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back to article IDC: Google needs DEEP tablet price slash to crack Apple

Google must work closely with the fondleslab makers to slash prices if it is to loosen Apple's strangehold on the market. Or so says research analyst IDC, armed with data showing that the iPad accounted for three-quarters of the 1 million tablet devices shipped into the UK during Q3. "Apple has tight control of the platform and …

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Anonymous Coward

Tripe.

Price is no factor.

The problem is consumers to too fucking thick to work out there are better and cheaper alternatives to the iPad2. It's like thats what is shoved infront of their eyes, and that's all they know, too fucking lazy to actually investigate what else is out there.

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Anonymous Coward

And there's the classic FOSS response...

... same as ever.

"consumer is too fucking thick"

"too fucking lazy"

And you wonder why it's stuck in the Comms room and on bottom feeding handsets (Don't let's even think about trying to suggest that high end Android handsets are killing the iPhone at the top end)....

If the product was so fucking good, people would buy it, so how about developing a compelling proposition that actually appeals to customers rather than being a whining moaning FOSS twat?

No? Thought not...

:-/

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Gold badge

So universities should do a BSc in how to buy technology?

If you go to a supermarket and see Coca Cola for £70p and some no make cola you've not heard of for 71p which are you going to buy?

Many people are risk aversive and will still to a brand they know, unless the alternative is much much cheaper, or they don't have enough for the big brand.

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Anonymous Coward

No good complaining and shouting stupid names, do something about it!

You want to know why Apple dragged itself out of the doldrums 10 years ago? Several people, including a guy by the name of Kawasaki told the users that if they wanted Apple to get up off the floor they'd have to get out and be unpaid evangelists for Apple products. When you saw a person about to buy another brand, they told them the points that the Apple alternative offered.

If you want Android to succeed you have to follow that example, instead of calling those who haven't considered the alternatives because they simply have seen them yet, all sorts of stupid names, how about you get out and preach? Wander into PC World at the weekend and when you see that person looking at an iPad, tell them about Android. Tell them why you chose it over Apple. When a friend or relative asks you about getting an iPad for little Susie or Johnny, tell them about the alternatives in a quick and easy understand language that makes Android a better proposition.

Stop complaining and whining like a spoilt brat, do something about it. Preach the word of Android to anyone prepared to listen. You never know you might make a small difference.

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Holmes

Someone call the troll hunters

I disagree with your view. I think price is the key factor.

Like it or not the fact is the ipad is the benchmark by which everyone sets there standards, and there is no question that Android tablet manufactures are trying to match the specs provided by the ipad. Unfortunately even if they do match the specs, because they aren't cheaper consumers, will go with what is the seen as the benchmark device.

I haven't seen a android device that can do anything a ipad can't (with the exception of some geek features, that only geeks care about)

If android tablets were significantly cheaper, then consumers would most likely opt to save £150-200 and go for the cheaper device (for evidence just look at the excitement around the Kindle Fire, despite a lack of UK release)

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Um no.

Apple has invested a lot in having the biggest brand value. Even though some other manufacturers have brought out arguably better hardware, some of which is quite innovative (e.g. the ASUS transformer), there's just no marketing going on. Without making a name for themselves, people won't recognise the other brands and when Apple steals the best ideas (as they always do), people will just think it's Apple being clever again.

Also, although you may not agree, the "it just works" mantra around which iOS is designed appeals to a lot of people. Android is different on every machine.

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Anonymous Coward

What's FOSS?

Clearly you think everyone has an agenda here...

I'm pretty sure that even high end handsets are collectively outselling the iPhone.

That massive and still exploding Android marketshare is not just entry and mid level phones. Take a look around.

There will be a HELL OF A LOT of Galaxy S2, Sony Ericsson Arc, HTC Sensation and the like high end hadsets.

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Anonymous Coward

LOL

"I haven't seen a android device that can do anything a ipad can't (with the exception of some geek features, that only geeks care about)"

What like a detachable keyboard (Asus Transformer)

What like a browsable filesystem (all Android devices)

What like USB ports and standard connectors (Asus Transformer / All Android devices)

What like side-loading and no content lockin (all Android devices)

What like removable batteries (most Android devices)

What like higher resolution cameras and displays (all decent non-supermarket tablets).

These are not "geek" things, they are essentials.

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LOL indeed.

If these are all essential, then why don't people either a) not buy them when realising in the shop that they can't do these things b) return them after getting home having realised the same.

The fact is that NONE of these are truly essential:

Keyboard - the iPad's on-screen effort is OK for emails etc. (USB & BT keyboards can be used).

Browseable filesystem - most non-IT people wouldn't know what this is and again, what for? any useable document is generally available via it's app.

USB ports and other connectors - what for? (that's essential for day-today usage).

Side-loading and content lock-in - OK - 26 years in IT and *I* don't know what this is. I know the iPad plays standard content.

Higher resolution cameras and displays - again, what for? The iPad's ones do what they are designed for.

These are all *nice* features, but none are essential.

Steve

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> These are not "geek" things, they are essentials.

Thank you for proving you're a geek. (Note that I use the term lovingly, being one myself.)

The lack of those features is what keeps the iPad selling. The "lock-in" that you complain about is what guarantees app quality. The lock-in leads to no browsable file system, which is a non-issue if the apps are designed for a document-centric model.

USB ports, removable batteries, keyboard just make the device bigger, heavier, and give you more crap to carry around.

The iPad is a completely self-contained, locked-in, no worries, hardware and software ecosystem at an acceptable price. That's what everyone needs to compete with. Leave any part out and watch sales stay small.

But keep hoping that someone will build a tablet that fits your needs. If the manufacturers were more focused on building a sustainable tablet business model than on "iPad killers" then I believe they could make money building "geek" tablets that you might like. But it's a mistake to believe that your needs line up with the larger market that Apple is tapping into.

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Anonymous Coward

LOL indeed

There's 25+ million people out there who could probably argue with your definition of "essential"

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Thumb Down

Why the Android Tablets aren't moving

You hit the nail on the head.

It all comes down to Marketing, Product design, PRICE, and User Experience

MARKETING- Apple market's their products based on one premise that works. "WHAT CAN I DO WITH IT". Which Android Tablet maker is marketing on the premise of what you can actually do with an Android Tablet? There is no marketing. The lack of marketing isn't showing anyone what can be done with an Android Tablet.

PRODUCT DESIGN- While the ASUS Transformer clearly more innovative than the others, but all this variety of manufacturers and form factors has yet to produce a premium level product design like the iPad, accept for Samsung, who is being sued for copying the iPad design.

PRICE- These idiots think they can create wiz bang hardware and sell these Android Tablets for the same price as an iPad and people will buy? It didn't happen the first time around and it's not going to happen this time around. Regular consumers who are not propeller heads don't care if it's quad core or has this or that thingamajig. They want a satisfying user experience and apparently, the Android Tablet user experience isn't very inspiring at the same price as the iPad, but for a lower price, consumers become interested in Android. This should make it apparent to the idiots at these Android OEM's to lower the price, otherwise these Android Tablets just won't move in large quantities. This has already been proven to be true. They should learn from this and drop the prices.

USER EXPERIENCE- This is where Apple is Killing Android and EATING GOOGLE'S LUNCH- The iPad user experience is so good that consumers are willing to part with $499 for one because IT IS WORTH IT. Obviously, the same cannot be said for Android, as proven by sales figures.Argue all you want and get mad about it, but that won't change the fact that hardly anyone is buying Android Tablets. The Xoom was a joke. Even the Galaxy Tab didn't move. And as impressive as the ASUS Transformer is, who is going to pay $640 for a $499 Transformer plus the dock? The Kindle and the Nook are going to eat the lunches of all the Android Tablet makers because they will sell, while the shelves get dusty with every other Android Tablet and let's not even get into the apps discussion, because that is the other thing killing the Android Tablets.

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But....

I spent hours trying to work out which Android tablet to buy, looked at all the possibilties for best bang for buck. Eventually found a recon 10 inch dual core tablet for £150 that would upgrade to Honeycomb for no extra cost and be lovely. While I was checking it out in the store, I happened to go and play with the iPad2 (which I hadn't previously considered due to price). After 5 minutes on the iPad I thought "ah f*ck it, no point in mucking about with this other stuff" and went and spent the £400 on the iPad2. Turns out it was a good decision.

So, if google want more of the market, the answer is simple. Improve your products.

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Price is a factor for me. Promise.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't see why

When tablets first stuck their heads out of the factory doors I was enthused about them.

However, the more I read about them and the more I talk with people who have them, the less I seem to think that I could justify the money on them.

I don't see it as competing with Apple in the tablet market, cutting the price would only (in my humble opinion) be accessing a market which wouldn't otherwise have bothered.

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Bronze badge
Unhappy

Help Me To Stay Awake

When Apple came out with a pad thing I had no reason to think about them, it was an apple thing and therefore of no interest. Now others have come out with 'things', but what is the point of any of them?

Seriously, what aspect of life would be improved by a 'pad thing' at any price. For me this is the major issue - if someone can sell me a good bread knife that cuts crusty bread producing only fine dust not shrapnel like crumbs, fine I would be in the market for such an old fashioned ' bread thing'. But a 'pad thing', I cannot see the gap in my life that it would fill.

If the issue is marketing and value encapsulation then surely Google should either go for the 'G-Pad' or the 'A-Pad' trade mark, both are likely to have a more snappy name than whatever forgettable name they are called now. Mind you it still might be useful to think of a use for one.

http://www.channelregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/unhappy_32.png

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WTF?

A good bread knife

Try these, i have them myself

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Twin-Towers-Trading-Worlds-Sharpest/dp/B000Y2XPMO

As far as "something useful" is concerned, I too cannot see the point of a tablet with "apps", epecially over a fully fledged windows laptop with better for not a lot more...

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Silver badge

I know one aspect of my life that's improved immensely!

In fact, if you count "easily reading The Register whilst on the toilet", I know two aspects.

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Anonymous Coward

@Richard Jones 1

I can't see the point in buying a bread knife, why do i need a knife just for bread?

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"Part of the problem is that Google does not offer app quality guarantees or automatically issue OS upgrades as it does with smartphones, leaving the tablet vendors to push this out themselves, said IDC"

Whilst I agree that app quality on Android leaves a lot to be desired, the freedom to be able to publish an app without jumping through the hoops apple mandates is a good thing.

However the idea that Google should produce updates for all the tablet vendors is ridiculous as the vendors produce the hardware and so have to customize Android to suit their hardware - how can Google be expected to do this for them?

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Anonymous Coward

They are both good things for geeks, but not great for the average end user who wants good apps and stable updates.

The main reason for 2) is that Google doesn't mandate a minimum update policy.

They should really add it to their compatibly agreement, so if manufacturers don't update older (well months old) platforms they won't get approved for Google's apps.

They already make it quite clear in the agreement that the platform must have as many search boxes (with Google as default engine) as possible. Unfortunately outside of this requirement Google doesn't really care, by lack of good alternative users are locked into Google's own apps and that's all that matters.

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Go

As far as I'm aware, Google is now mandating a minimum 18 month support for OS patches/upgrades, if you want to include GApps.

Of course, if you don't include GApps, you're free to do whatever you want since it is open-source after all! :)

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Anonymous Coward

Who is Google mandating too? Sure as hell isn't the carriers!

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Anonymous Coward

"Whilst I agree that app quality on Android leaves a lot to be desired, the freedom to be able to publish an app without jumping through the hoops apple mandates is a good thing."

Really, the two groups that have benefited from Apples hoops have been developers who wish to get paid for their work and users who wish to have easy access to quality apps. This is why there are so few great apps on Android, not only do developers have to deal with users pirating their apps, they have to put up with rip-off merchants stealing and reselling them at a lower price with the added insult of Google not giving a dam.

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Few great apps

There are quite a few great apps on Android (Gstrings and K9 are two of my personal favourites), still, personal choice and all that. I would rather a platform I can tinker with freely...

sure the android market place has a lot of problems that google could do more about than they are doing, but then they are famously hands off with the products/services the give away right? Not saying its right, just that's how they are...

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Anonymous Coward

It's a TRAP

Of course Google can't be caught doing that - it would effectively turn Android into a price fixing cartel and Google would risk being seen as a monopoly by increasingly suspicious regulators.

I'm not sure how proper analysts don't know such things.

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IT Angle

RE: It's TRAP

Heck, I'd nominate this the to be most hilarious, loudmouthed clueless claim of this week - and yes, it's only Monday...

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Stop

much simpler

playing the "cheaper" card is pointless and simply a race towards mediocrity. What google need to do is support the promotion of android tablets in a effective, witty and smart manner to establish a name for themselves. One of the main reasons by a long shot why the iPod is selling in vast quantities vs android tablets is because nobody has actually heard of any of the alternative offerings, so they go with what they are familiar with. Joe average doesn't walk into a store and ask for a tablet computer, he walks in asking for an ipad.

Google need to establish Android as an blanket covering brand (like Windows, Shimano, Intel) so that the first thing people ask for is and Android Tablet before they are then made aware of the individual brands that offer the OS. That will need some major advertising cash: For each apple ad on TV they would need to play a google one; each time someone promotes a tablet centric service (Network providers, retailers, gas companies, Cinema purveyors etc) pay them to use an android device instead of an ipad; Pay market trackers and survey companies to make press releases that put them in a positive light and grab headlines. Make donations of tablets to schools & hospitals for good publicity. These are all tools that have put apple into the position they are in now, so Google needs to do the same to compete. Do that and you will find that android's market share will match that of apple's within a year. Trying to simply be the "cheap" option isn't the way forward and relying on each manufacturer to do the job is a path to customer confusion and choice overload as they are faced with a multitude of names and devices that try to bid for their custom.

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@Peter 48

I reckon the main reason that the iPod is selling vast quantities versus android tablets it that the former is a music player and the latter is a tablet.

Kit-Kat bars sell in vastly greater quantities than aircraft carriers but that's hardly a slamming indictment of aircraft carriers.

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Headmaster

That sounds expensive. What's Google's IRR on that?

Let's take one step back. Why does the Google corporation make Android?

Is it defensive, to protect their slice of the mobile advertising space? Or is it aggressive, to create a new market for their advertising products and to monetize their users' data?

It certainly isn't out of the goodness of their charitable hearts, they are a quoted company who needs to create shareholder value and are not some foundation of goodliness and open source holiness. Google is a business like any other.

Apple, for their sins, can easily measure the advertising and marketing spend versus number of hardware units sold; it wouldn't be quite so easy for Google to see where advertising spend on promoting an Android platform would get them, and thus what return on investment they would achieve.

Microsoft, were they advertising Windows much before the PC-vs-Mac adverts Apple ran? Has running Windows 7 "I'm a PC" adverts helped them? Even considering they are also relying on each manufacturer to do the job too.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Tripe

"The problem is consumers to too fucking thick to work out there are better and cheaper alternatives to the iPad2. "

No, the problem is that Android vendors and app writers are too fucking thick to work out that the average non-techie user doesn't want to have to load and discard several apps that nominally do the same job, in the hope of finding one that does what it says it will on their particular tablet incarnantion - and then there's always the pleasure of finding which apps have been broken by the latest OS update (assuming your vendor actually bothers to provide one).

Android for tablets is like Linux for PCs - yes it works, but for the average person who just wants to use the device rather than make a tech hobby of it iPads and Windows are better options - and yes, I do own an Android tablet - at least once a week I wish I'd bought an iPad instead.

Ironically, after all the noise Android fanbois make about how open and accessible Android is, I have a tablet that can't be rooted - why? - because part way through the manufacturing run Asus realised their TF101 device was being rooted, so they changed some software keys to prevent this happening in future. Open system my arse!

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IT Angle

TF101

Just a quick note, a new method has been released which roots the late b70 and b80 tablets. Whilst rooting allows users to do more with their hardware it also allows criminals easy access to data that should be secure if the hardware wasn't rooted.

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WTF?

"... there's always the pleasure of finding which apps have been broken by the latest OS update ..."

Yeah, this NEVER happens on an Apple iThingy... Unless, of course, you include "bricked devices" as a subset of "broken apps," because, mathematically, if the entire phone is broken, then logically all the apps on the phone are broken, too (from a usability standpoint, anyways):

-- -- Information Week: iOS 5 Launch Becomes Update Disaster

-- -- -- -- http://www.informationweek.com/news/mobility/smart_phones/231900684

I seem to recall that OS-update-app-breakage not being limited to just Android.

(For the record, I do not own any device that runs Android, BlackBerry OS, iOS, or Windows Phone. I do have a first-generation Palm Pre - which serves me just fine - but that's the extent of my smart device-iness.)

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FAIL

rooting

I don't actually get why i would need to root my transformer, but a quick google search shows there are still plenty of ways to root it, even with the latest ROM.

"Android vendors and app writers are too fucking thick to work out that the average non-techie user doesn't want to have to load and discard several apps that nominally do the same job.... at least once a week I wish I'd bought an iPad instead. "

what are you expecting from your tablet that you think you would get from from an ipad. Some magical process that tells you that from the 200 different shopping list apps available for iOS and Android you will pick the perfect one first time on apple but not on google? you are severely deluded if that is the case. Do you really think those hundreds of thousands iOS apps are all unique and wonderful individual programs? if anything you will find even more duplication on iOS than on android. Using android isn't any more technical than iOS, infact many things are easier as you don;t have to string together a series of apps just to make an email attachment or save a download from the internet for example as android does this out of the box.

This myth that iOS is so easy and magical it can practically read your mind whereas you need a doctorate in computing science just to figure out how to turn an android device on needs to be stopped once and for all.

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Grass greener?

I own an iPad and wish about every other day that I had an android tablet. For pretty much one reason - multitasking is pretty damn horrible.

Browser tab reloads, app reloads, app crashes. It may be workable for a phone, but for a tablet not so much. .

You'd think with all the walls, the garden roses would smell good too.

After the initial gadget rush, the flaws show. It will take a proper tablet OS for me to consider a future iPad. iOS 7?

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Anonymous Coward

Why not define a new market?

Rather than waiting for Apple to do something and then striving to "break Apple's stranglehold", why don't the analysts suggest that Google et al invest in creating new markets, where Apple isn't even a player? Does the average analyst's imagination not stretch that far? Or are we supposed to take it for granted that Apple have actually captured the essence of a 'post-PC' era with the iPad?

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Paris Hilton

Define a new market

Hear, hear.

FOSS is awesome and Apple don't innovate and their products are sub-standard, right? So instead of waiting for Apple to rejuvenate the MP3 player/smartphone/tablet computer market (which they didn't do 'cos they all existed before and were better, apparently) and then bringing out 'me-too' products, just put those amazing innovation, marking and 'what the public want' skills to good use and find your own niche. Problem solved.

Paris - giving the (male) public what they want.

Steve

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Flame

Nail on head - hit!

I think you are right on the button with your assessment Ralph 5. Apple have had a very long time to establish and dominate a market. Due to this the ordinary (non-IT) folk iPad is just a generic term for a tablet device. It's a bit like the term 'Hoover' in the UK. I bet an an awful lot of people refer to their Dyson as a Hoover.

The various Android offerings don't have the killer feature to make people want one other than price. Even then, the user experience and the quality of software will disappoint a large number of people who would rather have had an iPod if they had had the option. Google & Co. would be better off trying to be innovative and establish a completely new market with a product superior or radically different to what is currently on offer.

The comment from Arrrggghh-otron that "...the freedom to be able to publish an app without jumping through the hoops apple mandates is a good thing." needs some explaining. In what way is it good? It has resulted a numerous apps which are absolute shit and until recently they may have had malicious code embedded. The freedom to publish without any quality control is exactly what has produced the current Android app environment.

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Meh

Works for Windows

They've looked at the pattern for laptop sales. Windows laptops aren't as slick or as pretty looking as Macbooks, but sell many more because of the price difference.

You can see from the lack of sales of ultra-books what happens when you go to market at the same price point.

People aren't "too stupid" to buy a "better" tablet, they just want the shiny thing off the advert.

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Stop

People buy Windows laptops to run Windows software and the majority are sold to enterprises with a 3-4 year turn over. It has only been a few years since you could run Windows software on a Mac. Noticeably since Macs have been on Intel, Apples market share has increased every quarter compared to the overall market. But off course it just shiny because Apple have Voodoo and no one else can hire their shiny marketing department

It doesn't matter what you make, Apple have Voodoo that must be the reason. I remember getting an ipod as a present, i loaded up iTunes and pointed to my music and it did the rest. I know i should have spent several days sorting everything but WHY? The iPod was a success not because you could download tracks from Apple but because you didn't have to give a fuck about getting the music onto the iPod. It was "plug and play", thats the same reason no one buys a TV without a remote.

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Headmaster

But it's all about the margins

Windows laptops may sell many more units, but it's all commoditised low margin stuff.

Apple own the market in laptops costing more than $1000, with more than 70% share.

Which is why for their < 10% market share by volume of laptops they take > 90% of the profits.

This is highly likely to be the same outcome with tablets.

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Bronze badge

Huh?

""Unless Andorid comes out with new pricing models, expect Apple to remain dominant," she warned."

Warned? hehehehe

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Happy

Already sub $100 ICS tablet by MIPS is here !!

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Silver badge
Pint

Is a $99 ICS tablet cheap enough?

If so, it seem's it's already shipping: http://androidos.in/2011/12/forget-aakash-mips-launches-99-ics-tablet-nova-7/

Well, now that's settled. Back to global warming, eh?

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Silver badge

re: price is not a factor

Agreed - it doesn't need to be.

However, Google does need to work on integration (e.g. phone book syncing between gmail and local phone) so that contact information from gmail can be used for Google navigation - that sort of thing. Put in proper transaction logs for all edits.

Without that "it just works" appeal then people will spend the extra the Apple hardware. Google should probably put out a reference platform - there is no good reason why we should let samsung or htc or whoever break any integration that google do in order to provide a differentiated product. Let the differentiation be mostly on the hardware (longer battery life, Asus Transformer form-factor etc) and let google do most of the software thing, with others chipping in when there is a particular problem to be solved - that's the FLOSS way. For example, I'd like to see a bluetooth GPS driver to allow non-gps equiped pads to use the gps source from a phone - that would be a good innovation (but not invention - don't try to patent it...)

If customers do find that android is a poorer platform then price cuts will be required. A pad is by nature a premium product (3rd device or more likely, a second device after a fat laptop) so sub-premium product doesn't cut it without a large price benefit. It's an expensive purchase, if there is the possibility that the customer won't be happy then they will stick to what is well known.

Google does need to advertise off the net as they've done for Chrome. Also, get some decent office presentation software for android. the iPad has the apple suit which may not be the best office software, but its pretty good compared to the other pad offerings.

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Why not call a tablet a tablet?

What is it with The Register constantly calling tablets fondleslabs? How old are your writers?

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Silver badge
Trollface

House style.

Problem?

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Flame

@dpGoose

Here XXin here. They must chuckle with one another near the coffee machine.

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Bronze badge

I do not trust Google, Apple or Telcos

I'm not especially price sensitive when it comes to tablets and I consider the iPads to be worth their price, should one use them often. I haven't bought an iPad yet on the grounds that data movement is too disagreeable. I want an SD- or CF-slot.

However, the main reason that I absoultely avoid Android and Apple portables is down to privacy. I simply do not trust them. I have begrudgingly come to terms with my mobile stats being logged by telcos. The various revelations over the last 2 years about the amount of tracking and data-collection has simply confirmed my suspicions that one or many bodies are slurping as much information about the handheld user as is mechanically possible.

So, telcos and Google: come up with attractive tablets with an intuitive interface and lots of ports so that I can move my data to and from and then *convince* me [1] that no more data than normal browser stats and network info is being sent out.

[1] Getting the likes of international consultancy firm to produce an in-depth study about how safe and secure these devices is not going to do it. Someone with credibility is needed.

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