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Android tablet makers giving up, moving to big smartphones

updated 06:40 am EDT, Fri June 17, 2011

Android tablet makers switch back to smartphones

A number of Android smartphone makers who have turned their hand to Android tablets to try cash in on the tablet PC category dominated by the iPad are said to giving up. Instead, their focus has switched back from tablets to the development of larger, high-end smartphones with 4- to 5-inch displays. According to Digitimes, only Samsung has made any significant inroads into the segment, claiming a 10% share.

Sales of competing tablets from Motorola, RIM, LG, HTC and Acer have been flat. Digitimes, which has sources within the Taiwanese manufacturing industry supply chain, is reporting that a number of companies are reducing investment in research and development of 7- and 10-inch tablets. Instead, these resources have been redirected back into their smartphone portfolios.

One of the reasons cited for the flat sales of Android tablets is that a number of Android phone manufacturers already have large screen smartphones in the hands of users. It is thought that Android users do not necessarily see the value in adding an additional device when they are of the view that their current device already offers much the same functionality.

Further, Android buyers have historically been less willing to part with additional cash for music, video and app purchases. This contrasts with Apple's iOS users who have downloaded and paid for billions of songs and apps. Apple has also been successful with its marketing, effectively differentiating between the iPhone and the iPad by highlighting the way that iPad-specific applications offer an enhanced user experience.

The first major Android-based iPad competitor, the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab released late last year was likened more to an oversize smartphone, but which could not make phone calls. However, Samsung has bounced back with its Galaxy Tab 10.1, which runs Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), and which offers a tablet-optimized experience.

However, for most of the other Android manufacturers, enticing buyers to add a large screen tablet device, which fits in a tight niche between a large smartphone and a notebook, is to date proving to be a bridge to far.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Apple iPad 2

By Electronista Staff


  1. ASathin8R

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2010


    The truth of the matter

    Most Android users are cheap! Most don't seem to want to pay for anything that goes on their phones. I even suspect that many even like Android because of the bonus bugs, trojans and viruses that come with downloading apps from the Android Marketplace! Not to mention all those other free nasties that come with having Flash on your device.

    So is it any surprise that they don't want to pay for a niche product like a tablet?

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    iPad competitors are giving up?

    Well, who could have seen THAT coming??

  1. Herod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007


    "big smartphone"

    all i can picture with this phrase is a huge brick phone with an lcd display duct taped on it.

  1. Thecombinationis12345

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2011



    Failed to mention Asus. The Transformer has been a HUGE success.

  1. JBytes

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2000


    Not yet sold

    I often wonder if there really is a tablet market or just an iPad one.

  1. midtoad

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2007


    It can call

    The 7" Samsung Tab can make calls - I've done it with mine.
    The limitation is only due to a decision by N. American carriers.
    If you flash a European ROM, you can make calls.

  1. facebook_Boyd

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2011


    Makes sense

    One of the biggest reasons I will not get an ipad is because I already have an iphone. I can do pretty much what I want on there and it fits in my pocket. Other than that I just use my air.

    I can see what the tablet makers are saying. Essentially you can do what you need to on your mobile phone.

  1. Inkling

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Jul 2006


    Apple has left a gap

    This move may just work. Steve Jobs has claimed that Apple's not interested in the sub-10-inch space. If that it true (a big if), that leaves an opening into which they can move.

    Contra Jobs, a device in the 5-7-inch range makes a lot of sense. A 5-inch device still fits in the hand and can work quite well as a cell phone. A 7-inch device (like the Kindle 3) slips into a coat pocket for men and a purse for women, so you don't have to carry it about in some troublesome bag or case. And their significantly larger screens make them more useful for work and entertainment. The only issue it exactly how the touch UI would work. My hunch is that a 5-inch would need to have a sparse, iPhone-like interface, while 7-inches might be enough for one like the iPad.

    Of course, I suspect there's a 'skunk works' at Apple that has functioning models in both these sizes. If the other guy's sales take off, Apple will soon follow, while claiming that was what they always intended.

  1. bigmig

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2004


    Smart move...

    Go where you're having success. You don't see all of them making iPod Touch competitors either...because they know they wouldn't gain that much share against the iPod Touch.

  1. jalb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008


    "The iPad is just a big iPhone"

    Heh heh - remember all the Apple naysayers who said that the iPad was just one big iPhone? I appears that the Galaxy Tab is the one that's just a big smartphone, without the smartphone features.

    Epic fail on Samsung's part.

    Can't wait for Apple to tear them a new one in court.

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