updated 11:30 am EST, Thu January 12, 2012
Lenovo CEO says Android tablets uncompetitive
Lenovo's CEO Yang Yuanqing in an interview late Wednesday made the unusual comment that Apple had effectively locked up the tablet market in the near term. While Android had 32 percent of tablets, according to IDC, the executive told Bloomberg the iPad was the "leader" and that he didn't see Google changing this yet. Implying that even Lenovo's own IdeaTab S2 wasn't enough, he saw Android needing to find a breakthrough, although he wasn't clear what that was.
"For the Android ecosystem, we still need to learn something, we still need to improve something," Yang tried to explain.
At the same time, however, the Lenovo chief tried to downplay the importance of tablets themselves. They made up an "extra market for some niche customers," he argued. Instead, ultrabooks and tablet crossovers, like the IdeaPad Yoga and its 360-degree hinge, would supposedly be the eventual preference over the iPad and other pure tablets.
Ultrabooks as a whole would become 30 to 40 percent of the notebook industry, he added.
The remarks were oddly timed as they followed just after preliminary IDC estimates that showed tablets shrinking the PC market in the fall and 2011 in general. While high-end notebooks have been comparatively safe, netbooks and low-end notebooks have seen a large amount of sales deferring to tablets instead, prompting a complete reorganization of Acer's focus and much more attention spent on tablets.
Android on the tablet has so far failed to meet presumptions that it would automatically dominate in the same way that it quickly rose to the top in smartphones. A lack of apps, high device prices, and a desktop-like interface have all been blamed as early factors in Android's struggle to get near the iPad. Convertible Windows tablets like the upcoming IdeaTab Yoga have remained the smallest piece of market share and are usually priced well above mobile OS tablets.