The truth leaked out back in February: Samsung: ‘we’re not doing very well in the tablet market’ (update)
But selling only 37,000 tablets in one quarter is not “not doing well” — it’s called failure.
All this time we’ve heard from “indistry pundets” how Android is gaining market share against — or passed the market share of — iPhone. And that was going to translate into Android putting a bullet into the head of the iPad too. Any day now. Some day. Eventually.
Well today all that “pundetry” was flushed down the toilet by the reality I’d sensed out there for a long time.
Android tablets aren’t selling jackshit.
Samsung is the best of the Android tablet makers. Whether or not you like their TouchWiz UI, they’ve at least put some real effort into distinguishing their tablets from all others. They’ve even done what Apple hasn’t: Given users Desk Accessories, to simulate multitasking. That’s something Apple pioneered and it’s rather shocking to see Samsung do that instead of Apple.
Anyway, Samsung is the best Android tablet maker. So if their sales have been crap, how much more crap have been the sales of HTC, of Sony, of Asus, and others?
How many Android tablet makers are looking at the Samsung sales figures today and saying, “Holy shit! I thought only our sales were crap?”
I think we’re going to see a sharp decrease in companies releasing Android tablets. Maybe Samsung will continue to pour some money down that rathole — they just introduced the 10.1 Note — but I don’t think others will. It doesn’t make any sense to do so.
And for all of you who will point to the Nexus 7, let me remind you: Google has not released any sales milestones. Where’s the press release braying that they’ve sold a million? They didn’t even do that with their flagship Nexus phone! So don’t expect them to hit that with the Nexus 7 tablet. Especially not with all the complaints about quality control that have been going around about improper color calibration and screens separating from their adhesive.
Google will probably forge ahead with a tablet because their advertising business requires them to do so. But what other company has that kind of impetus to release another Android tablet? None. If the goal is to compete in tablets, why be Google’s bitch? That’s what it all amounts to in the end!
Today’s revelation also makes me wonder about HP’s reaction. No doubt “indistry pundets” told them they had no chance against the iPad and especially against Android. Today’s Samsung figures show differently. webOS was loved and that Macintosh-like rabid fanbase could have worked in HP’s favor a year or two out. We can see some of that right now, with Android tablets not selling. People use Android, but I’ve yet to see anyone say they love it. It was love that kept Apple alive through all of its dark years — and that dedication could have sustained webOS into a second place too.
Anyone who ever saw Glimpse demonstrated on an HP TouchPad drooled over it. I think Samsung must have seen Glimpse and was inspired to create Multiscreen for their new 10.1 Note tablet. But all that accomplishes is further fragmentation of Android. That’s quite different from Glimpse on webOS. webOS was from a single company on hardware from a single company and all devs had one set of rules to code to, unlike with Android (where 2.3 is still the most popular version being used!).
Spare me your objections about how Android phones are doing well. The point I’m making here is that with Android, there is no overlap between phones and tablets. People with an Android phone are not going to go get an Android tablet — or they would have by now. (People with a webOS phone, by the way, would have gotten a webOS tablet; although my larger point is that just as a tablet, webOS could have done well. Again: See Glimpse — video of which I will embed at the end.)
There’s a reverse lesson in all this for Microsoft too. Even though people have drooled over the Surface tablet — including me — don’t expect that to translate into people buying Windows Phone. That’s just not going to happen. People using Android phones will likely continue to do so until there is a compelling reason for them to switch — and so far there simply isn’t. But Microsoft still has time to create ways to make that happen. Unless Windows 8 itself is a disaster.
Finally, let me repeat this: iPad Mini sales are going to be phenomenal. It will be the fastest-selling product in consumer electronics history, breaking all Apple and all consumer electronics sales records. Everyone except me will be surprised by the sales. If you’re not on line that first day, you’re going to be heading to eBay to pay with blood to get one. I believe there will be shortages for the first quarter of sales and Apple will be chasing demand for many months.
One more thing: The Kindle Fire and NookColor/Tablet? Those are not Android tablets. Those are storefronts. They could have been based on any OS. They simply don’t count.
And now, Glimpse for webOS. This is how every damn tablet should work for people who want to get shit done: