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back to article Third of Brits now regularly fondling their slabs, say beancounters

A third of Brits now uses a tablet computer at least once a month, thanks to cheapo kit running the ever-popular Android OS, while iPad growth slows dramatically according to a new study. The numbers refer to usage, rather than purchases, and come from beancounters eMarketer. The growth in tablet use will slow over the next few …

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We'll see the usual pattern ...

... burst of Android sales, never refreshed as people realize they've made a terrible mistake, surge of 'back to Apple' some 12-18 months after the Android push.

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Re: We'll see the usual pattern ...

I don't really think so. I think tablets are fast becoming a generic commodity.

As long as it has half decent build quality and battery life, and a web browser that doesn't chug on the pages you want to load, I honestly think that's the most important thing to most people, and it'll become a common and relatively unexciting item.

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Completely agree. My family's iPad is only used for Chrome, Facebook and iPlayer. Amongst friends, the only additional activities that seemed to be popular are kids games and running up accidental four figure micro transaction bills. Aside from maybe the latter, you can do all of those on the likes of a Kindle Fire or even (whisper it) a Surface Rt for much less than the fruity ones device.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We'll see the usual pattern ...

I too don't really think so. Android has the disadvantage that development is spread across many companies and there must be a lot of wasted effort in duplication.But once it has enough market share, the net development of Android will surely overtake Apple.

A large company is basically a command economy, like the former Soviet Union, with all its strengths and weaknesses. Apple is now a post-Stalin - sorry, post-Jobs - company. And we know how that usually pans out.

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Re: We'll see the usual pattern ...

I bought some (very) cheap tablets for the kids at Christmas. My son managed to break the screen on his in 3 months. He got some money for his birthday so I bought him a new one, for less than the one I had bought a few months earlier. In those few months the cheapo Android tablets had moved on from the barely usable, but fine for the kids, to a pretty darn good device. I never see any need to spend the money that Apple want for their kit.

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FAIL

Re: We'll see the usual pattern ...

Dear Phil,

In tuture, please remember to use the 'troll ' icon.

There's a good chap.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We'll see the usual pattern ...

"Third of Brits now regularly fondling their slabs"

Probably should read:

"Third of Brits now regularly fondling iPads"

They may sell a lot of other tablets but people do not use them as much. I know plenty of people with Android / other tablets - quite a lot with Kindle (Fire) tablets but none seem to actually use them much. The Kindle Fire are mainly because they could get a colour screen Kindle e-reader but little else.

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Re: We'll see the usual pattern ...

Of course we'll see the usual pattern. But the usual pattern is lots of people claiming they're going back to iPad but sales figures that say something very different...

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Re: We'll see the usual pattern ...

> I know plenty of people with Android / other tablets...

> but none seem to actually use them much

Perhaps they bought them because someone kept saying how life-changing and important owning a tablet is, got it home and realised that - there are far better things they could be doing with their lives.

But the tablet wasn't *that* expensive, so they can be honest with themselves and just ignore it, rather than running around telling everyone how life-changing it all is, in a desperate attempt to mute the congnitive dissonance.

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Re: We'll see the usual pattern ...

If you've already got an Android phone, then an Android tablet is a no-brainer as any apps you have bought for your phone are also available for free for your tablet... also any content you've bought on google play is also readily available as well without having to pay for it again...

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Re: We'll see the usual pattern ...

I tend to agree that in tablets more so than phones, Apple has a very distinct lead in the sheer quantity and quality of tablet apps. If you only plan to do web browsing then sure there isn't that much difference, but in every other area the iPad is ahead. Want to download some high quality education apps without ads, then get an iPad, want to experiment with music creation, productivity software, innovative games, get an iPad. Almost every tablet app comes out first on the iPad and sometimes months ahead of Android such as the recent iPlayer download function or never such as the Sky Sports app. I play around with an Android tablet every now and again, but it doesn't offer anything unique except it is not usually being used by somebody else.

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Anecdoltal

" I know plenty of people with Android / other tablets ... but none seem to actually use them much."

Leaving aside the slightly creepy 24/7 monitoring of your acquaintances, I see your pointless anecdotal evidence and raise it a since-I-got-her-an-Android-tablet-the Mrs-has-used-it-every-day-and-hasn't-touched-her-iMac-once. (Terrible hairy legs she has as a result).

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h3
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Re: We'll see the usual pattern ...

Google doesn't seem to do good build quality any longer the Nexus tablets are almost designed to be disposable.

(The Xoom is great / I would probably have upgraded to one of the Nexus ones if it was similar quality but I don't use my tablet enough to justify getting a new one every year.)

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Re: We'll see the usual pattern ...

As a Nexus 7 buyer, I realise I've made a terrible mistake - it's shocking, for only a mere extra £100, I could have got myself something with a much lower resolution, quarter the RAM, slightly heavier, and an ecosystem with less apps. I'm kicking myself, I tell you. I bet all those Hudl buyers are kicking themselves too - I mean, their devices with higher resolution, double the RAM, all just to save a further £120.

(And seriously - when I want something more functional, I use my laptop running a real OS.)

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Re: We'll see the usual pattern ...

If a company is supporting the minority of IOS users and not Android, the fault is with the company. The TV companies don't get it - people who download TV can watch it on any device they like.

I'm not convinced there are more "tablet" apps - but again even if it was, the fault is with the companies, not the product. This is ill-defined anyway - smartphones and tablets are the same thing - and if you mean for large screens, then why does an app designed for a 10" ipad work well on an 8" ipad mini, but apps designed for a 5" Android phone don't work on a 7" Android tablet? Funny how having less software was never a valid criticism against Apple for Macs...

And if I want to do something productive, I'm going to be using Windows or Linux, on a device with a keyboard and touchpad, not a fisherpricepad.

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Re: Anecdoltal

You won't be able to pry my Kindle Fire HD from my cold dead fingers.

Unless you replace it with a new Kindle Fire HDX, that is.

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Re: Anecdoltal

My old HP Touchpad was working well, until I discovered it didn't have a wine compatibility layer.

A glass of rose on the coffee table discovered that. :(

I have an Asus Transformer because it had a decent keyboard (that truth be told gets little use unless I need to sit and write a long email / comment post...)

I'm happy to think that if I got a Tesco Value Cudl I can use the same apps that I use on my Asus and on my mobile.

Truth be told though, my partner has an iPad and iPhone, and is happy with both. The iPad is a nice piece of kit, and seems a little faster than the Asus (though truth be told I'm usually multitasking several applications...). The iPhone seems to get slower and slower - built in redundancy?

I think it is likely that a fair few people would find Tesco Hudls under the tree this xmas. Then, in 18 months time, if they feel like upgrading, they can get something like a Samsung Galaxy and keep their apps.

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Re: We'll see the usual pattern ...

Wow that's awesome, don't anybody tell Apple or everybody will want this radical distribution model!

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Re: We'll see the usual pattern ...

I've got a Nexus 7 and iPad v 4, the iPad is firmly in second place amongst my family as it doesn't allow mutliple accounts. Where as the N7 has one for each of us.

Annoyingly I've spent far more on the iPad in terms of apps, especially for my daughter who won't even look at it if the N7 is available.

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Anonymous Coward

Android already king of tablet marketshare globally.

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Android-tablets-overtake-iPad-sales-in-Q2-of-2013-386963.shtml

Of course Apple fanboys will say this is spread across many models, I would say change the world "spread" to "Diluted" and it would be more accurate. If Google only sold Nexus tablets, it would still be killing Apple in sales, simply because it's a better/cheaper/less restrictive product

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Re: Android already king of tablet marketshare globally.

"Of course Apple fanboys will say this is spread across many models"

Nope, we'll say come back when the tube or train test comes out in favour of something other than Apple. This test is easy, stand on a busy commuter train and count the number of iPads in use. You won't need to count the number of alternative tablets because in my experience it is always <=1. Similar story with phones, although there are more than 1 alternatives in use. For e-readers it's usually a Kindle with the exception of myself still using the old Sony :)

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Re: Android already king of tablet marketshare globally.

Last time I was on the tube I saw one ipad, three droids and a windows slab.

of course, as that doesn't fit the narrative, it's entirely meaningless and can be safely ignored.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Android already king of tablet marketshare globally.

People stupid enough to work in the city and pay train commute prices are the same market that Apple target.

You might as well walk into an Apple store and count the number of Android devices in use...

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Re: Android already king of tablet marketshare globally.

Well my company pays the train fare and I'm only there once or twice a month.

Did you mean Apple target successful people with jobs? If so I'd agree that Android seems to target the poor and the unsuccessful ;)

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Re: Android already king of tablet marketshare globally.

The tube test doesn't show how many people use crApple vs. alternatives, it shows crApple owners' propensity to wave their kit around in public.

For instance, watch the queue in Starbucks. Now, damned near every adult (at least of those present in a city that has a Starbucks) carries a cellular telephone of some description. All of the cellular telephones being waved around by people in the queue are iphones. Not everyone in the queue is waving a telephone around. This does not mean that we conclude that 100% of cellular telephones are iphones.

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Re: Android already king of tablet marketshare globally.

Good point Paulll, although you missed the obvious explanation. They aren't showing them off, they are USING them. My point was not that there are no Android devices on the train, it's that the owners are choosing not to actually use them for some reason. People with iPads will be bwowsing, reading or playing games while Android owners will be staring bored at the seat in front - why would this be?

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Re: Android already king of tablet marketshare globally.

Well, as I pointed out, they are using them in my experience. Perhaps you're just seeing people who don't have a tablet and assuming that they're android owners. Or people who simply weren't using them at that particular moment.

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Re: Android already king of tablet marketshare globally.

More likely he's blind to the Android tabs because so few of them are 10" 4:3 slabs, the more typical 7" Android devices that fly off shelves are too easy to mistake as just phones.

In one sense he's right. On the streets I only ever notice iPads in use. Any time there's a photo opportunity there will be a bunch of wallys holding 10" iPads *with their book cover style cases open and flapping in the breeze* taking photos and general looking like halfwits.

I notice them because it's such a ludicrous sight, so hard not to notice. So hard not to laugh at. With Apple belatedly jumping on the small tablet sector maybe there are probably plenty of iPad Mini's wandering the streets, haven't noticed them though... they don't make their users look like idiots!

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Happy

Yep!

I recently bought my technophobe mum a new 7 inch £31 tablet, as I hoped she'd be able to use it to skype the grandkids etc.

At that price, it wouldn't be a drastic waste of money if she didn't take to it. As it is, she's already talking about buying a bigger model!

At these sort of prices, they are also more suitable for irresponsible young children!

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Re: Yep!

Who was selling a tablet at £31? Was it an unknown brand or something like the TouchPad fire sale?

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Re: Yep!

It's actually an unbranded Chinese export. I'm typing this on one now (I bought one for myself too!)

I'm very impressed - I didn't think I'd take to tablets, but at the price it was worth a punt.

http://www.focalprice.com/CE0292B/7_Android_4.0.4_A13_1.2GHz_Tablet_PC_with_External_3G_1080P_Playback_Capacitive_Touch_4G__Black_.html?Currency=GBP

I have no affiliation with them - just a satisfied customer etc.

As the comments on the site note, the battery life isn't very good. Also, the internal sdcard is formatted as a 2GB disk, whilst is actually approx 1.1GB in size. - this obviously causes write-errors if you try to use more than the 1.1GB.

The device is pre-rooted, so a quick "newfs_msdos" fixes that.

I just looked now and the price is now £37 - presumably down to exchange rate fluctuations -, but this includes postage and packing etc. Delivery took about a week to here in sunny Wales!

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Re: Yep!

Top notch, just snagged a couple to play around with. Tesco and their 'bargain' Hudl can go swivel.

Cheers min!

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Re: Yep!

Nice one!

Give me an email: 'jamie welshgit net' - it would nice to know a fellow techie with the same tablet in case specific questions or problems arise!

I've pretty much hacked mine to pieces :-)

P.S. I wish El Reg had a way for a user to PM (which could be routed by the site to the users email) another user..

There have been many times I would have found that handy! I know it's unlikely you'll even see this message!

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Jesus there's room for everyone..

Android is the ford and Apple is the BMW , they both will make profits. Fords will sell more, but most people would rather have a BMW if they had the money.

In the end they are aimed at different markets.

Androids are in the race to the bottom , while apple will continue to charge there prices and sell they can make and add to that 144Billion cash pile.

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Re: Jesus there's room for everyone..

Funny, I have both a BMW and an Android tablet so keep dreaming.

And yes, the blinkers work fine, thank you very much.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Jesus there's room for everyone..

"most people would rather have a BMW if they had the money"

the only people who believe bullshit like that are BMW owners. Seems there is a strong correlation to the crap Apple owners believe about Android owners.

BMW owners, like Apple owners, are obsessed with the badge on the front, and the majority have no interest in what they are capable of, what they cost or what they look like. They are the epitome of the "I want one because it's got the badge on it" brigade. Shallow label-conscious morons. As illustrated by the appalling driving standards of your typical beemer driver.

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Joke

Re: Jesus there's room for everyone..

I thought that one of the big problems with BMWs is the shoddy build quality of some components that result in their almost instant failure once they leave the showroom.

Indicators, for instance.

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Re: Jesus there's room for everyone..

Awh didums

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Re: Jesus there's room for everyone..

No you don't so stop lying

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Jesus there's room for everyone..

"Android is the ford and Apple is the BMW"

That's quite a good analogy actually. Android owners go for functionality and use it, Apple owner's go for the badge but have no idea how their indicators work.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Jesus there's room for everyone..

Android users buy the device and do not use it - Apple users buy the device and do. So your Ford is essentially left on the driveway whereas the BMW is driven.

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Re: Jesus there's room for everyone..

"As illustrated by the appalling driving standards of your typical beemer driver."

Well yes, we pay more for the cars but we drive just as badly as everyone else.

Except for me, of course.

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Re: Jesus there's room for everyone..

Taking that analogy, if Apple is BMW, then Android devices fill the slots occupied by Dacia, Chevrolet, Ford, Mercedes, Porsche, Ferrari and Bugatti.

The difference is an Android Veyron is the same price as an Apple 3 series, and, with its current iPad Mini, its like BMW are still trying to sell the Isetta for the same price as a top of the range Focus.

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PJI
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Happy

Re: Jesus there's room for everyone..

Your experience of Fords is clearly limited and your experience of better kit completely lacking.

In a good car/computer/tablet/phone/fridge ... the user should neither know nor care how it works. It should just work, just as if you buy a newspaper you need have no idea how it is printed or how the printing machines are filled with ink. If you need to know, it's either because it is so complex to use you need to understand it or because it breaks so often you can not afford the repair bills so do it yourself or it does not work at all. The most complex part should be how to fuel/charge/connect it. For the rest, concentrate on driving it, storing food in it or using it for your email, browsing, letters, spreadsheet or whatever its purpose is. After all, most people barely read the instructions, let alone care how it works. And that is how it should be.

This is why there are specialists in User Interfaces and why UIs are rather tricky to define, design and implement. It sounds as if you keep buying the ones that failed, so wasting money and not having enough left to buy the decent one you should have got in the first place.

"Buy cheap, pay dear", or, "penny wise, pound foolish". These sayings seem to be exemplified every day in these columns.

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PJI
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Re: Jesus there's room for everyone..

Gosh, never seen a Mercedes or a Ferrari equated with Dacia, Ford or Chevrolet before. Well, well, well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Jesus there's room for everyone..

Keep telling yourself that.

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Re: Jesus there's room for everyone..

I always thought of Apple as being like Audi.

Once a quirky brand enjoyed by a few. Was at one point a brand for bearded types.

Brought in some interesting developments in the past (popularised GUI, popularised road going 4x4, futuristic all in one design, futuristic aerodynamic design etc).

Sadly now driven by profits purely trading on the trendiness of a badge, bought by the badge conscious.

More likely to be seen in (or outside) a coffee shop than in or outside a professor's office.

Except that runs my analogy of the Android a little....

So, ignoring Audi, (bear with me...) Android is VW group.

You can get a Skoda, or you can get a Bugatti.

You can get a VW (Phaeton) with the power of a Bentley.

You can have a Seat or a Lamborghini.

So you can buy all sorts of Android devices, from the cheap devices to high spec high end devices and phones.

Or maybe Fiat group is a better choice?

(Fiat Panda - 500 - Alfa - Maserati - Ferrari etc.)

You get my point. Hopefully.

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Byz
Stop

look at the web logs

You often get these surveys based on how many units have been sent to suppliers so it is hard to know if they've actually been sold.

Last year we had a situation where if you bought a phone you got a tablet free (how many got used?).

As tablets are mainly used for 3 main activities (browsing, email or games), hits on websites are a far better guide to the amount of tablets in circulation.

I know a number of web admins at different sites (so I get a good view of what is being used in different sectors) and from their feedback there maybe tons of Android tablets out there but they are not being used for web browsing. So are they being used as just cheap games consoles?

Also Apple are the only tablet manufacturer that tells you the numbers delivered into users hands rather than shipped to suppliers, so some Android tablets could be sitting on shelves next to windows RT tablets ;o

Remember a month ago we were being told that peak Apple had been passed (based on surveys) and then the iPhone 5s/5c shipments were released and the wisdom of the surveys looked like foolishness.

Having said this I have no doubt that Amazon tablets are doing very well as they are trouncing other E-readers (Other E-readers are now being heavily discounted in the bargain bins).

Empirically a large rock of salt needs to be taken with any of these surveys (plus who are the organisations paying for them).

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Re: look at the web logs

Anecdotal I know, but i know many more people with Android tablets (or variants) than Apple devices purely because they are cheaper and do much the same job. I just bought a couple of Nook devices because they were on offer - £129 for a 9" and £79 for a 7. Both of them are great, do exactly what I need them to do, and were considerably cheaper than Apples (or indeed the higher end Android devices).

Only down side of these particular devices is lack of camera for Skype.

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Re: look at the web logs

"...do exactly what I need them to do... lack of camera for Skype."

Good job Skype isn't one of the things you need them to do.

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