Android Innovation, Fragmentation and Demise
I just posted about the news of the Galaxy Tab 7 coming to Verizon and in there I ranted a bit, thinking about it more I want to rant some more, or extend my thoughts on all of that. When it comes to Android tablets there’s no doubt we’ve got tons of choices, but the ones from big name companies are very expensive. You can get a similar specd no name tablet for a fraction of the cost of a big name brand but then you run across compatibility issues that really aren’t there but they just appear to be there. The Kocaso 7” Android tablet I recently reviewed here is an example of that, the specs are fairly decent and the tablet itself is nicely made but yet I’ve run across more and more things on Google Play that aren’t compatible with it. They just appear to be incompatible though, I can go over to the Amazon marketplace and get the same thing and it works fine. Who knows why this is exactly?!
Android tablets have been pretty much the same since they came out and really that was quite a while ago but yet there’s still really no innovation going on. Samsung just released the Galaxy Tab 10 and then Galaxy Note 10 and I don’t see much of a real difference between them at all. What’s the point of coming out with the same thing just a different size and then stopping support for the one you just released a few months ago? That makes no sense to me. All of these new generations of tablets are coming out but there’s no real innovation at all going on, it’s just more of the same again and again. Sure the specs change a bit, we go from a single core CPU to a dual core CPU and now quad core CPUs, and maybe more ram and storage, but it’s still more of the same really. I want to see companies focusing on innovation instead of rehashing and updating existing products to feed to the masses.
This is innovative, the Fujitsu Lifebook 2013 is just amazing, yes it’s a just a concept and one that will sadly probably never see the light of day, but it’s what I want to see on the market.
This thing is tablet but it’s a phone but no it’s a laptop but no it’s a camera but no it’s all of that in one device. It has a pop out smaller tablet that you can take with you or you dock it and use it as the keyboard for the full sized laptop. This is innovation, this is truly an all-in-one device that needs to be brought to market. Not sure if it’s Android but you get the point, it could be and I’d be the first in line to get one, I’d roll my pennies and search though the couch for spare change to get one. This is innovative, it’s different and it’s what we need to bring a breathe of new life into the tablet market.
Tablets are here to stay that obvious but they’re stagnating really, it’s just more of the same being released. Once the new Microsoft Surface tablets hit the market I think Android is going to really be in trouble if they don’t do something new and innovative. The PC World article I just linked to above mentions a price of $199 for Surface tablets, there’s no way I’ll pay four, five, six or even seven hundred dollars for an Android tablet when I can get one of those for $200. Yeah I think Android is in big trouble. The release of a $200 Surface tablet could signify the demise of Android tablets at any price point. If they do sell for $200 I can’t see why you wouldn’t pick on up, unless of course you’re a die hard Apple fan, but then that’s another rant altogether. Then again at that price point I think a lot of Apple users might be more than tempted to pick one up. For that price I can see them selling out quickly and causing a lot of commotion and publicity for Windows 8 and the Surface tablets.
There’s nothing wrong with inexpensive tablets, I have four Android tablets myself. Three of which I use and one (cheap one with resistive screen) I gave to my kids to play with. My tablets vary from 7” up to 10” in size and one of them, the Le Pan TC970, runs Android 2.2 while the other two run Android 4. All three tablets that I own myself are very well made and offer decent specs, they are comparable to the likes of Samsung and other big companies. The reason the Le Pan is still running Android 2.2 is because the company just stopped supporting it. When they first launched the Le Pan TC970 a big selling point was the fact that it could be upgraded and this led me and many others to believe that Le Pan would be upgrading it. After a while of nothing from Le Pan they released a statement saying not they weren’t going to upgrade it as it would be too hard as the hardware wasn’t enough to run a anything newer than Android 2.2. This is wrong of course as I have tablets running Android 4.0, and there are more on the market with similar specs to the Le Pan TC970 running better than 2.2. One of the tablets is the Idolian TouchTab 10 and it’s just plain awesome, and it shipped with Android 2.3, within a month of the release of Android 4.0 they updated the tablet. That’s how it’s supposed to be done.
Fragmentation is a big problem with Android and the main fault lies with the manufacturers in some cases but when it comes to phones the fault lies with the carriers most often when it comes to updates. AT&T is a big one for this, I had a Samsung Galaxy S Captivate and it took about a year to get Gingerbread on it after it was officially released. That’s a ridiculous amount of time to make your customers wait for an update I think.
I mentioned incompatibility with apps above, fragmentation is part of the cause of this I think. I can get a simple flashlight app on one phone running Android 2.3 but then on another phone running the same thing I can’t. I don’t understand that at all. The specs could be pretty much the same but yet it won’t work. Then back to my point about Google Play and Amazon Marketplace, I can go to Google Play and it will say the app isn’t compatible with my device but I can get it with no problem on Amazon?! Can someone please explain to me how that works? Some of the apps on Google Play just blatantly says my tablet isn’t compatible, but some say they aren’t available in my region. My region is the United States and Google Play supposedly goes by your location, how does it think I’m in China or some other country to say it’s not available in my region? I can use my other tablet and I can download the same exact app from Google play with no issues, but the other tablet I can’t.
Not sure if it counts but then we have those tablets out there that don’t even have access to Google Play on them, what’s the point of those? The main reason to get an Android tablet is for access to the official Android market. The cheap tablet I mentioned above is one of those and it comes with it’s own market which is a joke and just has garbage on it and is loaded with malware as well.
Then we have manufacturer introduced fragmenting for Android. This isn’t exactly fragmenting per se but it sure seems like it to me. I posted a bit ago about Call of Duty: Black ops Zombies coming to Android, but you can’t get it on all Android devices only on Sony Xperia phones. Sure this isn’t exactly fragmentation but it still annoying to me. I get whole idea of exclusivity but it just pisses me off and I feel it alienates everyone else who doesn’t own that exclusive device. Exclusivity will never go away of course, but I can hope…
Good rant, but if the numbers from Gartner are any indication of what has happened, it’s unlikely that your issues will be corrected any time soon.
Those who control the market generally don’t concernn themselves with being innovative, sell, sell, sell is the name of the game.