Vizio and Samsung may have big plans for their Android tablets later this year, but today’s current tablet market is still struggling with Honeycomb implementation and settling into its own market niche, still dominated by the Apple (AAPL) iPad. The HTC EVO View 4G is set to hit stores later this month, for $199 with a two-year contract. It’s the tablet version of the flagship handset that revived Sprint’s (S) smartphone market, but unfortunately the EVO View’s use of Gingerbread 2.3 doesn’t take the tablet far beyond smartphone capabilities.
Something else the EVO View 4G is lacking is a dual-core processor, instead using a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm (QCOM) processor that drives its speed. Featuring a 7-inch touch screen, the View 4G is smaller than many Android tablets we’ve seen, especially those running Honeycomb and looking to directly compete with the Android. One perk of the View 4G is its N-Trig pen input option, incorporating a bit of PDA nostalgia for business professionals. Also geared towards the professional sector is Lenovo’s upcoming Android slate, from its Think brand. Unlike the EVO View 4G, it will have a 10-inch screen, and will likely run Honeycomb.
Personal clouds know no OS bounds
One trend tablets are pushing is the personal cloud, acting as useful portals to content we store virtually. Google (GOOG) recognized this early on, and has instilled several personal cloud attributes throughout its Android platform. Spreading that cloud support to other operating systems and devices, however, can be a more extensive task. Google Sync for the iPhone and iPad received three new updates this week, including the option to search all your messages in Gmail, not just those stored locally by the iOS mail app. As an avid email bookmarker, I use Gmail to send myself reminders, save things of interest and jot down ideas. A full server search is essential for my sanity, and this update will be very important for others like myself. Other updates to Google Sync include the ability to manage calendar events from the iOS calendar app, and send emails from multiple addresses.
Back on the Android OS, Sony’s further expanding its personal cloud accessibility with Music Unlimited. The digital music service, powered by Qriocity, lets you stream millions of songs to supported Sony (SNE) devices, as well as your Android phone. It’s competing with subscription services like Rhapsody, and emerging cloud lockers such as Amazon (AMZN), Apple, and even Google. For $4 monthly, you can listen to music through programmed channels, and access “scan and match” music, which looks a lot like Apple’s iCloud song-matching capabilities. Qriocity has a $10 premium option for music on-demand. With slightly higher prices and no store caching for offline use, Sony isn’t the most competitive on the market.