Pricing will help Android tablets as it did with smartphones

by Kristen Nicole

Android smartphones have taken the majority of the market, but Android tablets have yet to dominate. That may soon change when a wave of well-priced tablets hit the market. It’s predicted that a flood of $200-$300 tablets will arrive this fall, inciting a tablet war where the consumer comes out on top. Amazon is likely to be a front-runner. As IDC analyst Bob O’Donnell notes, “Amazon has an ecosystem like Apple, with its own app store that offers music, movies and videos, and a bookstore.”

While Google is working towards a similar ecosystem to integrate with Android, it has yet to make its own devices, relying on others, including Amazon, to distribute the Amazon OS. We may see more devices coming out of Google’s camp, as Chairman Eric Schmidt admits his company’s planned $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility was to reel-in products as well as patents. “We did it for more than just patents,” Schmidt said in a conversation with Salesforce.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff. “The Motorola team has some amazing products.”

The annual IFA event brought news of several new Android tablets preparing for release in the coming weeks, including debut products from Sony and HTC. But Lenovo’s IdeaPad A1 for $199 is really heating things up, coming in at a very consumer-friendly price point. Running Gingerbread 2.3 instead of Honeycomb, backed by a single-core 1GHz processor, you can see why the IdeaPad A1 can manage such a low price. But as we saw with HP’s TouchPad price slash, people will buy lower-priced tablets, even if they don’t sport the latest features.

Samsung diversifies behind the scenes

With iPad dominance now threatened, Apple’s moving mountains to keep competitors from taking over the tablet market. Its patent infringement suits across the world are paying off, as Apple has blocked sales for Samsung’s latest tablet offering in Germany and the Netherlands, delaying a launch in Australia as well. Samsung’s determined to forge ahead, as word of Samsung’s plans to find ways around the recent injunctions spread across global media outlets.

Samsung revealed the mini Galaxy Note tablet (or large smartphone, depending on how you look at it) at IFA this week, demonstrating its drive to continue making an array of Android devices. But Samsung’s also diversifying, with the Windows-based Series 7 tablet, and a slew of Bada-powered gadgets unveiled in the past week as well.