Android Tablets: The Cost of Early Adoption

October 27, 2010 - Written By Chris Yackulic

As supporters of this thing called Android, I feel we are on the breakthrough of something significant. Android is about to grow beyond the reach of just Smartphone. We are seeing Tablets, Portable Media Players, Smart Watches, and many more accessories that revolve around the use of our Android devices. There seems to be a slight hiccup beneath this feeling of accomplishment that we SHOULD be feeling. As a community, we have forgotten what it is like to be early adopters. This is an amazing sensation, since there are still quite a few people out there who use their G1’s as their daily drivers until their contract allows for an upgrade. The early adopter in us is in deep conflict with the now grown up Android user, who has developed a set of standards that is not transferring over into these devices. Or are they? Is it our perception, or is it that we are being had?

Since it is coming right around the corner, let’s look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the .1, and the Huawei s7 Android Tablets. We can safely call these early adopter devices, but for some reason, they are each being criticized in a way that seems unreasonable. Let’s start with the Archos 10.1. Archos has forgone the Google Certification for the purpose of getting a device to market first. Having used one of these devices, I can say the Archos is finally learning. The tablet is a solid improvement from previous failures. However, this device is entirely designed for in-house use, typically plugged into your TV. Obviously there is a market for this, and while it does not have the Android Market, apps can be easily side-loaded. The price is what makes this device so appealing for many. If you feel like a Tablet should live in your house and replace your netbook, this is your device.

So how can Samsung stand there and sell a 7″ tablet, and sell it for so much more than Archos? The Galaxy Tab is, hardware wise, a large Galaxy S phone, right down to the 3G Radio. Comparing the Wifi Model to the 10.1 is more appropriate, given Archos does not have a 3G version of their device. The Tab offers several things that seem trivial at first glance that make a big difference in both quality and cost. For starters, the Tab’s front is almost entirely glass. Not just regular glass either, but the seemingly unbreakable Gorilla Glass. According to the specs on the Tab, the WIFI only versions battery life will exceed the Archos by about an hour and a half, and the GPU inside has been DLNA certified, so when coupled with something like wonky you still get the high quality output to the TV, but wirelessly as opposed to using the HDMI cable. You also need to look at the size as a feature for some. Using this device as my on the go road warrior style device is perfect, and its so light that I can take it anywhere in my pocket.

Then there’s the S7. Ideally, I see this as the Office Assistant. No need to keep reaching for the phone if there is a device sitting right on your desk that you can quickly glance at to see what’s going on in the world. It’s built to sit on a desk and be your portal to the Internet, as well as make calls and look nice. The specs make it clear it wasn’t built for doing anything significant as far as Home Theater goes, but is still a solid device for communicating and handling your internet needs. Plus, the $350 price tag is easier to deal with.

The devices all have different needs, and when you look at one device next to another, the picture becomes clear as to how these devices compare, and how they offer different price points to the world for a reason. Devices will always be coming out that are faster, smarter, thinner, and generally more amazing in one way or another. I can’t tell you how many times I have told people that if you don’t like the devices for your carrier right now, wait a few days, and I am sure you will see screenshot for the next hot device, and you can obsess over it or you can get the phone that is already here. This new market is no different. You are either the guy who waits for “the device” or you are the early adopter. Or, you are both, and have truckloads of money, and should come be my friend.