If last year was the year of the tablet, one has to accept that it was primarily the iPad that gets credit for that. So, if 2011 is the year of the tablet part 2, at least we get to spread the credit to a second platform this year as Android prepares to take over a major chunk of the tablet market thanks to the release of Honeycomb (3.0) and the variety of new devices that will go with it. So, what will drive success for the Android platform in 2011 – here are three possible sources.
First up is diversity. With so many devices set to sport the newest Android edition, we know we’ll have a lot of options to choose from this year. Motorola’s Xoom is at the top of the list for sure, but there are also new Android tablets coming from Toshiba, Asus, and Acer. I’m a huge fan of diversity in technology – it forces ingenuity in ways we can only ponder right now. It will be interesting to see who comes out ahead and what features allow them to do so.
To me, openness is one of the major reasons Android stands to win in 2011. As more users come into the tablet market, there will be a greater emphasis put on being able to do whatever you want with your device. Access to Flash, integration of custom apps, and security installations for enterprise users are all big on many wants lists – and the iPad cannot yet deliver those things. Whether Android can or not remains to be seen, but it certainly stands a chance.
Ideas come out of an open platform and diversity in hardware options. That’s what I’m hoping to see as manufacturers try to stand out as a new option in the increasingly crowded tablet market. As the rhetoric heats up between Apple and Android device makers, the opportunity to see new things is only going to increase. Already, we’ve seen the Xoom with its selection of intriguing new features and just yesterday, Toshiba announced their new Honeycomb tablet would sport a swappable battery (something we’ve been hoping for in a tablet for months now).
The Other Side
Android tablets are set to make a huge impact on the market this year. However, it’s entirely up to the manufacturers of those devices to make it happen. Right now, we’re seeing rumors of a $799 Xoom tablet from Motorola and last year, Toshiba’s first tablet foray was a certified disaster, so having Android 3.0 isn’t exactly a slam dunk.
But, 2011 is definitely shaping up to be some kind of year for the tablet PC and right now I’m guessing that Android will have a LOT to do with that.