Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Android tablets could beat the iPad


The iPad is so far ahead in the tablet race, you could be forgiven for thinking the game is over. But it's not. Just as Android phones eventually caught up to--and, in some metrics, overtook--the iPhone, so, too, could Android whip the iPad. Here are five ways it could do that, according to a survey of developers conducted by Appcelerator and IDC

Senior executives from Hewlett-Packard and Dell this week expressed skepticism that Apple's iPad will be successful in the business market, pointing to iPad's high cost and closed-off environment, as well as Apple's weak channel partner relationships.

In an interview with CIO Australia published Tuesday, Dell global marketing chief Andy Lark declared that the Apple iPad will eventually fall to Dell's Android and upcoming Windows Phone 7 tablets. "I couldn't be happier that Apple has created a market and built up enthusiasm but longer term, open, capable and affordable will win, not closed, high price and proprietary," he told CIO AU. Perhaps forgetting criticism over the Dell Streak unveiled last year, Lark said Dell's advantage over Apple is that the iPad entered the market as a consumer device (read: aspirational), while Dell focused on the more lucrative enterprise market.

"Apple is great if you've got a lot of money and live on an island. It's not so great if you have to exist in a diverse, open, connected enterprise; simple things become quite complex," he said.

On the cost issue, Lark said a fully outfitted iPad with a keyboard, mouse, and case could set someone back $1,500-$1,600. In the U.S., an iPad starts at $499, an Apple Smart Cover ranges from $39-69, Apple's wireless Magic Mouse costs $69, and an Apple iPad keyboard dock costs another $69. That comes out to about $706 without tax and contract fees.
Meanwhile on Monday, a senior HP executive criticized Apple's attitude towards channel partners.

In an interview with CRN, Stephen DeWitt, senior vice president of HP Americas Solution Partners Organization, said "Apple's relationship with partners is transactional, completely. Apple doesn't have an inclusive philosophy of partner capabilities, and that's just absurd."

CRN also quoted an unnamed channel partner as saying, "Unlike Apple, HP is very channel friendly. And if you have an issue with HP you can pick up the phone and talk to someone. That's something that's impossible with Apple. As an Apple partner, I can say that it really feels like they're holding you hostage sometimes."
HP's first tablet, the 10-inch, WebOS-based HP TouchPad is reportedly launching this June for $499.


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