Samsung Sells 600,000 Galaxy Tablets in First Month
Depending on who you ask, it's the death of the iPad or the death of Android on tablets. But the news is this: Samsung sells 600,000 Galaxy tablets worldwide in its first month on the market. The inevitable comparisons pair this with the one million iPads sold in the tablet's first month. Really, this is good news for both Android and the iPad. Many Android fans are likely waiting for more Android tablets to come out (at more compelling prices). In other words, the Galaxy tab is not an iPad killer, but it's a big win for Samsung.
Reviews have been mixed, but one of the biggest complaints is that Android 2.2 doesn't seem to have been designed with tablets in mind, and it shows while using many of the Galaxy tablet's regular programs. My personal complaint (and reason for not being interested) is that at $399 with a 2-year carrier contract, this is not the low-cost champion we've been waiting for in Android. It's not a bad tablet, but those Android fans who are waiting for something better are in good company. And if/when that something better comes along, I'd expect to see Android make significant headway on Apple in the tablet space.
Android 3.0 will be Better for Tablets, Hopefully
Speaking of Android, there's been talk about Android 3.0 (Gingerbread) and if it will be better suited for tablets. There hasn't been much confirmation on this that I have seen, though phandroid.com does report that the improvements in Gingerbread will be largely cosmetic. This "prettying up" process will most likely include display enhancements to make Android better suited for tablets. (Note that Android displays fine on tablets, but one of the common complaints with the Galaxy tablet is Android just looks like the phone interface blown up, not a unique interface for the tablet form factor.) The details are sketchy but should be coming in shortly—it's a tricky time for hardware manufacturers because they have to choose between aiming for the 2010 holiday season and waiting for Android 3.0 for their tablet releases. So far, it looks like many of them are waiting for Android 3.0, which also suggests that it will have improvements for tablets.
Microsoft Focusing Windows 7, not Windows Phone, on Tablets
Here's a controversial question: As Microsoft moves in on the tablet space, should they promote Windows 7 or Windows Phone as the Windows tablet operating system? Well, it looks like Microsoft has chosen Windows 7: A Microsoft spokesperson said in October that the company has no plans to develop Windows Phone 7 for tablets, but the company will continue to pursue adapting Windows 7 for this role. I'm still trying to decide if this strategy makes sense or not.
On one hand, tablets are computers, and if they are to make significant headway in the enterprise they will ideally be manageable like computers. (Score for Windows 7.) But on the other hand, tablets are increasingly being considered part of the "mobile" scene, a segment that includes smartphones and is being increasingly marketed to by mobility management companies that let you manage and monitor smartphone usage. (See earlier articles on vendors Zenprise and BoxTone to learn more.) So I can see value in having an organization lump tablets and smartphones under a similar bucket. Either way, this means Windows tablets will be loaded with the more robust desktop OS, which will offer a win in some features but will likely hinder the devices in more consumer-oriented categories where app stores currently shine, such as gaming.
RIM's PlayBook Catching the Eye of Some Businesses Already
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal summarizes the responses of several large organizations looking into the RIM PlayBook as a companion device. For organizations where BlackBerry smartphones are already prevalent, the PlayBook will be a compelling offering, granting added power and visuals to mobile BlackBerry users. But because the device requires a BlackBerry smartphone to have full functionality, it's unlikely that the device will score RIM many new customers.
Does your organization have any interest in purchasing tablets for employees? Do you, or anyone you know, currently own a tablet for personal use? Would appreciate your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter.