Sales of any tablet are going to look bleak, compared with Apple's iPad, which sold 4.7 million units in the recent quarter.
The outlook for Motorola Mobility's Xoom tablet is particularly bleak, according to Global Equities analyst Trip Chowdry. Chowdry said the first Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" tablet sold somewhere from 5 percent to 15 percent of the 500,000 to 800,000 units manufactured.
Chowdry, who surveyed six Costco stores, five Verizon stores, five Best Buy stores and three Staples stores, to reach his conclusions, puts Xoom sales somewhere between 25,000 and 120,000 units. Compared with the iPad's monster sales, this could be considered a failure to compete.
Motorola, which is in its quiet period until it announces first-quarter earnings April 28, declined to comment to eWEEK for this story. Verizon Wireless, which released its earnings last week, took a different view.
Verizon spokesperson Brenda Raney declined to confirm or deny Chowdry's estimates, but told eWEEK April 26: "We are very pleased with the sales of Xoom. It continues to be a popular item."
That doesn't sound like the failure Chowdry is making the Xoom out to be, but positive public relations will often prevail.
Chowdry also declared Honeycomb, which is being deployed on more than a dozen tablets this year, "dead on arrival." He said a survey of 150 developers indicated that Honeycomb is incomplete, sporting an incomplete features set, incomplete developer tools, poor user interface, unstable software and poor design.
Chowdry had declared similar findings back in March, calling the UI complicated and confusing.
On balance, the 10.1-inch Xoom not only performed well in tests by eWEEK, but stacked up favorably to the iPad 2 in side-by-side comparisons that eWEEK conducted. The Xoom is fast and certainly more graphically pleasing than the iPad 2.
The analyst also called Google's Android Market a "disaster," with developers unable to make money from their applications.
The Android Market needs a lot of work, but it's hardly a disaster and is improving all of the time. Google just added merchant sales reports to the store to show developers their earnings in a dashboard.
Ultimately, Chowdry said Motorola may want to rethink putting all of its eggs in Android's basket, and to wield its 16,000 mobile-centric patents as a deterrent against other Android smartphone rivals that seek to undercut it on price.
"Carriers prefer to push Google Android phones from HTC, Kyocera, [and] LG over Motorola Android Phones, as carriers make more money on the Android phones from HTC, Kyocera, LG, etc.," Chowdry reported.