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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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