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Summary:

Three iPad competitors running Google Android were announced at the IFA show in Berlin. Each has pros and cons, but will any be able to take a bite of the hot tablet market? Here are the odds of each to sell a million units by year-end.

samsung-galaxy-tab

As expected, several Google Android slates were unveiled at the IFA electronics show in Berlin, which kicked off yesterday. Three in particular are garnering buzz: Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, Toshiba’s Folio 100 and Viewsonic’s Viewpad 7. All three enter as underdogs though, because Apple’s iPad has owned the tablet market up to this point, and is estimated to sell 12.9 million units this year. So what chance of success do these three contenders have when compared to the iPad? Here are the odds of each selling just a million units as I see it, having used touchscreen and digital inking tablets since 2004.

Samsung Galaxy Tab. Samsung is wisely leveraging the design, hardware and success of its Galaxy S smartphone line, of which a million units have shipped in the U.S. since June. The Tab is essentially a blown-up Galaxy S handset with 7-inch capacitive screen running Android 2.2 at 1024 x 600 resolution. Unlike the iPad, the Galaxy Tab has front and back cameras. One huge positive for the Tab is support for all Google apps and the Android Market, two factors that have held back prior Android tablets from any chance of success. Prices — not officially announced yet — will be a factor however, as early talk at IFA indicates a €699 – 799 ($890 – $1,020 USD) price tag. That’s without carrier subsidies, however, and retailers could decide to price lower. Odds of selling a million tablets by year end: 4-1 if the price is competitive with the iPad, 10-1 if not.

Toshiba Folio 100. Toshiba isn’t a force in the smartphone market, so unlike Samsung, it took a top-down approach and built the Folio 100 from a smartbook design. Folio 100 gets a strong performance boost with its Nvidia Tegra 2 processor powering a 10-inch capacitive display. It too will run Android, but since the Folio 100’s hardware doesn’t meet Google’s specifications, there are no Google apps and no access to the Android Market. Instead, users can buy apps from Toshiba’s far more limited market — a factor that will limit Folio sales to all but the geek crowd. Below is a hands-on video from Carrypad that shows both the silky performance, as well as limitations without full Google support. Odds of selling a million tablets by year end: 50-1.

[ooyala=RidTJwMTrI7QrfFQ6vZtPTZ22791UHc5]

Viewsonic ViewPad 7. Another 7-inch entry, the ViewPad 7 isn’t hobbled by the lack of Android Market access, but could be handicapped based on the 600 MHz ARM chip that powers the device. It’s too early to make performance determinations, but I’d expect the ViewPad experience to lag behind both its fellow tablets and the iPad. Unfortunately, Viewsonic opted for an 800 x 480 screen, which is the bare minimum for a decent experience on a 7-inch display. The choices of CPU and screen are helping the keep the price down. The tablet is estimated to max out at €399, which may be compelling enough to make up for any potential performance pitfalls. Odds of selling a million tablets by year end: 30-1.

More competitors will likely jump into this market between now and year end — even more as the Android paltform matures. For now though, these three are trying to lead the fight against Apple’s iPad. Without the support of a massive and easy to use ecosystem, such as the iTunes App Store, none are likely to dethrone the iPad. But at the very least, if Android’s Froyo sounds tasty on a tablet, consumers have some reasonably good options.

Related content on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): Can Anyone Compete With the iPad?

  1. the archos 10.1″ is going to be like $300.. that could compete based on price alone

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    1. Yup, but another device without access to the Android Market – just like all of the prior ARCHOS Android tablets, which is a shame. Still, a nice device for the price.

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      1. Kevin, do you know why there is no Android market on Archos?

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  2. I’d like to hear what you guys think of the Velocity Micro Cruz Reader (and Tablet) scheduled to ship soon (I’m not affiliated):

    http://www.cruzreader.com/tablet.php

    I’m seriously considering an iPad, but the lack of Flash puts me in a weird position with it. I love the hardware, and the rich ecosystem….but certain streaming media sites I frequent require Flash.

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    1. Another lower-res display for this sized device, which is a minor drawback in my opinion. The company hasn’t specified the processor, so that concerns me as well. And no access to the Android Market or Google Apps, which for many would be a deal-breaker. Just my $0.02 of the device as it stands on paper, of course.

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      1. Wow, no access to the market? Well, that about slices it for me.

        Thanks.

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  3. Sigh. This is so obvious but to have success these things need to be 1) not carrier locked, 2) under$500, 3) have market access and 4) have reasonable performance and screen.

    I don’t mind a 3G option ala the iPad, but none of these will be anyone’s primary phone, so adding cost by putting in phone hardware in the base model is silly. So is not having market access – the apps are the thing on Android.

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    1. So why is Google refusing market access to so many tablets? And why are they against WiFi only models??? Are they that enslaved to Verizon?

      No WiFi only == no chance of ever catching either the iPad or iPod Touch.

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      1. Google wants Tablets to use Google Chrome as an OS not Android. They want everyone to use web apps, not native apps as their business model is still so largely rooted in web-based advertising. In-app advertising gives them less control.

        Hence they have been very closed-fisted about supporting the tablet form factor with Android.

        -Mart

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  4. One of many in a crowd of devices that nobody will remember.

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  5. Since Android is supposedly totally open, why no Google Marketplace? Can’t the geek boys just root it or something like they do with everything else so that it can access the Google Marketplace. It sounds like this company is deliberately trying to cripple these tablets.

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  6. The Tab is an awesome device and importantly has access to the Market. For me it hits the sweet spot in size and capability and is an infinitely more attractive prospect than the iPad which looks clumsy and dated by comparison.

    However, the reality is if the Tab isn’t priced at less than the iPad it isn’t going to sell that well. That’s just the power of Apple’s brand. If they do get it right then with Samsung’s distribution and carrier support it’ll sell millions.

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  7. these all sound priced way too high for any mass market appeal. iPAD buyers will pay a high premium for the apple brand. everything else needs to be under $300.

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  8. [...] by the successful launch of the iPad (s aapl), and will continue to grow as companies bring models based on the Android platform to market. While notebooks will remain the computers purchased by most, the tablet will [...]

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  9. [...] Samsung is smart to keep it simple with the Galaxy S line, and its iPad-competitor, the Tab, is a Galaxy S device as well. One basic framework to develop and support provides a consistent user experience and keeps [...]

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  10. [...] away some of the growth opportunities from Apple, as it has brought more options for consumers. The competition has come early for the iPad. Samsung recently launched its Galaxy Tablets in partnership with four major US carriers and this [...]

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