While Google Inc. (GOOG)
has a credible record when it comes to mobile operating systems -- having made
the booming Android operating system -- its track record when it comes to
flagship hardware is decidedly more mixed.
Every major OS release Google designates a
"flagship" hardware model. For example Android
"Eclair" 2.1 was fronted by the Nexus One. For Android
"Honeycomb" 3.0 -- Google's new tablet-specific Android distribution
-- that flagship model was the Xoom.
The Xoom has been billed in the media as a promising,
but unpolished product.
Set at a lofty
price of $599, it has failed
to compete not only with thinner,
lighter iPad 2 from Apple, Inc. (AAPL),
but also cheaper Android tablets. Yet another sales analysis has landed
and the picture sure isn't pretty.
The Nexus One wasn’t
a sales blockbuster, and according to some estimates, the Motorola Xoom may
be doing even worse.
Global Equities analyst Trip Chowdry claims that
is sitting on an enormous overstock of Xooms. According to his estimates,
the company produced between 500,000 to 800,000 units, but has only sold
between 5 to 15 percent of them.
That estimate means that the best-case scenario is
that the Xoom has moved an anemic 120,000 units in the two months since its
release. And the worst-case scenario is simply crushing -- that only
25,000 Xooms have been sold.
And it may only get worse. South Korea's LG
Electronics is preparing to release
its G-Slate tablet, priced at $529 USD. And in June two new
Galaxy Tab models from Samsung Electronics (005930) land at
under $469 and $499. And that's not to mention Dell's Streak refresh and
other coming products.
Even more troubling for Motorola is the fact
that ASUS today
launched its Eee Pad
Transformer Honeycomb tablet that is priced at $400 for a 16GB Wi-Fi model
and $500 for a 32GB Wi-Fi model.
In short the outlook for Xoom isn’t very promising.
The fact that analysts once estimated that the device would sell 3 to 5 million units
makes its sales even more embarrassing.
The tablet is boldly venturing into waters of
commercial disappointment seldom sailed before. Its flop may only look
graceful in light of the ultra low bar that Microsoft's infamous
Kin project set for a mobile failure. But that's not saying
quote: This makes me happy! A properly priced mainstream Android tablet will be a force to be reckoned with. Now it's only a matter of time before we see $299 tablets... by the end of 2011, I'll bet.(I'm aware of the Chinese knockoffs you can get for $150 - I'm referring to big players like ASUS, Samsung, LG, etc.)