I don't plan on buying an Android tablet (at least, not right away), but definitely think it is important for the media world that a good Android tablet or two get launched within the next six months or so. Why? Because smart people are already investing in iOS and Android apps, and the really smart people are developing tablet editions. A robust Android tab market would a major step forward for tablet publishing.
Some people think the Samsung Galaxy Tab is the first legitimate Android tab out there. My concerns are two-fold, and they are major: one, with a seven inch screen magazine and newspaper tablet editions might feel like they are being read on a blown up phone; two, priced at $399 with a data contract, and $599 without, I don't think Samsung has priced this thing so that they can effectively compete with the iPad.
OK, those are my thoughts. Today Matt Buchanan reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Tab for Gizmodo and, well, we'll let him do the talking:
"This thing is just a mess. It's like a tablet drunkenly hooked up with a phone, and then took the fetus swimming in a Superfund cleanup site. " Ouch.
But here is the important part: "It's not big enough. Web browsing doesn't have greater fidelity. I don't get more out of Twitter. A magazine app would be cramped." (My emphasis.)
Of course, readers are accusing Buchanan of being an Apple fanboy -- and, who knows, maybe he is. But let's just see what the buyers out there think. If Samsung sells millions of these, instead of thousands, then publishers will have to pay attention. But, in the end, whether this tab is a hit or not may not be that important. Everyone knows Android is here to stay, as is iOS, so developing for both makes tons of sense. As for Windows Phone 7 and the BlackBerry . . . time will tell.
Gartner's latest report on mobile phone sales shows no slowdown in the incredible growth of the industry. Total sales grew 35 percent in the just concluded third quarter with smartphone sales almost doubling.
All the major manufacturers grew their business except LG. "LG's strengths in stylish midtier devices are becoming less relevant in mature markets that are moving increasingly toward smartphones, and this is translating directly into market share," the report said.
In the meantime, Apple jumped ahead of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, to fourth place among mobile manufacturers. Apple sold over 13 million iPhones last quarter, despite "its ongoing supply constraints".
The WSJ yesterday wrote about the holiday shopping forecast from Forrester Research. Forrester predicts that holiday sales will increase only 2.3 percent, while online sales will increase 16 percent.
I don't know about you, but I almost never hear a forecast for decreasing holiday sales. Just as predictable as the coming of the annual holiday shopping season are forecasts that this year will once again be a banner year.
Well, Forrester Research is probably right about an increase this year, after all, as bad as last year was overall, at least Black Friday sales were up 1.1 percent (2008 sales were down 3.4 percent). As for their online forecast, that one is another 'duh' based on past performance.