Nvidia makes some pretty sweet processors. One is even named after Superman! They’re cool. Sometimes those chips end up in Android tablets. On much rarer occasions, they end up in Apple tablets. Those occasions are so rare, in fact, that I made that up. It never happens. But it would sure make Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang’s prediction that Android tablets will overtake iPad shipments in about two and a half years a little less self-promoting, wouldn’t it?
Ahhhh, but come on! Let’s give the guy a break. He’s probably right! Right? Right. See, it’s what happened in the smartphone market. As you know, smartphones are generally sold on contracts, with heavy subsidies, and are replaced about as frequently as contracts are renewed in a lot of cases. Whereas tablets are….umm….well. Well, you use money to buy them! That’s one similarity.
Still. The fact that the Android platform is on a wide variety of devices from various manufacturers is likely going to be one huge advantage that Android has over the iPad. The wide variety of form factors has helped the Android market boom. And just take a look at two of the leading Android tablets right now: the Motorola Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (both running Nvidia chips, naturally). And they offer a wide variety of hardware options: one of them is a large, roughly 10″ slab with a touchscreen and some ports while the other is…umm…..err. That is….
Well, look. The point is that Android won the numbers game in the smartphone space, and it will probably take only just as long for them to win in the tablet space. Probably. I guess.
Or maybe the technology industry is vast and complex, the tablet market hasn’t even really been defined yet, and there’s still plenty of room for experimentation, innovation, and discovery before anything is settled and life is less straightforward than projections on a chart. I guess.
It’s more fun this way, though, right?
When the iPad first arrived on the scene, everyone, including Apple, heralded it as a brand new category of device. Not a smartphone, not a netbook, but something entirely new. Canalys calls shenanigans. In what appears to be a morale-boosting speech to the super-sad iPad that wishes it could play ball as well as the rest of the kids, Canalys says this about the iPad and other tablet devices (which they insist on calling pads, further exacerbating the problem with these jokes):
‘Any argument that a pad is not a PC is simply out of sync,’ said Chiam. ‘With screen sizes of seven inches or above, ample processing power, and a growing number of applications, pads offer a computing experience comparable to netbooks. They compete for the same customers and will happily coexist. As with smart phones, some users will require a physical keyboard, while others will do without.’
Furthermore, since a Prius can accomplish most of the same tasks as a motorcycle (except making you look cool), Toyota and Harley-Davidson will now share sales numbers. They’ve just become the biggest auto-maker in the world! Amazing!
Now, while some have taken issue with the claim that the iPad is a perfect replacement for netbooks, even avid iPad supporters admitting they’re no replacement, attempts to make the iPad more useful for daily work have failed miserably, and more proper netbook/laptop devices have been met with rave reviews often at the expense of the iPad, that’s no reason to think that laptop sales and iPad sales should be kept separate.
The reason to keep them separate is because they’re tablets. Thanks Canalys for ridding us of any valuable metric we could use to see how well the tablet market is doing versus other forms of computing devices. It’s ok. I wasn’t really all that interested anyways. I just wanted to know how Apple is faring against HP and Dell. Because that’s the story everyone’s talking about, right?