Have you noticed that there really aren’t too many high-end, premium Android tablets out there? As someone who loves Android and likes to use tablets, I can tell you that I have noticed a lack of high-end Android tablets. Why is that exactly?
Sure there is the Google Pixel C and the Samsung Galaxy S3, but outside of those two industry leaders you really don’t see too much in the world of premium Android tablets, and it’s something that I for one wish would change.
There are several reasons for this, I believe. Today, let’s look at why high-end Android tablets are few and far between.
Stiff Competition from Apple and Microsoft
Apple emerged as the early tablet leader when they first released the iPad, and almost immediately Android was playing catch up. In the beginning, Android tablets made a huge comeback and there were several different options out there, but then Microsoft finally caught up to the rest of the world with the release of their Surface line of tablets.
Many people got caught up again in the Apple or Microsoft battle and began to adopt one of these two platforms for different reasons. Suddenly, Android was stuck in the middle trying to discover where it fit in. In many ways, this stiff competition has hurt the Android tablet market as the premium devices failed to live up to what Microsoft and Apple offered. Today, things are changing, but is it already too late for Android to again play catch up in the premium line of tablets?
Apps Not Optimized for Tablets
If there is one thing that has hurt Android more than anything else, it is the lack of app support on the tablet platform. Sure, Android shines in the world of smartphones, but many of the apps you find on the Google Play store simply were designed with smartphones in mind, and they haven’t been adopted to the larger screen tablets.
Of course you will find some of the industry leading apps such as Google Docs and even Microsoft Office that is tablet ready. But some of the best apps out there simply only work well on the small screen of a smartphone. When you load it on a tablet, the app looks strange or it only uses part of the screen. This makes it tough for even the staunchest Android lover to adopt an Android tablet when their favorite apps don’t work well.
Lack of Gaming Choices
To be fair, there are a ton of games out there for Android, and many of them work pretty well on a tablet. But, like the other apps, many of the games weren’t really designed on Android with the large screen of a tablet in mind. That means that the games don’t display correctly on the screen or appear very small using only a portion of the screen just like the other apps not optimized for the platform. At the same time, many of the games don’t support the different hardware that tablets can run rendering some games completely unplayable.
This lack of gaming support completely defeats the purpose of an Android tablet. After all, one of the biggest reasons to go with a tablet is to get access to a larger screen for gaming. Admittedly, this lack of support is really up to the individual developers, but one has to wonder why they haven’t made the changes for tablets that are necessary when many do make the adjustments for release on the iOS platform.
Too Many Bargain Choices
Because Android is a free and open source operating system, almost anyone can create and release a tablet based on the software. That’s both good and bad. It does mean that overall you see more and more devices out there, but often the devices that exist aren’t exactly the quality that many of us have come to expect from a high-end tablet. In fact, many of the devices are budget devices designed with poor hardware and often a bad software design on top of Android.
Because of all these choices, often consumers looking for a tablet will choose to save a little money and grab one of these cheaper tablets. Most consumers don’t even realize what they have done when they make this choice either, as they really don’t know what to look for in a top of the line tablet. This, in turn, hurts the sales of the truly premium devices and causes the companies to reduce the number of devices they release along with delaying the next release.
Time Between Releases of Existing Tablets
Every year, Apple refreshes their line of iPads, bringing with that refresh new, more powerful hardware and more software features that keep iPad fans coming back for more. The same can’t be said for the high-end Android tablets out there. These tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy S line, only see refreshes every couple of years. Even the Pixel C, Google’s flagship tablet, is beginning to show its age and is long overdue for a refresh.
Because these companies go so long between releases, they fail to generate much excitement with each of their releases. Sure, there are some that get excited and prepare to buy the latest version, but its nothing compared to the way fans line up for the latest iPad releases. To be fair, they may not ever be able to generate that kind of buzz. After all, no one gets their fans worked up more than Apple does. But I have to believe that if they released yearly updates and made it a big deal, they could capitalize on the release by generating more awareness for their brands.
High-end Android tablets are something of a specialty these days. Unfortunately, until Google can convince its developers to make many of these changes, it appears things will stay that way. Let’s just hope something gives in the near future, or we could find ourselves stuck using an iPad or a Surface instead of our favorite open source platform.