Samsung Galaxy Tab Beating Motorola Android Tablet to Market

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-09-18

Samsung Galaxy Tab Beating Motorola Android Tablet to Market

When Samsung introduced its 7-inch Galaxy Tab at a media event in New York City, it offered plenty of product specifics but left availability and pricing to the four U.S. wireless carriers that will offer the device.  

The four major U.S. wireless device carriers-Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile-all said they plan to sell the tablet this holiday season.

Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha said this week his company won't deliver a tablet until early 2011. This means that Samsung is beating Motorola to the Android tablet market.

Samsung, which lags well behind Motorola in sales of Android -based smartphones, will have the benefit of a full holiday-selling cycle to give it a leg up over its U.S.-based competition.

Jha hinted Motorola requires the extra time to make a tablet that is competitive with Apple's iPad. The suggestion may have been an implication that Jha believes Samsung's Galaxy Tab isn't ready to compete with the market-leading tablet.

One major reason for this may be that the Galaxy Tab will run Android 2.2, the flavor of the OS currently powering many popular smartphones. Google said itself Android 2.2 is not optimized for tablets. Archos is also offering several tablets based on Android 2.2 this month and next.

All indications are that Motorola is building a tablet based on Android 3.0, code-named Gingerbread, which is specially designed to accommodate applications for the larger screen resolution a tablet affords.

Regardless of what Jha meant or didn't mean, Galaxy Tab will have the benefit of 2010 holiday sales Motorola won't have. How consumers cotton to the Samsung gadget is anyone's guess. Analysts offered eWEEK different opinions on the issue.

Analysts Debate Viability of Galaxy Tab vs. iPad


Gartner Research analyst Carolina Milanesi told eWEEK that the fact that Android 2.2 is not optimized for the tablet form factor leaves room for Motorola and other vendors to catch up.

She noted that early Android tablets will largely sport 7-inch screens, making them closer to large smartphones than desktop-sized screens. That opens the door for devices with touch screens that approach the iPad's 14-inch surface.  

"As long as companies such as Motorola are ready to hit the market as soon as Gingerbread is ready, I think they will be OK," Milanesi told eWEEK. "When it comes to Motorola, I think there are other challenges such as brand and market presence outside of the U.S. to drive volume."

IDC analyst Susan Kevorkian largely agreed with Milanesi. She noted that Samsung, for better or worse, is going to be the guinea pig for tablets running Android 2.2.

"We expect that Samsung has addressed these issues one way or another in terms of optimizing the software for its media tablet," Kevorkian told eWEEK. "But, that being said, it's in Samsung's best interest to enable users to upgrade to Android 3.0 as soon as possible once it becomes available."

Once that happens, Samsung and its Galaxy Tab will be in position to be a strong competitor versus Apple's iPad, she said. Not everyone agrees with that sentiment.

Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps believes the whole Samsung versus Motorola Android tablet argument may be moot, noting that most "me too" Android tablets that pop up over the next year won't challenge the iPad.

"This holiday, we don't think Android tablets will be much of a factor-it's all about the iPad," Epps told eWEEK.

"Starting next year, that will change-Android could take as much as 20 percent market share, and collectively we expect Android tablets to surpass iPads in sales within two to three years."


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