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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: tablets vs ipads
By JakLee on 5/16/2011 12:57:38 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree wholeheartedly. Think about this for a moment:
If you (and by you I mean people) could buy a Xoom today, wifi w/16 storage for $200 no contract - they would sell 1 million by the 4th of July.

Grandma would be storing recipies, dad would be watching the all-star game, and little Timmy would be sending a text message from the well instead of sending Lassie to get rescued.

The only problem with a Tablet at this time is the overall cost. It is the same problem that has alway existed with this form factor, price (though it used to have a functionality problem. Since the smart phone revolution we really can do a whole lot on a phone/tablet that used to be restricted to a desktop/laptop).

For years if you purchased a top end latptop you knew it was 2-3 years behind a midrange desktop in terms of power at 2-3 times the cost. That has changed now where you can buy a low end laptop for just slightly more than a low end desktop and (if you are buying mobile and not atom/brazos) get similar power to that desktop. Enough that grandma doesn't notice a sizable difference (8 seconds vs 10 seconds to load solitare, please.....)

What is needed to push the tablet as a legitimate market is the presense of a full line up of tablets; one that grandma can buy Timmy for Christmas for $100, one Dad can use on the train ride to work for $150, one that Chuck E Cheese can hang up for 50,000 tickets (which is where they put their $50 items), one that you can buy at Walgreens for $250 from a brand that looks eerily similar to the Audi logo.... as well as the "real" ones from Best Buy, Staples, Newegg, Fry's, and the mom & pop computer stores. Once you can do that, then tablets will really "be here".

Until then, I am not sure there is room for anything other than Apple's at that price point; not unless it is 10x better. Apple just has the name that makes people think it is worth it to buy something that mediocre.

RE: tablets vs ipads
By Azethoth on 5/16/2011 6:04:06 PM , Rating: 2
Let us hope Little Timmy got the waterproof iPad 3WP. Oh noes! He has the cheap Xoom, and it got wet! Oh no Timmy, keep on swimming Timmy.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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