Sunday, March 13, 2011

Why Android Tablets Will Dominate

The Allegory of the 3 Series
The 3 Series is a magnificent car. It is not too big, not too small. It is safe, aesthetically pleasing, thoughtfully designed, expertly engineered and very well-built. It provides a thrilling driving experience and although it costs a bit more, both new and used models are still affordable for most folks. In many ways the 3 series is the perfect car and yet, not everyone drives a 3 Series. Even people who freely acknowledge its magnificence. Why?

Android Smartphones
2010 was a great year for Android phones. In the US, they outsold the iPhone and BlackBerry combined, saw 1600% growth in Europe and displaced Symbian as the world's #1 smartphone OS. All this in the same year that Apple released their best iPhone, whose lineage had an year-and-a-half head start on Android. The reason for this popularity is simple - unlike the iPhone which is a rigid, one-size-fit-all solution, Android phones come in a dizzying array of features, sizes, customizations and price points, allowing people to select the phone that's right just for them.

Android Tablets
Consider the leading-edge tablet OS contenders: Android, BlackBerry Playbook OS, iOS and webOS. Of those, only Android has been designed from the very start to be flexible and open enough to be adapted to different needs and uses. Within a year (or perhaps even this year's holiday season) we will start to see the same kind of diversity in Android tablets as in Android phones. Screens from 5" to 12", tablets that are thin glass slabs, tablets with sliding keyboards, laptop-like clamshells, dual-screens and god knows what else. The fact that the iPad has a big head start and many more applications in March of 2011 will prove as irrelevant in the long term as the iPhone's head start. Only Android will be able to provide consumers with a modern tablet OS in a device suited for their particular needs.

Different Strokes for Different Folks
I don't think this calls for pessimism on Apple, RIM or HP. I think they'll all continue to put out great products, maintain a sustainable market share and influence the direction of the market. However, I have little doubt that Android will be the way the majority of the world's people will interact with smartphones, tablets and other digital devices that'll dominate our interaction with technology in the coming years.

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