Blog Post

The Real Tablet Wars Will Have to Wait Until Next Year

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Even with the much publicized release of the Galaxy Tab this week, it looks like the real battle to upend the iPad (s aapl) won’t happen until next year. Lenovo’s chief executive confirmed that its LePad tablet won’t hit the market until 2011. LG also pushed back the release of its tablet until next year. Both are waiting to launch their tablets with Android Honeycomb, the upcoming release that is designed for tablets. Meanwhile, those who want RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook (s rimm) or a webOS-based tablet will also have to wait until early next year.

This isn’t to say that competitors aren’t lining up offerings right now. Samsung is predicting it can sell 1 million Galaxy Tab devices running Android 2.2 by the end of this year. Acer is expected to unveil new tablets running Android later this month. And Dell has released the 5-inch Streak, which runs an older version of Android.

But Google (s goog) has said that, currently, Android isn’t designed for tablets. And it looks like Gingerbread, the update that is scheduled to be released any day now, won’t be optimized for tablets. So Android tablets, even if they’re released this year, probably won’t hit their stride until Google releases Honeycomb.

Right now, manufacturers are torn between moving forward and trying to get some traction like Samsung is attempting to do, or waiting until the platform matures, but risk Apple zooming ahead again with the iPad 2. That some like LG and Lenovo are sitting it out suggests they’d rather nail it the first time with the right software rather than put out something that initially disappoints.

The early reviews of the Galaxy Tab illustrate some of those issues. It’s generally a solid platform, providing a blown-up smartphone experience. But reviewers have noted that the software still has a ways to go before it’s on par with the iPad. David Pogue of the New York Times praised the tablet but said existing apps are not designed for the large screen and the browser steers people to mobile sites, rather than full desktop sites that look better on the screen. Gizmodo was less charitable, calling it the Tab, “a grab bag of neglect, good intentions and poor execution.”

The iPad will surely get serious competition and will undoubtedly lose its 95 percent share of the tablet market. But it looks like we’ll need to wait for next year when Android tablets, along with a BlackBerry PlayBook and a webOS tablet from HP (s hpq), can make a real run at the iPad.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

10 Responses to “The Real Tablet Wars Will Have to Wait Until Next Year”

  1. anthony zorn

    I will say it again, the real endgame will begin when the first manufacturer adds cellular telephone funcionality to a tablet computer. Mark my words. All other details that are being discussed will refine the current tablet offerings BUT everyone continues to ignore the issue of device consolidation (so beautifully implemented in the iPhone). Most continue to favor smart phones over tablets and this will not change until someone finally gets the message, tablets are not continuing with the principal driver in mobile tech, reduction of carried devices to…one

  2. I think only tablets ~10″ Screens and Smartphones with touch screens with ~4″ Screens will be successful and hits, that how i see it.

    Maybe Apple, new Google Tablet OS & Windows will make it.

  3. i prefer the iPad… It just seems like the “copies” is good when they arrive, but with the next release of iPads they are behind again… lots of competions this days to win one as well, if you dont have one… Have you noticed the new campaign from the it security company sophos… easy to win if you like to share things… :)

  4. Nook Color is better for reading than iPad and better for everything else than Kindle. Nook Color is better for $249. Nook Color screen is supposed to be better (less reflective) for reading than iPad thanks to new LG screen with anti-reflection coating. It allows to watch videos, listen to the music, view Office documents and PDF’s. The Nook Color will not run apps straight out of the Android Market, but that does not mean it cannot run them. In fact, they have done a lot of tests on apps from standard Android smartphones and they pretty much run on Nook Color, which has Android 2.1 under the hood. (The Nook native interface and apps are just standard Android application layers.) Barnes & Noble special Nook SDK runs on top of the standard Android one and gives developers access to exclusive extensions and APIs for the Nook and its interface. So porting Android apps is not difficult. B&N says it is more like optimising them for Nook than porting them. If you prefer e-Ink screen, the original Nook is still available from BN.