Google projections reveal just how badly Android tablets have failed

Google projections reveal just how badly Android tablets have failedThe ongoing Google versus Oracle trial in the US has already produced a few unexpectedly juicy details, including pics of a prototype smartphone Google was working on back in 2006.

And here's another tasty morsel: Google went into 2011 expecting to shift 10 million Android tablets over the course of the year, which it believed would give it a 33% market share. Not quite.

There's nothing wrong with optimism – there's no point being in business if you don't believe in what you're doing, after all. But what makes hearing those internal projections interesting is that it's probably the closest thing we've had to Google admitting its tablet strategy hasn't worked out as planned.

If you turn the clock back to the end of 2010, Google was preparing to go head-to-head with Apple and its market-dominating iPad with the release of Android 3.0 Honeycomb – the first release of Android aimed specifically at tablets.

The early groundwork done by the first-generation Samsung Galaxy Tab looked set to provide the perfect springboard for a full-blown Android feeding frenzy as all the major Android OEMs lined up their Honeycomb-driven tablet contenders.

We all pretty much took for granted that Android would gain the upper hand on its tablet rivals just as it had with smartphones, through a combination of sheer weight of numbers and OEM-driven innovation, and that the iPad's stranglehold on that tablet market, while impressive, would soon come to an end.

But it simply hasn't worked out that way. The iPad has confounded the sceptics and has sold in greater numbers than anyone expected, including Google: the company's projections were that the tablet market as a whole would have reached 42 million units sold by the end of 2011. In reality, the iPad on its own had already cleared 50 million units by then.

Android Honeycomb, meanwhile, hasn't been nearly as successful as Google's forecasts predicted, and with a few notable exceptions neither have the tablets running it. With the benefit of hindsight, Google's projections now look incredibly naïve, especially when you consider how Android's tablet market share was practically non-existent when the forecast was made.

We'd love to see a more up-to-date version of Google's tablet ambitions, as it certainly wouldn't look anything like this one.

Read more about: Android

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35 comments

Pondlife  Apr. 26, 2012 at 19:52

I would've thought it likely they managed more than the 10-11m in 2011?

barrybarryk  Apr. 26, 2012 at 20:15

Yeah me too, Is there even a released figure for the number sold last year?

The iPads are more popular but it's definitely a stretch to call android tablets a failure

JanSt / MOD  Apr. 26, 2012 at 20:16

I would've thought it likely they managed more than the 10-11m in 2011?

I know the managers of Three, CPW, O2 and VF here in 'my' town... In December 2011 they sold Z E R O Android tablets. Christmas shopping! If you cannot sell a tab in December, you cannot sell it. On big(gish) PC 'warehouse' here sold 5 or 6 Android tabs before Christmas - compared to 20-ish iPad PER DAY in December.

barrybarryk  Apr. 26, 2012 at 20:21

Ah ok anecdotal supporting evidence, in that case there are 3 android tablets in my house and no ipads. Surely that makes android tablets infinitely more popular

Pondlife  Apr. 26, 2012 at 20:50

Pondlife  Apr. 26, 2012 at 20:53

I know the managers of Three, CPW, O2 and VF here in 'my' town... In December 2011 they sold Z E R O Android tablets. Christmas shopping! If you cannot sell a tab in December, you cannot sell it.

Sheesh that's shocking, they should really look at better staff or maybe better prices or marketing. Mind you can't say I'd look in a phone shop for one.

JanSt / MOD  Apr. 26, 2012 at 20:59

Ah ok anecdotal supporting evidence, in that case there are 3 android tablets in my house and no ipads. Surely that makes android tablets infinitely more popular


Of course it's anecdotal... as are 90% of all sales related figures. Unlike Gartners, though, I'm not being paid to actually ask questions. ;)

I can get you written statements?! AND: I have owned Android tabs. Before you turn a harmless comment into a fanboi-battle, look around this site a bit ;)

corgi74  Apr. 26, 2012 at 21:10

If you want to know how many Android tablets are in use you just need to look at the Google Analytics for market use by Honeycomb and large screen.

corgi74  Apr. 26, 2012 at 21:11

Ah ok anecdotal supporting evidence, in that case there are 3 android tablets in my house and no ipads. Surely that makes android tablets infinitely more popular


Of course it's anecdotal... as are 90% of all sales related figures. Unlike Gartners, though, I'm not being paid to actually ask questions. ;)

I can get you written statements?! AND: I have owned Android tabs. Before you turn a harmless comment into a fanboi-battle, look around this site a bit ;)


The Gartner figures would have included all the unsold tablets in the storeroom too though.

Pondlife  Apr. 26, 2012 at 21:16

If you want to know how many Android tablets are in use you just need to look at the Google Analytics for market use by Honeycomb and large screen.

Not really as many of them still don't use honeycomb and some can't even access the market.

JanSt / MOD  Apr. 26, 2012 at 21:19

Ah ok anecdotal supporting evidence, in that case there are 3 android tablets in my house and no ipads. Surely that makes android tablets infinitely more popular


Of course it's anecdotal... as are 90% of all sales related figures. Unlike Gartners, though, I'm not being paid to actually ask questions. ;)

I can get you written statements?! AND: I have owned Android tabs. Before you turn a harmless comment into a fanboi-battle, look around this site a bit ;)


The Gartner figures would have included all the unsold tablets in the storeroom too though.
hahaha depends on who pays on the day ;)

corgi74  Apr. 26, 2012 at 21:28

If you want to know how many Android tablets are in use you just need to look at the Google Analytics for market use by Honeycomb and large screen.

Not really as many of them still don't use honeycomb and some can't even access the market.


More accurate than any analysts figures though.
All the 'big boys' will be on their and that just makes it more depressing for them. 80000 Transformer Primes in 3 months is appalling and thats probably the best one out.
I have an Acer A100 which is a shockingly bad piece of tat which the wife now uses for Draw Something and a Kindle Fire which is actually quite a nice bit of kit but still a bit meh.
I think that is probably the best way to sum android tablets up. A bit meh.

Pondlife  Apr. 26, 2012 at 21:33

You put ICS on the A100 yet?

corgi74  Apr. 26, 2012 at 21:41

Latest Google figures

http://developer.android.com/resources/dashboard/platform-versions.html
http://developer.android.com/resources/dashboard/screens.html

xlarge is 10" tablets and large is 7" so 8.3% of the devices accessing the market/play were tablets.

corgi74  Apr. 26, 2012 at 21:44

You put ICS on the A100 yet?

I did but the screen was really buggy. Put Honeycomb back on but the official update is due tomorrow so fingers crossed the bugs have been ironed out.

Pondlife  Apr. 26, 2012 at 21:49

8.3% sounds quite high?

I meant the official one, lots of reports that it arrived early on the acer tablets, one of them 4 days the other 2 days.

corgi74  Apr. 26, 2012 at 21:53

Nothing on mine yet but I'm using the restore stock Honeycomb rom from xda and not the GEN2 rom which seems to get updates quicker.
I actually prefer gingerbread on tablets as you can install app to an external sd without being rooted. Unforuntely on Honeycomb and ICS the external SD is read only.
Got Hellfire CM7 on the Kindle and it feels faster than the Acer.

CTPAHHIK  Apr. 26, 2012 at 22:28

Agree with Android tablets being meh. I think that Streak 7 is better than Fire and it still feels meh.
Nice for browsing and book/magazine/email reading, yet I'm typing this from laptop.

PS. Does not matter how great iOS is, it still far away from Windows. Now please make transformer with Windows.

matt101101 / MOD  Apr. 26, 2012 at 23:31

PS. Does not matter how great iOS is, it still far away from Windows. Now please make transformer with Windows.
They do, it's called a laptop ;) :p.

On an unrelated note (no pun intended), is the Samsung Note counted as a tablet or a phone?

Pondlife  Apr. 26, 2012 at 23:32

No. ;)

matt101101 / MOD  Apr. 26, 2012 at 23:40

No. ;)
I agree with you, I was just adding another dimension to the discussion :). It runs 2.3 and is sold on contract with mins and texts (and is with other phones in the shop displays).

spruceyb  Apr. 26, 2012 at 23:41

It's no surprise that Android tablets haven't sold as well as planned.
They came out priced exactly the same as iPad.
iPad had a wealth of apps optimised for the larger screen as well as website having pages optimised for the iPad's screen and the Android tabs had almost nothing.
Why would anyone go for the Android over iPad?

Now it's not so bad but there is still a lack of decent Tablet optimised apps for Android.

matt101101 / MOD  Apr. 26, 2012 at 23:44

It's no surprise that Android tablets haven't sold as well as planned.
They came out priced exactly the same as iPad.
iPad had a wealth of apps optimised for the larger screen as well as website having pages optimised for the iPad's screen and the Android tabs had almost nothing.
Why would anyone go for the Android over iPad?

Now it's not so bad but there is still a lack of decent Tablet optimised apps for Android.

+1

I couldn't agree more, or put it better myself.

Pondlife  Apr. 26, 2012 at 23:47

I agree with you, I was just adding another dimension to the discussion :). It runs 2.3 and is sold on contract with mins and texts (and is with other phones in the shop displays).

True, until the ICS update at least, then it kind of gets more vague. I do think it's too big for me as a phone and too small to really be a tablet. oO

Pondlife  Apr. 26, 2012 at 23:54

That many copied apples pricing for extra memory and 3g wouldn't have helped either 16gb-£80, erm no.

Could the high res phones make it harder for apps to be optimised for similar resolution tablets in an odd way?

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