Android tablets coming from everyone everywhereAugust 23, 2010: 12:03 PM ET
Who isn't readying an Android tablet?
In the past week or so, just about every technology company out there has announced or has been rumored to be carrying a Google (GOOG) Android-based tablet. Here's a list I've compiled below:
HTC is using Israeli-based N-Trig to build their Android tablet for shipment in time for holiday shoppers according to TheMarker. The timing may be tied to a dubious rumor but N-trig is separately working with HTC on multi-touch tablets and HTC is one of the leading suppliers of Android devices in the world.
Chang Ma, vice president of marketing for LG's mobile-devices unit told the WSJ, that LG's Android tablet will set itself apart from Apple Inc.'s iPad by focusing on the ability to create content, rather than simply display it. It will also have "high-end features and new benefits," many of which will focus on productivity, Mr. Ma said. "It's going to be surprisingly productive. Our tablet will be better than the iPad." Those are some mighty big words.
Motorola is rumored to be building a 10-inch Android tablet, codenamed 'Stingray', that will sell at the end of the year on Verizon's wireless network. Motorola's(MOT) Android tablet will be bundled with Verizon and may have GoogleTV functionality according to various reports. CNet gives this product the best chance at challenging the iPad.
Samsung is likely introducing its Galaxy Tab seven-inch Android tablet at IFA 2010, which starts September 3rd in Berlin. Standout features for this product will be its front and back cameras, 3G (Vodafone?) and Super AMOLED display. Samsung may also launch its iPod touch competitor, the Yepp YP-MB2 four inch mini tablet at the event. This device is essentially a Samsung Galaxy S phone without the 3G hardware inside. It will still have the Android market, however. What appears to be a Galaxy Tab was spotted in Australia today:
Also at IFA, Viewsonic is bringing back its tablet line with a 7-inch Android device and a 10-incher that will dual-boot Windows 7 and Android. The fact that it runs Windows means the 10-inch tablet will likely be Intel Atom based, something more uncommon in the Android tablet realm.
Traditionally only an OEM, even Texas Instraments is getting into the Tablet game with their Blaze platform. This looks to be a bigger hardware device, but still runs on ARM, so it should be a natural fit for Android.
Toshiba is rumored to be bringing out a 10 inch Android based tablet based on the speedy NVIDIA Tegra 2 in the next two months, according to Digitimes. The same report said that Lenovo (LePad) and Acer, using Qualcomm chips, were reading Android tablets by the end of the year.
Dell's Streak mini-tablet/macro phone is rumored to be joined by bigger siblings by the end of the year. Hopefully Dell (DELL) is working on a more recent version of the Android OS than the Streak's 1.6.
ASUS, the inventor of the Netbook (whose numbers may be being impacted by tablets), has its own $399 Android-based EeePad being readied for March of next year. The company also has some Windows-based tablets being readied for 2011.
As well as just about every major player, lots of smaller vendors are in the process of releasing Android tablets at really low prices. Kmart debuted a $150 Android tablet this month from Augen which isn't going to win any quality awards. But India has even cheaper devices based on Android planned to be in the $35 - $50 range. One Laptop Per Child is hoping they can meet their original goal of $100 with a sleek Android tablet, if not lower it to $75.
What's happening outside of the Android universe?
Apple's (AAPL) iPad has been rumored to be joined by a new 7-inch cousin. Will it happen at Apple's September iPod event? Will it have a camera? Perhaps it will share content with the also rumored new $99 iTV.
BlackBerry (RIMM) is rumored to be readying its BlackPad with an OS it picked up from QNX Software Systems, rather than its own Blackberry 6 OS. At this early stage, it is hard to imagine what advantages this device will bring the consumer but QNX builds the OS inside some BMW cars as well as military vehicles and tanks.
And last but not necessarily least, HP (HPQ) is still going to be trotting out their Windows-based tablet at some point this year according to comments they made after their earnings call last week, but will wait until next year to roll out its acquired webOS-based PalmPad.
Did I forget anyone?
Cisco's got its Cius Android tablet which I already covered but conveniently forgot about. It has a shot to be your IT guy's favorite and might even give Blackberry headaches.
Nokia's got tablets too. Besides the N900 series of Maemo devices, they might be unveiling a Meego based Intel processor tablet in the coming months.
Notion Ink's Atom has a screen by Pixel Qi which turn from normal LCD to an eInk like display with all of the power and Sunlight benefits that go along with it.
The rest of the comments fit into the 'not mainstream' category