Android Will Compete on Cost
"Suppliers are realizing the importance of content and service and many are turning to the Android ecosystem to be able to offer the complete user experience and compete with Apple's offering," Hunt said. Moreover, while the iPad starting price is $499 for the 16GB WiFi version, expect many of the Android machines to be cheaper, as low as $200, Hunt said.Such devices may not run spreadsheet or word processing software, but expect users to access Facebook, Twitter, online games and other Web apps from such machines. "Consumers will love them because they offer quick access to the Internet," she said. iPad's early success will trickle down to the emerging home tablet sector, where special proprietary tablets are being integrated into the home network provided by residents' broadband provider. Sagem in France is already shipping tablets into homes deployed by ISPs that serve as a "control palette" or as another screen for IPTV or VOD. ICD makes the Vega tablet for T-Mobile in the U.K. and the Ultra tablet for Verizon Wireless in the U.S. In the United States, AT&T is launching a service that employs OpenPeak's Linux-based OpenTablet 7 tablet sometime this year. "The hype that the iPad is getting is really helping a lot of the other devices, including the home devices," Hunt said, adding that in 2012, over half of the tablets sold each year will be distributed via mobile and fixed carriers.
"What we'll see this year is a lot of these tablets in a smaller form factor that will not try to emulate the typical notebook computer experience, but have more of a smaller personal media player experience," Hunt told eWEEK. "We'll see those run on Android instead of Windows 7, for example."