Honeycomb Tablets Not Done Yet, Epps Says

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2011-07-17 Print this article Print

"We're in inning 2 for Android," Epps said. However, she acknowledged, "It's fair to say the Honeycomb software is not as developed as iOS and it doesn't deliver the features consumers expect from an operating system like Windows."

Epps does believe Amazon, with its vast content ecosystem and e-commerce distribution of customers, could provide a strong, low-cost alternative to the iPad.

The device might not stack up in hardware sophistication, but it could be subsidized-$300 or less-by Amazon, which could eat the remaining costs or offer a tablet paired with advertising.

"I have no doubt that Amazon's tablet will far outsell the other Android tablets that have been on the market so far, but it's not Android's last gasp," Epps said.

Epps said Amazon will compete with the iPad in three ways: on price, assuming they sell the hardware at a loss as they have done with the Kindle; in the cloud, where Apple is behind; and in e-commerce, where Amazon is the undisputed leader. She said 47 percent of tablet owners have reported researching and purchasing products from their tablet.

IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell believes Amazon will offer two tablets: one low-cost device priced around $249 to compete with the Barnes & Noble Color Nook e-reader and one more traditional 10-inch tablet for $399 to rival the iPad.

IDC considers this Android-based device a tablet; O'Donnell said it was one of the best-selling Android tablets in the first quarter this year, better than even the Amazon Kindle sales.  

"Here's the problem: All of these Android guys are pretty much offering the same product," O'Donnell said. "They're all of the same thing and have been priced the same. Now you're seeing the PC guys [Acer, Toshiba] come in cheaper."

Whether the Amazon Android tablet is targeted at the iPad or the Nook, Chowdry believes Apple will be unfazed by the salvo. He said Honeycomb's ecosystem is "fundamentally broken because Google is going with reach," diluting its value proposition.

"You have got to have a good balance between reach and profitability, and Apple iPad has it right," Chowdry told eWEEK. "Developers are getting more traction, more revenues, better support and better tools from Apple's ecosystem versus Android."



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