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Friday, 29 April 2011 13:55

Android tablets fail to deliver on value front

Written by


Roundup: Mostly harmless for Jobs’ Mob
With an ever increasing number of Android and Windows tablets hitting retail, one might expect Apple’s dominance in the market to be short lived. However, sales figures, reviews and user opinions paint a rather different picture.

The delayed introduction of Google’s Honeycomb OS added to the mix, but it is hardly the only issue vendors are facing. Several weeks ago, after Apple introduced the iPad 2 and slashed the price of the original iPad we could only conclude that the old, discounted iPad offered the best value for money in the tablet market. This has to be the first and only time an Apple product offered good value for money, which speaks volumes about the competition, or lack thereof.

The whole point of Android tablets was to offer good value for money, but somewhere along the road manufacturers seem to have lost the plot, quite badly. A quick glance at our price search engine reveals dozens of Android tablets, ranging in price from just €79 to €899, which is what consumers are expected to pay for LG’s 8.9-inch Optimus Pad.

There are some tempting offers, you can easily get a 10-inch tablet with a dual-core Cortex A9 for under €200, but we would stop short of recommending them. They are based on obsolete Android versions which are unlikely to be updated and user reviews are, you’ve guessed it, terrible. To be honest, nobody should expect iPad functionality and style for €100 or €150, but nonetheless the great unwashed seem largely unimpressed with cheap Android tablets. The only exceptions are a couple of Archos models and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, but even they aren’t doing too well in user reviews and worse yet, the Galaxy costs €299. The same goes for Toshiba’s Folio 100, Dell Streak 7 and even Acer’s new Iconia A100 – they are not bad, but all of them cost more than €330.

This is almost iPad money, which sort of beats the whole point of getting an Android tablet to begin with. The cheapest first generation iPad is still available in Europe, for about €370. At €400 to €500 we are already talking about rather pricey kit and this is Apple’s turf. The cheapest iPad 2, 16GB sans 3G connectivity, is priced at €450. Android tablets in the same price range don’t really offer better value for money. True, you might get 3G on some of them, or 32GB of storage, but this is hardly enough to take on the iPad 2.

The Acer Iconia A500, HTC Flyer, Motorola Xoom and Asus Eee Pad Transformer all cost about €500. This is about the same as the original iPad with 32GB of storage and 3G connectivity. It is worth noting that aforementioned Android tablets feature dual-core processors, but many of them lack 3G. This is where it gets truly ugly for the Android team. An iPad 2 32GB with 3G is hard to come by in Europe, but prices start at about €550. In our opinion, this is already too much for a tablet, but some vendors beg to differ.

Although it’s not an Android tablet, Blackberry’s Playbook 32GB with 3G costs €599. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 8.9 16GB goes for €699 and the 10-inch version is listed at €749. As we said earlier, LG’s Optimus Pad takes the cake with a whopping €899 price tag.

With all this in mind, it is rather interesting to see punters who have been complaining about Apple’s iPad pricing for the past year praising equally overpriced Android tablets. Objectively speaking, there are few reasons to go for any Android tablet at the moment. The really cheap ones are pants and they are simply not worth looking into. New Honeycomb models are rather good, but they cost as much as the iPad, sometimes even more, whilst at the same time offering very few features that would give them a competitive edge over Apple. On the other hand, Apple’s prolific iPad offers more apps, superior build quality and better resale value, as it will depreciate much slower than its nameless Android counterparts.

Be as it may, we still believe €400 or €500 is simply too much for any tablet, regardless of the OS or brand. So, while the competition might be largely harmless for the Jobs mob, the whole idea of paying that much for a tablet is rather pointless.
Last modified on Friday, 29 April 2011 14:01
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Comments  

 
+17 #1 chyll2 2011-04-29 14:14
Overprice = harmless

it is a striped down netbook/notebook but it cost more.
 
 
+11 #2 Exodite 2011-04-29 15:02
This kind of news items always amuse me, as they assume that there is - in fact - a 'tablet market' to speak of.

And while Apple are pricing their tablet devices more competitively than they are their computers, or rather the competition is failing to price theirs such, it's a gargantuan stretch to call any tablet 'good value for money'.

It's still a device with a desperate need for a purpose, especially when put against netbooks using the same-form factor.
 
 
+8 #3 nele 2011-04-29 15:19
Quoting Exodite:
This kind of news items always amuse me, as they assume that there is - in fact - a 'tablet market' to speak of.

And while Apple are pricing their tablet devices more competitively than they are their computers, or rather the competition is failing to price theirs such, it's a gargantuan stretch to call any tablet 'good value for money'.

It's still a device with a desperate need for a purpose, especially when put against netbooks using the same-form factor.


Yeah, but I guess in this case it's more a matter of bad or worse value for money.

I like the concept, but I'm not paying €500, no way. I'd rather get a Kindle and a Fusion netbook for that sort of cash.
 
 
+6 #4 jozef 2011-04-29 16:28
I was picking up Mortal Kombat at the local best buy and I asked the clerk of the Blackberry Playbook's are selling well. She said "Yep, they're selling great, and they're being returned just as well"

Are they really buggy, or are people just not happy with them? I played around with the Motorola Xoom while I was in store. It had really cool graphics, but it felt really clunky with the touchpad.
 
 
+5 #5 Exodite 2011-04-29 18:08
Quoting jozef:
Are they really buggy, or are people just not happy with them?



A bit of both I wager.

The reviews pin the Playbook as having unfinished software, the lack of a native email client makes that kinda of hard to ignore, but it's probably more than that.

Going back to the iPad 2 review on Anandtech the reviewer, IIRC Anand himself, admitted that while he liked the original iPad he found no real place for it in his life.

I reckon that's pretty much it, tablets are cool devices but they really don't have much of a purpose so once the novelty wears off more than a few people return them.
 
 
+10 #6 nele 2011-04-29 18:17
Quoting Exodite:
Going back to the iPad 2 review on Anandtech the reviewer, IIRC Anand himself, admitted that while he liked the original iPad he found no real place for it in his life.

I reckon that's pretty much it, tablets are cool devices but they really don't have much of a purpose so once the novelty wears off more than a few people return them.



Yup, that's about it. They're cool gadgets, toys really... But they cost too much for a toy.

Besides, where do they really fit in, I mean apart from the cool factor?

If I'm on the move, I've got a smartphone in my pocket. If I'm on the road, I have to bring a notebook along... So why should I bother with an additional device (pouch, charger, cables etd.)?
 
 
+2 #7 markhahn 2011-04-29 20:34
this is a "me too" article that parrots the groupthink of so many other similar articles. they all miss several points:
- ipad is expensive, but apple always is, and that's no reson to emulate them. or to think that their direction is where the tablet market will necessarily go.
- it's not all about apps. heard of the cloud? a wireless tablet with nothing but local media playing, ebook reading and a browser is still quite a useful and saleable device.
- the B&N color nook is a useful counterexample: a nice android tablet for $250. yes, it could use both a hardware and software update, but even so it shows that tablets don't have to be either $600 ipad wannabes or else $100 noname junkers.
 
 
-1 #8 Fud_u 2011-04-29 21:40
@"Android tablets fail to deliver on value front"


Well, it really depend on who you ask. If you ask most people that don't own it, then sure it suck. I blew nearly $900 on the Xoom and I'm loving it. Flash player is my big point and the tab browser of 3.0 is just much more convenience. I just need Moto, Verizon, and Google to work their magic and make it even more awesome (maybe by letting the browser acted like a desktop for say).
 
 
+15 #9 jonny80s 2011-04-29 21:58
I fail to understand the point of tablets. My cell is coming up on it's 2nd birthday and it can do all the things that the tablets do... plus it fits in any pocket and has a slide-out keyboard.
 
 
+4 #10 GameDiversity 2011-04-30 08:23
While I find the HTC Flyer priced a little high, the scribe technology, addition of ONLIVE and HTC Watch really make this tablet business functional for me. I think this tablet is setting itself apart and is the only tablet that has the potential to really help people be more productive
 

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