Greg Sterling on Honeycomb, the Android Tablet OS

Greg Sterling for Search Engine Land:

Apple has largely shunned the idea of producing smaller tablet (“nano”) devices. But the Samsung Galaxy Tab’s relative success shows a demand for the smaller sized, more “mobile” tablet — especially given the inferiority of the overall Galaxy Tab experience.

I thought the news this week was that the Galaxy Tab is a dud — Samsung itself described its sales as “actually quite small”, and even those that have been sold are frequently returned.

Expect Android tablet adoption to generally follow the path of Android handset adoption with a somewhat less aggressive growth curve because the iPad is broadly available unlike its sibling the iPhone.

Why expect the same adoption? Honest question. Android phones are all sold through carriers. iPads are sometimes sold through carriers, but many are Wi-Fi only models sold directly by Apple. What Android tablet maker has Apple’s retail strength? Where’s the HTC Store at your mall? And the iPad is already on more carriers, at least here in the U.S., than the iPhone.

Maybe Android tablets will follow the sales path of Android phones. I’d like to hear an argument for why that doesn’t involve the phrase “openness always wins”. (Not that Sterling said that, though. He offers no explanation at all for why he expects Android tablets to succeed.) And it sure doesn’t seem, thus far, that 7-inch and 5-inch form factors are winning moves.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011