Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb

Android smartphones are outselling iPhones these days (although no single Android phone is selling better than the iPhone). But when it comes to tablets, the Apple iPad is still the undisputed champ. More iPads have been sold than all the tablets running Android Honeycomb software put together.

But the numbers aren’t as bad as some may have thought. Last week a number of sites picked up an estimate from developer Al Sutton that there might be about 3.4 million Android tablets in consumers hands, based on figures supplied by Google about the percentage of devices running different versions of Android.

But Google’s Android boss Andy Rubin says the actual figure is about 6 million.

In other words, if you add up all the tablets from Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, and Toshiba you get about 6 million Honeycomb tablets in the wild.

On the one hand, Honeycomb tablets have only been on the market for about 8 months. On the other hand, Apple sold 25 million iPad and iPad 2 tablets in the tablets’ first 14 months.

It’s too early to call Android tablets a flop. Over the last year or so I’ve heard a lot of people say “there’s no tablet market, there’s only an iPad market” as if it were a universal truth. 6 million people seem to think otherwise, and that’s not nothing. But it should be interesting to see how long device makers are willing to continue carving up pieces of the relatively small Android tablet pie.

Last night Google introduced a new version of the operating system called Ice Cream Sandwich. It’s designed to be equally at home on phones and tablets, providing a more consistent user experience for people that use Android phones and tablets. Perhaps that will help give Android tablets a bit of a push.

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5 replies on “There are about 6 million Android tablets in the wild”

  1. When Google withheld the tablet editions of Android to a few select manufacturers who then agreed to all sell at Apple prices, was the result a suprise to anyone with a clue?  That is why I’m watching so closely to see if Google actually allows the free market to function with 4.0.   Let the $200 cheap clones run the current OS, instead of hacking a version designed for phones, let them have access to the Marketplace on a equal basis and then let us see.

    I just suspect that when faced with the choice of buying one iPad to share or buying HIs and Hers Android tablets…. or even His, Hers and one for the Kid that Android will look as attractive as Compaqs looked compared to Macs.

  2. I would seriously consider an Android tablet _if_ it had unlocked bootloader and was a good quality one at a decent price. What I mean by good quality is iPad quality and not at an iPad price. So far, the market has failed to provide this.

    I’m just too impatient to wait for ICS to be put on my tablet a full 6 months after Google releases it. Are you kidding me? If there was a Tegra 3 Nexus tablet by Samsung, and it was cheaper than the iPad by enough, I’d bite.

  3. You have to look at it from a total perspective.  Tablets, being relatively new, have only limited market appeal, especially given the $500+ price point of the higher end ones.  The iPad and iPad2 had a huge head start on the Android tablet market and may buyers in the tablet marketplace purchased those with no comparison to the Android tablets that came out later.  It is too much to soon to expect that these early adopters would replace a very expensive secondary device so soon after their purchase.  Thus Android entered a much more saturated market then the iPad did so initial sales figures could be misleading.  This is all conjecture though, the only way to really tell how Android is doing is to look at monthly or quarterly sales of iPads and Android tablets and see if the introduction of Android to the marketplace had any impact on the growth of the iPad or if the Android consumers are just the market segment that wanted a tablet, but refused to buy an iPad.

    1. “…or if the Android consumers are just the market segment that wanted a tablet, but refused to buy an iPad.” My guess is that this makes up the majority of the Android tablet market. As for the much larger size of the iPad market, don’t forget that many people thought Apple would be releasing a netbook when they announced the iPad. The iPad was Apple’s answer to netbooks. Look at the size of the non-iPad netbook market. I suspect well more than half of the iPad market isn’t a tablet market at all: it’s Apple’s netbook market, buying the closest Apple product there is. (MBA is far more in the ultrabook category in terms of price and functionality.)

    2. As long as we only see $500 “Rolex” tablets the logic will be:
      -Tablets are really expensive
      -I can only buy one tablet
      -This tablet must do everything
      -This tablet must justify it’s $500+ pricetag and thus replace laptops and desktops
      -I must buy the luxury tablet from the best known brand, i.e. iPad!

      But we are rapidly seeing a flood of “Casio” <$200 tablets such as the fire, with last years "Rolex" models within spitting distance of $200. For example with the latest Honeycomb "flashback" custom firmware release the Viewsonic G-Tablet is pretty damn impressive. The color nook refurbs with CM7 are equally amazing.
      As the prices drop with increased production a new narrative  arises:
      -Tablets are cheap
      -I can buy several tablets
      -Each tablet can fulfill a specific niche rather than be all things to all people.
      -I'll get a few cheap "good enough" Android tablets!

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