While reading a report from comScore last night, I was not surprised to learn that the Amazon Kindle Fire commands over 50% market share of the Android tablet market. But the really surprising fact (revealed by the same report) is that these Android tablet computers have actually lost market share:
- Samsung Galaxy Tab Family
- Motorola Xoom
- Asus Transformer
- Toshiba AT100
- Acer Picasso
- Acer Iconia
- Dell Streak
- Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1
- Sony Tablet S
These facts seem to indicate that, even though these feature-rich tablets are plentiful, consumers prefer an Android tablet computer that is less expensive. With this being said, I also believe that Amazon, Google, or whomever can improve upon the successful Amazon Kindle Fire and introduce to the masses a tablet computer that remains feature-rich but, at the same time, keeps the price within reason. In my opinion, that price point would need to be under $300 (preferably less — think $250), yet would offer the consumer real value or, as the old saying goes, ‘more bang for your buck.’
Here are a few of the features that I would like to see in a tablet computer:
- Keep the Amazon Kindle Fire screen and resolution. Reason: it works.
- Increase the screen size from 7″ to 9″.
- Increase the processor speed. The Fire can be pokey at times.
- More memory always helps.
- Larger on-board storage would be nice. 8 GB limits your options and should be at least 16 GB or larger.
- Micro SD at 32 GB or larger.
- Micro HDMI.
I would imagine there could be two models: a less-expensive standard model without SD and HDMI priced at $250, plus a deluxe model that includes these options priced at $300 — perhaps with an option for 4G connectivity.
If it were Amazon that built such a model, I would also like the ability to download and install applications from Google Play. Currently, the Kindle Fire limits the user to installing only approved applications directly from Amazon and Amazon, alone.
One of the other things I personally like about the Amazon Kindle Fire is that the unit has some heft to it. Yes, I know that thin is in, however, I believe that strength is also important. Our son-in-law dropped his iPad on the floor and the unit hit the corner, cracking the glass in half. The unit is still useable, but a replacement glass would cost $200 — far more than I believe it is actually worth.
So, in addition to the above, I would also like to see a protective cover included with the unit. The Toshiba Thrive comes with a unique, removable, protective cover which comes in five colors to add a distinctive touch, plus grip, to the unit. In fact, the Thrive has another feature that I would like to see in a tablet computer, and that is a replaceable battery. There are two reasons for this. First, you can buy an additional battery to extend the hours you use the unit. Second, all batteries eventually fail and tossing out a perfectly good tablet because the battery is dead seems silly and wasteful to me.
With that being said, the Toshiba Thrive would seem to be the ideal tablet computer, since the Thrive actually meets most of the requirements I have stated above. Yet the Thrive has not been a booming success and I have seen refurbished units on eBay for as little as $199 with a 90-day warranty.
I believe that, for a tablet to be successful with the requirements I have stated above, it will need to come from a company such as Amazon, Google, or Barnes & Noble. All of the major OEMs, including Toshiba, HP, Samsung, Asus, Acer, and others have tried but have failed miserably. I believe the masses want a reliable device from a reliable company that is inexpensive.
Two of the members of our Gnomies group, when asked what they would like to see in a new tablet, stated the following.
Built-in support for services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, etc.
I would like to add to Joe’s statement the ability to uninstall the add-ons if we choose not to use the services included with Android. I always find it annoying that some pre-installed Android applications can’t be removed and just take up space.
Accelerometer, magnetometer, Geiger counter, air pressure, and temperature sensors all come to mind. A high-efficiency solar cell on the back might be nice to “top off” the charge, but in all practicality, is going to be useless as a primary source of energy. Matte plastics and glass that repel oil. Option for second detachable screen or whiteboard. Detachable keyboard. Multiboot Windows and Android. Ruggedized case with integrated stylus holder.
I like the idea of ‘matte plastics and glass that repel oil,’ which would be a blessing. Fingerprints are enough to attack our sanity and drive us all mad.
So there you have it. What do you think? Can a fully functional tablet computer be made at a reasonable price?