Print 54 comment(s) - last by AlterEcho.. on Apr 30 at 9:06 PM

New Android tablets put even more pressure on failing tablet

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 Motorola (MMI) 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 much. 

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RE: Asus Transformer....
By Tony Swash on 4/26/2011 6:45:45 PM , Rating: 0
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.)

A few brief notes from the real world.

a) Apple will be very, very hard to beat on price. Apple's supply chain is second to none and they are sitting on such a vast pile of cash that the company could shift to zero revenues tomorrow and keep going at the same size and spend financed solely from their cash reserves until 2018. As we speak Apple's reps are dropping vast cash piles on the desks of components manufacturers across the planet to ensure first place in the queue.

b) The tablets market is not the same as the phone market. The channels are completely different and in the tablet market Apple retail, the most successful retail operation anywhere, is a terrifying force ranged against it opponents. In the far more competitive phone market Apple doubled its phone sales in the last year (again!) and took the lions share of the phone market profits (again!), in the tablet market catching Apple will be fiendishly difficult.

c) The Android tablets have no value stack. Less than 100 tablet optimised Android apps compared to 70,000 for the iPad. Plus the seamless integration of Apples iTunes store which is the largest digital goods business on the planet. Plus easy migration of apps and content from iPhone to iPad.

d) Because of fragmentation there is no easy and familiar OS adoption path between Android phone and Android tablet like there is with the iOS on phones and iPads.

e) Soon Apple's Death Star data centre combined with the post-Siri iOS 5 will be released. This will compete with an only partially de-bugged Android Honeycomb, the anaemic offering from RIM and the awfulness of Windows 7 on a tablet.

Catching Apple in the tablet market is going to be very, very hard. The tablet market may very well end up like the MP3 market - remember all those iPod killers?

RE: Asus Transformer....
By Smartless on 4/26/2011 10:59:07 PM , Rating: 5
You know no ones going to argue with you because basically all your points are essentially correct but man, why you gotta be such a Debbie Downer.

RE: Asus Transformer....
By rburnham on 4/28/2011 5:17:38 PM , Rating: 2
I know. Good grief.

I will give Apple credit on the apps. Google dropped the ball when they failed to let developers have early access to the SDK for 3.0, or so I have read.

What's funny is that almost any tech site or magazine I have read (which is a lot) consider the Xoom a great product in and of itself, especially in terms of long-term flexibility and usability. Sadly, the Xoom does not exist in a vacuum, and the iPad is just too popular.

RE: Asus Transformer....
By jvillaro on 4/26/2011 11:24:40 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Asus Transformer....
By AlterEcho on 4/30/2011 9:02:28 PM , Rating: 2
The point being that Apple's share is being eroded. People are voting with their wallets and the sweet spot appears to be around $299.00. It seems that Asus has figured this out while Dell and Apple have not. The sales figures for the Eee pad are stunning considering the lack of advertising. Newegg was cleaned out in less than a day.
My son bought an iPad. I would not, because I could not see laying down that amount of money for a giant iPod. I did have an iPhone until my contract ended. I moved to a Droid-X because of Apple's horrible hardware update-baiting. So, I am no Apple hater nor lover. But even I see the writing on the wall. If other manufacturers follow Asus, with a reasonable price, Apple will be seeing a strong shift in the marketplace. Perfect example is the smartphone market where price and features are quickly eroding Apple's share. With Android sets, we are seeing manufactures cram as much hardware as can be held in the set. While Apple upgrades a camera lens here and a screen there. The next iPhone version should show us how serious they are about regaining lost market share.

RE: Asus Transformer....
By AlterEcho on 4/30/2011 9:06:03 PM , Rating: 2
Minor correction...I meant $399.00

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