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"Somebody set us up the bomb". The Motorola Xoom has been a failure in the marketplace.

"It's a point of sales problem. It's an expertise at retail problem. It's a marketing problem to consumers. It is a price point problem." -- NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang
NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang says that Android tablets have a pricing, app problem

Apple's iPad has been the dominant force in the tablet market ever since the original model launched last year. That market dominance continued this year when Apple released the iPad 2 -- it sold over one million of the tablets within the first weekend.

However, things aren't going so smoothly when it comes to Android-based tablets. The first Honeycomb tablet, the Motorola Xoom, has been an absolute dud in the marketplace. According to analysts, Motorola at best sold 120,000 Xoom tablets, and at worst, a dismal 25,000 units.

NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, whose company produces the Tegra SOC that powers the Xoom and other Honeycomb tablets, recently vented his own frustrations about the current state of the [Android] tablet market to CNET News. "It's a point of sales problem. It's an expertise at retail problem. It's a marketing problem to consumers. It is a price point problem," Huang explained. 

The number one problem according to Huang is that manufacturers are simply pricing their Honeycomb tablets too high. The Motorola Xoom in its most basic configuration (32GB, Wi-Fi) costs $599. This compares to $499 for a base iPad 2 (16GB, Wi-Fi) and a relatively bargain basement $399 for the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer (16GB, Wi-Fi). However, those looking to actually find a Transformer in stock need to wait in line just like all of the potential iPad 2 customers.

“Tablets should have a Wi-Fi configuration and be more affordable. And those are the ones that were selling more rapidly than the 3G and fully configured ones," Huang added.

Huang also pointed to a lack of Honeycomb-specific apps for the latest round of tablets. This problem puts them at a distinct disadvantage compared to the iPad/iPad 2, which has a vast library of tablet-optimized apps. Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha echoed that sentiment, stating, "Consumers want more apps for Android tablets." 

"But those problems are all getting solved. The rate at which these Honeycomb Tegra 2 tablets are being improved is really stunning," Huang continued. "I think all of the manufacturers have now recognized that and readjusted their plans." 

Things will hopefully get even better for Android-based tablets when Google standardizes its smartphone/tablet development with Ice Cream Sandwich. And although current Honeycomb tablets are certainly not lacking when it comes to hardware, there's largely a problem with OS optimization/performance that can drag on the user experience.

Android-based tablets should get another shot in the arm this fall when NVIDIA launches its quad-core Kal-El ARM processor for tablets. Kal-El will have five times the performance of Tegra 2 while using less power. And while more power is always welcome, we also hope that Google will work with its hardware partners to further optimize the Android codebase to help eliminate the performance hiccups that are prevalent in Honeycomb.

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RE: tab fail?
By Da W on 5/16/2011 10:23:52 AM , Rating: 3
Just because Android succeeded in the phone market doesn't mean it will succeed in the tablet market, i think we have a proof here. The phone market basicly offered a cheap iPhone clone alternative, just like in the Mac vs PC era. But for the iPad, Apple is keeping prices low. And just pushing stronger/fragmented hardware ain't going to do the trick for Google. What will you do with a quad core kal-el if game devloppers have to take tegra2 tablets and 65nm snapdragon phones into account? You know, at 5$ a piece, devloppers aren't going to include one gazillion graphical options like they do to PC games.

And then there's only 6 months left to take the lead before the first Windows 8 tablets come to market. Right now, if Android tablets stay the way they are, i'd say Microsoft just has as much chance as Google to take on Apple in this market, espicialy since their tablets will be PCs and not just an oversised phone.

RE: tab fail?
By Bubbacub on 5/16/2011 2:47:07 PM , Rating: 1
ipad prices are not low.

a $25 chipset (thats how much tegra 2 costs - the apple chip can't cost much more) and an ips panel with a sheet of aluminium is not worth $500.

if someone can sell a netbook with more expensive silicon, a similar sized battery and a keyboard for $200 (with admitedly a crap screen) then a tablet really should be about the same ball park.

current android tablet pricing is so out whack that its killing uptake. apple can get away with extortionate pricing due to the sheep like media providing free advertising continuously - the android guys can't. the android manufacturers will have to compete on price with equivalent/superior features to the ipad. at present they have price parity and the dont quite even have feature parity (in terms of stability and tablet specific apps).

there is a reason why everyone is buying and rooting nook colors - it is at the right price point for a tablet.

RE: tab fail?
By Belard on 5/16/2011 6:14:11 PM , Rating: 2
These companies, do need to make a profit off their devices. And out of all of them, Apple is making the most - even tho they actually sell their tablets for the same price or less than most other tablets. This is because Apple has an APP store. Apple makes money from the hardware & software. Android makers get money from hardware, Google makes money from software.

Screen quality effects price of the device, a typical GOOD netbook is STILL $400 or so. The $250~330 net-books have typical horrible low-res screens, cheap bodies with HDs.

Check the prices on Bestbuy, iPad isn't the most expensive unit.

Yes, NOOK rooting is interesting. But comes with problems and isn't exactly comparable to other Android tablets. You are comparing a $250 device to $400 (ASUS Transformer)~$600 XOOM.

1 - NOOK is a non-standard Android device. It doesn't have standard Android buttons and by default, isn't allowed to install native Android software.

2 - Remember Apps and hardware? NOOK is tied to B&N book library, which PAYS for the hardware. Yep, NOOK is sold at a loss or at best, no profit. Buy buying a dozen books more than make up for it.

3 - NOOK is $150~250 cheaper than a Transformer & iPad2, but its:
A) has a 7" screen, not a 10"
B) Doesn't have ANY cameras.
C) Has a much slower CPU/GPU, forget about playing 3D games designed to run on minimal specs of Honeycomb.
D) Most NOOK buyers will use it as a NOOK.

Someday, tablet devices will cost half the price of today. At $400~500, they are priced fair for what they do.

If its too expensive.... then I guess you don't buy one or get a used one, or a cheaper model. Not all of us get to buy Ferrari sports cars (including myself).

RE: tab fail?
By KoolAidMan1 on 5/16/2011 8:21:49 PM , Rating: 2
there is a reason why everyone is buying and rooting nook colors - it is at the right price point for a tablet.

What fantasy land are you living in? The number of Nooks being sold for rooting purposes isn't anything close to high.

Also, Android on Nook is a joke, the hardware is terrible. Yeah its cheap, but its also bad. You get what you pay for, etc etc.

RE: tab fail?
By Belard on 5/17/2011 1:32:12 AM , Rating: 2
Ah, the NOOK isn't "bad" - its built for a price point as an e-Reader. Being converted to do what it wasn't originally designed to do is the issue.

Hey, you can run Linux on a computer that fits in an extra-small thumb-drive, doesn't mean you want to.

I don't think B&N have much to worry about.

RE: tab fail?
By KoolAidMan1 on 5/17/2011 7:16:12 AM , Rating: 2
Right, I was talking about it being used for something it wasn't built for given its internals, not as its usefulness as a book reader.

Then again, for strict book reading I'd recommend a Kindle 3 or other reader with an e-paper display, simply because e-paper is much better than LCD for reading. That's a whole other discussion though. :)

RE: tab fail?
By theapparition on 5/17/2011 12:31:31 PM , Rating: 2
On what planet do you two live on? The NC's internal hardware is quite good, better than most tablets actually available(especially chinese knockoffs). And that includes the original iPad.

Uses almost same processor that the iPad used, Arm A8 based with PowerVR graphics. Specifically it's a Ti OMAP 3630, same as the Droid X. Overclocks easily to 1.10GHz. 1.30 with the newest kernel.

Screen? It uses a capacitive touch screen that has a higher DPI than both the original and current iPads and includes a special anti-glare coating that actually makes it usable outside.

So how is it that it's internals are not up to par? No, it doesn't have a camera(s), or GPS, but it does have expandable storage, something the iPad still can't match (and never will). Plus the way the NC is configured, you can play with different OS's all day long and return to stock instantly if you choose (boots from SD card).

The only drawback is the lack of 4 dedicated buttons, but the soft buttons aren't that bad. If you want quadrant scores, it scores higher than almost any other tablet except the new crop of dual core devices. It has great internals, despite what you want to believe.

I have a Moto Xoom and a NC, and the Xoom is the better tablet, but also costs more than twice as much. The iPad2 is also better than the NC. But for anyone to claim that the NC doesn't have the "internals" to be a tablet is completely misinformed.

RE: tab fail?
By TakinYourPoints on 5/21/2011 1:11:07 PM , Rating: 2
BOM is not a good way to frame the cost argument. It totally ignores R&D, the cost of running the company, distribution, all of those things before we get into profit margin.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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