As I work on my Acer Iconia TAB A100 review and read the headlines coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show, I keep hearing about why Android tablets haven’t quite caught on. I keep hearing the same arguments: Android is fragmented, Android tablets are all the same, blah blah blah. What I don’t hear anyone talking about is how overpriced some of these Android tablets are.
Any tablet that costs $499 or more is not going to sell unless it is an iPad. Period.
The iPad is the ‘gold standard’ in tablets right now, and the least expensive one costs $499. If a competing product cannot be as good as an iPad then it has to cost less, or else that person will just buy an iPad. Android is nice, but it is not as easy to use as iOS.
Keep in mind that I am referring to the average person when I make these statements. Nerds such as myself are willing to live with a learning curve and some obfuscation. We like figuring things out, we’re just funny that way. The average person isn’t as patient, though, they want to turn a device on and be able to do things from the get-go. That is why iOS is as successful as it is. Granted, there is a lot that you can’t do with it, which is frustrating to nerds like myself, but the majority of people tend to not care about stuff like HDMI ports and memory card slots.
I think Amazon did two smart things with the Kindle Fire: first, they sold it for cheaper than the iPad, but more importantly, they didn’t make an iPad. The Fire is significantly smaller than an iPad, and doesn’t look like one when you start it up. Sure, if you’re a nerd you can argue about how yes, its really Android under the hood and does mostly the same things as an iPad and all that, but to the average person it is different.
Sadly, the bargain prices for the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet are going to make it harder for other 7-inch tablets to gain any traction unless they drop in price as well, so it may not necessarily be a good thing for Android in general. Then again, the functionality they leave out is fairly significant, so it may not necessarily be a bad thing, either.