No one can question the meteoric success of of Android. Gaining nearly 20% market share this year in a highly competitive industry such as mobile, is no small feat. But where are the other players? We saw the operating system race escalate between Apple and Microsoft develop throughout most of the 90s and 2000s. Microsoft states it's claim as victorious, but were they really? And at what cost? Quality? If we look strictly at numbers of units sold and market share then, yes they won. But Apple never wanted to sell the most computers, they wanted to stay true to quality and customer satisfaction. As we see the competition heat up in the tablet market we will continue to see how Android has bridged the gab between offering a highly stable mobile OS on a multitude of quality devices.
We are entering into uncharted territory with the tablet race. The popularity of the iPad has amazed many critics over the past 6 months. No one thought that Apple would be on track to sell 5 million units by the year's end. Once again Apple convinced people, through their marketing juggernaut, that they needed something that they didn't before. What Apple did right:
- Slick design, with a marketing campaign revolving around the slogan "you already know how to use it" appealing to new users and essentially removing any thought of a learning curve.
- An enormous App store offering iPad specific apps that take advantage of larger screen real estate.
- People just want to touch the thing, it has sex appeal.
Where Android will make significant strides is by once again offering users a choice as they did with smart phones. Android will be available in many different form factors and price points. Many manufacturers will offer tablets both in Windows Mobile 7 as well as Android. Android will do better because:
- Manufactures don't have to licence the Android OS from Google allowing them to sell their product at a discount.
- The Market place is already an established and popular vehicle for installing apps on all Android devices. Microsoft does not have an app store yet.
- Android has momentum and a reputation for quality.
The tablet race is about to blow up in big kind of way in the coming months and Android is in a position to do very well. There is no questioning the staying power of Apple with its iPhone and iPad products but consumers want choice at a reasonable price point. Android offers both. A recent study indicated that 27 million online consumers intend to purchase a tablet. Will you be one of them?