Known Member

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    sounds about right but until Google steps up and does that ... there will be a gap in the market for other vendors and china to fill with whatever anyone desperate enough will pay for. you raise a good point that cheap hardware could be tarnishing people's views of Android. this should be a good motivation for Google to release their own tablet to set the standard of a device.

    i almost bought a china tablet months ago but the more i read about each tablet that gets announced/comes out and it's drawbacks (usually no market access is the major blow) i keep my money right in my pocket.
     
  3. Martimus

    Martimus One bite at a time... Moderator

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    While you make a number of valid points I think there are still additional points to consider.

    First off, there does not exist a true "tablet" version of Android. The versions of Android loaded (1.5, 1.6, 2.1, 2,2) on many of the existing tablets are versions designed for smartphones and include dialer support and telephony apps.

    Google does not yet openly support the running of the Android OS on tablets. As I'm sure you've noticed, most of the existing tablets have inconsistent support of the Android market. In order to get the market working on most of these tablets, hardware manufacturers have to falsify configuration information for the market to make it believe that the device accessing it is a supported device.

    There have been rumors out of Google indicating that they do not plan to support tablets until Gingerbread. At the same time there have been other rumors that Google has plans to push the Chrome OS as the tablet OS and Android as the Smartphone OS.
     
  4. Drhyde

    Drhyde Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Indeed you are correct sir. Still, I wish Google would be more forthcoming about this. Google has always had intentions for Android to be the end all platform that runs on everything. I remember them saying they wanted it in things like TVs, ovens, etc. The tablet market is now fired up thanks to Apple and Google could be gaining an even stronger revenue market if they went full throttle into it. Personally myself, while I find the iPad hardware very good, want a really good Android tablet.

    I do remember the announcement for the Chrome OS, but my only qualm with that is I thought that setup would only be the browser with no other elements. Basically it would be an internet device and nothing more. I'd hope that Google wouldn't go that route since tablets can have some more interesting functions than a phone.
     
  5. Martimus

    Martimus One bite at a time... Moderator

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    When you get a chance take a look at this Youtube video:

    YouTube - Google Chrome OS Demo

    I thought as you do that Chrome OS was just a glorified stand-alone web browser. After watching this video I learned that there's more to Chrome OS than meets the eye.
     
  6. Drhyde

    Drhyde Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Resurrecting this zombie post...

    I did watch the video, but I'm still not impressed with Chrome OS. Android is hugely successful right now. I still don't see why Google doesn't make a alternative version of Android for tablets in the same way that Microsoft made a custom Windows for tablets. Chrome still looks like a glorified browser with a few multimedia extensions. Hardly what I would call worthy of even being called an OS.

    Hopefully, Gingerbread will bring some much needed tablet support, but from the early info I've seen of the UI enhancements, its not looking very promising. Gingerbread does look amazing for phones however with GPU hardware acceleration, but the UI changes seem very basic at this moment.
     
  7. Martimus

    Martimus One bite at a time... Moderator

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    Hmm... I made a zombie post? I sure hope nobody tells Bruce Campbell about this! :eek: :D

    BTW... I do think Chrome OS has potential. The challenge will be whether or not Google can exploit that potential... and deal with having to support two significantly different OS's at the same time.
     

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