A few days ago, my colleague David Ruddock shared his feelings on Android tablets, why they "suck," and a few suggestions on how they can be improved. At the start of that editorial, he asked the question "how often do you instinctively reach for [your Android tablet], as opposed to your phone or laptop?" Today, I'm going to answer that question from my own personal standpoint, and I'm going to explain why I think Android tablets are actually underrated.
I want to ask everyone a question - well, everyone who owns an Android tablet, that is - how often do you instinctively reach for it, as opposed to your phone or laptop? I don't care what the reason is, I'm just genuinely curious how much of a "tweener" role your Android tablet has taken in your life. And after you read this editorial, share that story with me in the comments, because I'd really like to have a discussion with people on this.
There's little denying that Apple rules the smartphone world. The company sells just one phone model, yet that sole model constitutes 8.8% - or roughly 1 in 11 - of all worldwide smartphone sales and 73% of profits. iOS is the second most popular smartphone OS in the US after Android with 31.4% of the market (Android has 50.8%). Windows Phone 7, on the other hand, has just 4% of the US smartphone market, yet it's Microsoft that we have to worry about.
If you've been paying even the slightest bit of attention to the tech world for the past year or two, you're probably well aware that Android has more or less taken over the smartphone scene. Way back in June of 2010, Google revealed that 160,000 Android devices were being activated per day - at the time, that was more than double the combined total of iPhone, Mac, and iPad activations.
Today, Google announced that its acquisition of Motorola Mobility had officially closed. Make no mistake, this merger is something of a shotgun arrangement - and the offspring conceived out of wedlock is Android. So, how did we get here, two and a half years after the first DROID?
A Brief History Of Motorola And Android
Motorola was once Google's model manufacturer partner. At least in the US, it produced what was the most popular "first generation" Android smartphone, the original Motorola DROID.
Sony, you really confuse me sometimes. The US is just about to get the Xperia Ion on AT&T, supposedly the Sony-branded flagship smartphone. The problem is that the Xperia GX just took that crown from the Ion - before it even came out. I'm not sure what Sony's grand master plan here is, but looking from the outside in, it seems like the company (that lost $5.7 billion last year - most of it in the fourth quarter alone) is flying completely and utterly blind.
A long time ago (read: about 4 years), in a galaxy far, far away (read: Silicon Valley), a guy named Drew Houston started a little company called Dropbox. After securing seed funding from Y Combinator, Dropbox officially launched in 2008 at the TechCrunch50. To say nothing of the complexities of implementation, the idea was simple: put your files in one place, access them anywhere. And apparently, the idea was also a really good one: as of October last year, Dropbox had over 50 million users, doubling from a figure of 25 million in April.
Oh, RIM. You're hemorrhaging customers, executives, and share value. It's painfully obvious you're on track for a disaster of Palm-proportions. And still, your upper-level management fling zingers at the competition that would make anyone but the die-hardest of BlackBerry fans skip the facepalm and go straight to a facedesk. It's almost like watching a Shakespearean tragedy unfold.
If you've not been keeping up with the cutting edge of all things RIM, allow me to give you a quick run-down.
I have heard an absolute heap of unpleasantness about the rebranding of the Android Market today. Google Play is childish. It's unprofessional. It makes Google look less than serious about its content business. The logo is weird. The name is ambiguous - play what? It reminds people of Sony products. There are endless gripes and, let's face it, there always will be when a company rebrands a popular product.
Tomorrow, countless analysts and "experts" will weigh in on whether the move was a good one, hawking over Google's stock price like a cardiograph readout.
Google Music launched just 3 months ago, but CNET is already hearing from Google managers and record labels that the company is disappointed by the service's performance so far. In a nutshell: when Google Music launched, there were 200 million Android users, and that number was growing extremely quickly. The expectation was that it would be fairly easy to convert some of those users to Music customers. Unfortunately, that just isn't what's happened, with adoption lower than expected.