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back to article Google's stats show few Android tablets in use

Android may have topped Apple's iOS in terms of overall global smartphone sales, but if the latest figures from Google are to be believed, it certainly isn't winning many converts among tablet users – that is, if you ignore Amazon's customers, as the Chocolate Factory's numbers do. From Google's perspective, the number of …

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I bought this tablet a couple of months ago, and of course did due-diligence searching rather than say "want shiny". One of my criteria was that it must support the Google's store (having found GetJar rather lacking on my phone), and found myself having to discount a lot of kit (mainly cheaper brands) because they weren't able to access Play, which obviously can't be counted by Google.

TLDR: Google's stats are hardly authoritative because they don't count the cheap slabs.

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Anonymous Coward

Closet

Interesting statistics, that means although over 80% of readers on El Reg who like to scorn downvote and slate anything Apple appear to be CLOSET fanbois.

Do they hide in toilets, under beds or in garden shed using them?

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Anonymous Coward

Due diligence

Searching... You self important plonker.

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Trollface

Re: Due diligence

Self important? Nah, just know how important the money I have is.

Plonker? Guilty as charged!

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DN4
FAIL

Re: Closet

Only of 100% of El Reg readers own a fondleslab. Where you got this assumption from?

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Holmes

Re: Closet

Well either you've busted a shady internet forum hivemind conspiracy......... or the people who comment on here are a tiny minority of the tech buying public.

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JDX
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CLOSET fanbois.

Dude you need to take a intro to statistics course ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: CLOSET fanbois.

I think El Reg also need a statistics course as this story appears to be saying that Android Tablets are selling very poorly.

However, as Android devices are currently activating at 1.3 Million a day and are by far the biggest mobile OS the figures shown only represent a percentage of a large number.

You could perhaps take a figure of about 7% of Android devices are tablets from the statistics Large & x-Large screen size at MDPI. If the activations are averaged to 1million a day then there are approximately 25million Android tablets a year being activated.

However those assumptions are as statistically worthless as the story itself as the assumptions create error bars that makes the information garbage.

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Joke

Re: Closet

I did a survey of all the El Reg subscribers I know personally, and found that 100% of them have an Apple fondleslab, A Samsung Galaxy S, a MacBook Pro, a Windows desktop, an OpenSuse server and a Windows server.

The sample size is 1, which is more than sufficient to get an accurate profile of the El Reg readership as a whole.

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Joke

Re: Closet

I did the same survey and found that 100% of them have a Motorola Xoom, a Macbook pro with windows 7 installed on bootcamp and Amiga OS 3.1 running in e-uae, a Windows XP desktop thats so old it barely runs and doesn't get used much that also dual boots into Fedora linux when the mood takes me, a Windows 7 media centre PC that gets used even less as it's just as old as the desktop pc, no mobile phone so that the wife doesn't phone me every time a thought crosses her mind, a Toshiba laptop that the kids have inherited. Loads of ancient kit piling up in a cupboard, but not enough to build a working pc of any description.

This would suggest that 200% of the EL Reg readership own a Macbook pro!

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This is for several reasons

One: many Android tablets are rubbish. (Will your original Galaxy Tab with a still-quite-good-screen even get even Google's last version of Android, ICS, in a supported build? It hasn't even got the one before that!) This is being solved with the Nexus 7, though, even if it annoys many makers of said rubbish tablets.

Next: lack of USP. This is the maddening one. Google seem to have no plan for tablet Android besides 'iPad, more open, more powerful software environment, cheaper'. And that's not bad but there are lots of great ideas coming up in the Android community (split-screen app model with cut and paste between them), haptic feedback, stylus integration a la Galaxy Note 10.1, gesture palettes on the sides of the tablet right where your fingers are) that are dying because Google won't commit to them. Missed opportunity. Plays right into the above stereotype.

Finally: apps not optimised for tablets. I don't know what Google's plan here is besides wait. That may not be enough given competition from Windows 8.

Google's advantage is that Apple are control freaks. Their problem is that they can't seem to find a way to offer something definitively better, just something that gives you more room to tinker.

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Re: This is for several reasons

Sorry, what is USP?

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Re: This is for several reasons

Unique selling point or proposition. Something you offer but nobody else.

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@Mending - great ideas dying

Why would the Android OEMs want Google to include all their great ideas within Android itself? If everything they do is folded into Android so all licensees have equal access to it, then there is no reason to buy Samsung over HTC or LG over Sony.

The OEMs want to be able to differentiate so customers have a reason to buy THEIR tablet over the competition's, if Google steals all their ideas then they are reduced to competing with each other on hardware alone.

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Anonymous Coward

It's only the tech minded

That are bothered with update to their phones, accounting for perhaps 5% of the population. ICS, JB, GINGERBREAD... The rest really don't care at all.

The other 95% don't care in the slightest.

The 5% are however a very vocal minority, a bit like the Lib Dems used to be. Small dogs always like to bark the loudest.

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Coat

Sorry, what is USP?

I suspect it's a USB port, but one of the pins is bent.

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The curse of the free

> Next: lack of USP.

That's exactly the reason (well, one of the reasons) why Linux never really grabbed the world by the nuts and dominated the desktop. Any app that becomes successful on a "free" platform will inevitably follow the money and be ported to the mass-appeal systems. However, apps, or real big-boys software, that becomes popular (i.e. profitable) on mainstream, proprietary systems like Windows or iOS have little incentive to dilute the brand, and increase the support overheads by releasing a version that only a small percentage of users will buy or download at zero cost on Linux or Android.

Unless there's some unique feature in Android that can't be ported or replicated on the majority platforms, there will never be a USP for it. However the unique features on closed platforms will ensure that some killer apps they can run will be impossible for the free systems to replicate.

But in reality Windows and Apple's real USP was their marketing, packaging and "it just works" integration. Things that the fragmented Linux and Android app. spaces can never achieve.

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Thumb Down

Re: This is for several reasons

Google only has itself to blame for bad tablet sales...

The only reason I did not buy 2 Google Nexus 7's the day of release, was the lack of an SD card slot!

I am waiting for the other manufacturers to catch up and release a competing device WITH SD...

When I travel I don't have access to the Internet, and when I do, it is slow, so cloud storage is not viable, even when home my speeds are not good enough to store all my media on the cloud!

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FAIL

Re: This is for several reasons

I had the same trouble with McLaren and their 12C. Only 2 cup holders? No sale!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is for several reasons

@MrXavia http://www.zdnet.com/no-microsd-card-slot-on-the-nexus-7-no-problem-7000001307/

Works perfectly, did it on the N7. When you connect the thumb drive, it even creates the /sdcard folder for you so any apps don't know any different.

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JDX
Gold badge

Google's advantage is that Apple are control freaks

This is also Apple's advantage.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's only the tech minded

Not entirely. I regularly hear and read discussions along the lines of "Android is better because Android tablets have SD slots, run Flash, have high res screens, have xyz feature, and only cost £100".

Sadly, these are the people who are disappointed when they get one, because they understand "Android" to be a single system and don't realise that those benefits they've read about are split across 4 different devices. When they read about new features being added to Android, or new apps being released, they assume that that can have them too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: It's only the tech minded

He said about tech people. The average user (in UK) doesn't even know they are running Android or what it is. They used to refer to Android as an "HTC" but now more often it's a "Samsung".

If you go to most of the major phone websites - CarphoneWarehouse or Phones4u, you would struggle to find out that the S3 runs Android.

Unlike seemingly, the US, the UK does not promote the operating system.

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Coat

Re: This is for several reasons

My McLaren 16C doesn't even have 1 cup holder!

Mind you, I am usually too busy pedaling to notice. :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Mending - great ideas dying

" if Google steals all their ideas then they are reduced to competing with each other on hardware alone."

You mean like they would be with Windows Phone (if anyone was interested)?

Apple's closed ecosystem does give them some advantages (and their customers some disadvantages).

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Bronze badge

Re: This is for several reasons

Actually Android tablet's does have a USP, but IMHO the problem is the remaining use-cases that aren't addressed already by the iPad mean tend to result in something akin to Homer's car (look it up if you haven't seen the Simpson's episode where Homer designs a car for manufacture).

Now the thing is, if Homer's car were real, I would actually really really want one.

I just wouldn't want to admit to it.

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Re: This is for several reasons

I agree that it's a shame there are missed opportunities, but Apple don't have a USP either - I think the bigger problem is that people simply aren't aware of the higher end or larger Android tablets. It's depressing to see people who love their Android smartphones, and like Android, and chose it over Apple (and it isn't simply a case of buying something cheaper) then thinking that the only choice for tablets is an Ipad. Part of the problem is that the only tablets that have previously been publicised are either cheap deals on crappy low end unknown-brand tablets, or the Kindle Fire which is only available in some markets, and can't access Google Play. Hopefully the Nexus 7 will change awareness, though that's still not a 7". Maybe Samsung with have better luck with the "Note" brandname (making it appear a 10" version of their successful phone).

"apps not optimised for tablets."

What does this mean though? Given phones now have HD resolutions, it's not clear why there's a difficulty. There's also a wide range of sizes, from 3" to 10", with everything in between, so it's not like you can solve this with just two versions. Yes it's true there's more scope for better UIs - e.g., at 10", why not have a full windowing environment rather than having to have all applications run full screen. But again, Apple don't have this either, with it being only Samsung to advance things with split screens. (Whilst I'm glad to see this progress by Samsung and MS, it does amuse me - like we're meant to be impressed by a tiled window manager that was done by computers years ago - maybe TouchWiz 5 and Windows 9 will also add overlapping windows...)

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Re: The curse of the free

They may have marketed it that way, but I disagree it's fair to place Android in the same category of Linux[*]. Android Just Works at least as well as IOS, and I've seen people having problems with simple things on IOS. I'm like "But surely you just ..." and then realise this probably doesn't work on an Apple device.

And Android hasn't failed, it's the overwhelmingly dominant mobile OS, with smartphone share approaching 70%, whilst Iphone struggles at 16% and falling. It has succeeded, and it's Apple who desperately need a USP to do better. So there's no problem with Android and usability here - people are fine with it. Whatever problem on non-phone devices must have a different explanation.

[*] GNU/Linux, for the pedants who'll tell me that Android is Linux. Indeed, your post suggests we can lump Android with GNU/Linux just because they're the same kernel, which doesn't make sense at all.

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Re: This is for several reasons

Do Ipads have SD card slots? Don't get me wrong, I dislike it when devices don't include them, but that can't be the reason for Android doing less well on tablets. Especially since plenty of tablets do have SD card slots. (Sure the Google tablet doesn't, but neither do the Google phones, and Android is doing amazingly well on phones.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's only the tech minded

Sounds like you know nothing about Android, as even if you don't have ICS yet, or Jellybean, you can still use the latest apps just fine...

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Re: It's only the tech minded

surely this is wrong as there are minimum os levels in android and new features may appear in new versions of the os that three latest apps may use meaning they won't work on older os versions?

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Linux

Re: This is for several reasons

"I can hold it in my hand" is a pretty compelling USP.

I originally got a 7" Samsung tablet to give to my kid but the wife took it instead. She replaced her iPad with it. It's big enough for her requirements plus it is more portable. It's good enough while being small and cheap.

She dumped her iPhone for an S3 too. Got tired of waiting for the iPhone 5.

A 7" tablet is cheap enough to be an impulse buy, an Apple tablet not so much.

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Linux

Re: The curse of the free

Things don't "just work" on Windows. People buy Windows because it's been the dominant platform since you had to do your own memory management by hand. Technological considerations aren't really a factor at all. DOS or Windows is what got bundled with PCs. IBM had trouble coping and Be couldn't even give their OS away.

It's idiotic to try and lump in Macs with Windows. Macs have always been an also-ran. They are this now and they were this when they were unable to compete against MS-DOS.

By the time Linux came around, MS-DOS was already deeply entrenched.

Apple hasn't had nearly the same amount of lead time. Their advantage is much smaller and apps are generally cheap. The gap between Android and PhoneOS is much smaller than it ever was for WinDOS and any of it's rivals. Android as a successful phone platform will ensure that this gap only shrinks.

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Re: It's only the tech minded

When people see my Samsung phone, they recognise it as "a Google Phone". They understand that the apps and other stuff can be purchased from the Google Play store rather than the iTunes store, and that manufacturers other than Samsung make phones like that.

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Joke

Re: This is for several reasons

"Now the thing is, if Homer's car were real, I would actually really really want one.

I just wouldn't want to admit to it."

You just did!

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Re: This is for several reasons

When is an SD card slot no as SD card slot? When its on a motorola xoom.

Let me explain. The motorola xoom comes with an sd card slot which doesn't work with android 3.0, the version of android that it is shipped with. It does work after updating to android 3.1, but stops working after updating to ICS.

Having no SD card slot might actually be better; at least you know that it's never going to work!?

I do use my tablet daily and find it really useful, but the above, combined with the lack of usb changing, and motorola's insane update release schedule (Europe gets ICS 6 months after the US) makes me almost wish I'd spent the extra few quid and got the iPad.

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Major purchase

The problem is that these things are expensive and with expense comes risk-aversion - so fewer purchases for the non-market leader.

Then there is the problem that cheaper tablets self-select to those with less money who are more likely to go for a laptop instead. And also there is a bit of cheapness in the build quality which Apple wouldn't countenance - so they don't look as good either.

I want an x86/arm laptop hybrid with detachable screen. A tablet is too limited to spend that much on a good screen and battery.

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Holmes

Androd App Market?

Its bigger than Google, right? I mean the whole point of Android being open rather than a walled garden ala iOS is that multiple stores are possible. These statistics might be more of a condemnation of Google's store rather than of the platform itself.

If you want to know how well Android tablets are selling, ask the tablet manufacturers and retailers.

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Unhappy

The main problem for fondleslabs...

...is the paucity of meaningful biz apps, such as a decent office suite. Now, if OpenOffice were to be ported to Android, there might be a fair few more supplicants to the fondleslab world, but until then, and with the VERY limited offerings from Google Drive and Polaris Office, I can't see anyone really taking a fondleslab seriously for business purposes - and that's where they need to aim it, in order to make it sell in any meaningful numbers.

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FAIL

Microsoft playing silly buggers again

They have a running version of Office for iOS. People have seen it, opened it, played with it. They just won't release it because they think holding it back will sell Windows 8 on tablets. I suspect they're right that Office for iPad would leave Windows 8 completely lacking in any reason to prefer it, but am still annoyed by their playing games like this. Still, at least it means a native Cocoa codebase for Word and Excel should be ready to ship with Office for Mac 2014.

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Re: The main problem for fondleslabs...

Quick Office is pretty good. I use it all the time for writing, even on my phone. Does all the basic office productivity stuff and I doubt most people would need more than that on their slab. I believe Goog own it now but it was good even before they got their paws on it. The only downside I've found is that it doesn't support opendocument, which is a bit of a drawback, but one I'm willing to live with if it lets me write.

And OpenOffice or LibreOffice (can't remember which) is being ported to android as we speak. So there you go.

All it takes is a little searching.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Quick Office is pretty good."

How long do you think that will last now it's Google-owned? There's a reason there's no SD slot on the Nexus...

" OpenOffice or LibreOffice (can't remember which) is being ported to android as we speak"

Hmmm. Probably good news. Not quite the QuickOffice replacement we might hope for, but then again with a dual or quad-core processor, half a gig of RAM or more and semi-unlimited filesystem on any decent tablet, maybe compactness and ultimate performance (and battery life??????) no longer matter much?

Interesting times.

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Bronze badge

kinda scary data collection

We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical We control the diagonal.

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We will control

The curves Apple hasn't patented?

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Anonymous Coward

Google store undercounting

I doubt if slabs from China can reach the Google store, even though there are gazillions of tablets being produced with dual core and quad core.

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Re: Google store undercounting

A lot of these clones are modded to spoof the store by presenting themselves as other devices (eg GT-I9100) - I know mine are. Google "build prop" for more info

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Linux

Re: Google store undercounting

My Onda Tablet I just renamed some bits in some of the configuration files to allow more access, but meant faking the screen size. So its people like me screwing up their results :S

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Alien

Isnt this a sign

Tablet manufacturers (esp Samsung & Sony) should really now pay more attention to Open WebOS. Android was always lacking as a tablet platform, but not WebOS. Sad it didnt have the traction, and HP did far too little, too late. The open source avatar could see the mass adoption rates if it's only given a chance.

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Facepalm

Re: Isnt this a sign

So, you're saying Samsung and Sony should pay attention to an OS that has gained even less traction than Android? Odd decision.

Executive #1: Ugh, our tablets only seem to be running on the #2 tablet OS.

Executive #2: I know, let's switch to the #3 tablet OS.

Executive #1: Brilliant!

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