For the current set of Tablets the iPad is the clear winner in every category, which is somewhat surprising considering it was the first Tablet to launch and the one that later competitors knew they had to beat – but as of yet none have succeeded.
The competition has shipped displays with smaller viewing angles, lower pixel density, smaller gamuts, higher reflectance and in the case of the Transformer a lower bit depth, rendering a dithered 18-bit image. The Xoom costs, at their lowest prices, $300 more than the iPad 2, and yet has ranked the worst of the three tablets reviewed.
How does this happen? How do you review a competitor’s product and decide not to match them on quality or price? This is simply reinforcing my belief that there is no tablet market, merely an iPad market.
As an aside: the iPad’s gamut is nothing to write home about, which has already caused us problems with the dark scenes in CreaVures. Why are mobile gamuts so damn narrow, anyway?
Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath.
So Motorola’s new $800 baby comes with a little caveat: you can’t so much as turn on the WiFi radio without throwing down $20 for the first month’s data plan, ensuring that Verizon takes at least a little bit of the cut from the sale. While this is of course unofficial, it is worth noting that this policy is shared by the 7” Galaxy Tab on the same network.
Of course the first question in our heads is: how did this happen?
My deduction is as follows: Google is probably continuing the trend of requiring cellular modems in products that ship with the Google Apps package. This was the case for Android 1.x and 2.x, and while I had hoped this requirement would be dropped for the 3.x release, given the reliance on a wireless carrier here I’m assuming it hasn’t been. (On this point I would love to be proven wrong!)
Now, on the matter of retail distribution: Apple clearly stands above Motorola et al. Apple stores are everywhere, they’re well staffed and well stocked. It would be literally impossible for any third-party manufacturer to ship product in the way that Apple does. The only way they can hope to reach consumers in a situation where they’re unable to sell a WiFi only model is through wireless carriers. Wireless carriers will demand their margins in the only way they know how: selling service.
You can see what the carriers are thinking: an unsuspecting individual walks in, is very impressed by what they see, pick up the ($800) tab, throw down for the $20 service and never bother to cancel it because it’s just that convenient. Not to say this is a bad model, but I like to believe that people’s bullshit detectors are more finely tuned than this.
Honeycomb represents a big leap forward for Android, and the Xoom is the boat it sails in on. While I hope it performs better than its anemic 7” cousin, it’s policies like these that damage that possibility.