Android Shrinks Technology Refresh Cycles from Years to Weeks

Reggie Middleton's picture

Two weeks ago, Samsung’s VP made tech rag headlines, stating that he
felt his company’s tablet offerings were not adequate in light of
Apple’s new iPad 2. He insinuated that Apple had come out with more
product than he had expected with a thinner form factor and lower price
points. Not many VPs will admit defeat in such a manner. It is now
obvious that he wasn’t admitting defeat, but simply making astute,
empirical and logical observations with which he would us to quickly
reposition his product line.  This is the product that was to be the 10
inch Samsung Galaxy Tab as of two weeks ago.

As excerpted from Endgadget:

Whether you love or loathe Apple, you have to be happy with the company’s aggressive upgrade of the iPad. It has led to Samsung, purveyor of an Android 3.0 tablet by the name of Galaxy Tab 10.1,
to look more closely at its own hardware and pricing model and,
according to executive VP Lee Don-Joo, “improve the parts that are
inadequate.” We don’t know what those are, specifically, however he
notes that “Apple made [the iPad 2]
very thin” and also goes on to say that Samsung will be rethinking its
pricing strategy with the Tab 10.1. It was originally going to cost more
than the 7-inch Galaxy Tab,
but in light of Apple’s new product, Samsung might have to cut into its
profit margins… or maybe even forgo profits altogether to make its new
Tab a success.

As all of my readers and subscribers know, I have clearly shown how
Android has compressed development cycle years into development cycle
months, while at the same time slashing prices and margins across the
board. Well, Samsung has just proved said theory to the n+1th
degree. Yesterday they released the new, revamped Galaxy Tab to compete
with Apple’s iPad 2. It appears to be SUPERIOR in practically EVERY
aspect, and matches the iPad 2 in the few categories that it doesn’t
best it – all for the same or LOWER price points. In addition, Samsung
now offers a complete portfolio of these devices in 7, 8.9 and 10.1 inch
sizes. No more one size fits all. The posts regarding margin
compression in this space are as prescient and salient as ever:

  1. The Tablet Pricing Wars Have Commenced, Targeting Apple’s iPad 2 Which Is Not Even For Sale Yet…
  2. Steve Jobs Calls End Of the PC, We Call The End Of The Fat Margin Tablet – Including The Pretty iPad, With Proof!

Below is a comparison chart annotated and modified bu BoomBustBlog, originally found in GSM Arena

gsmarena 001 Apple iPad 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9

iOS 4.3
Android 3.0
Android 3.0
OS specifically designed for tablet use OS specifically designed for tablet use
LED-backlit IPS LCD
Larger Screen than iPad 2 Smaller screen/form factor than iPAd 2
1024 x 768
1280 x 800
1280 x 800
Higher Resolution Scrren Higher Resolution Scrren

Similar dimensions and even thinner Materially smaller than iPad 2 & thinner, particularly given proximity in screen size
601 grams
595 grams
470 grams
Similar in weight, slightly lighter Much lighter than the iPad 2
900Mhz dual-core
Cortex-A9 processor
1Ghz dual-core
Cortex-A9 processor
1Ghz dual-core
Cortex-A9 processor
Faster Processor Faster Processor
16GB / 32GB / 64GB
16GB / 32GB / 64GB
16GB / 32GB / 64GB
microSD card slot
yes, up to 32GB
yes, up to 32GB
Expandable, standards based memory Expandable, standards based memory
Front camera
Higher resolution front facing camera, presumably increase video conference quality Higher resolution front facing camera, presumably increase video conference quality
Rear camera
0.7MP Fixed-Focus
720p video
3.0MP Auto-Focus with LED Flash (720p)
3.0MP Auto-Focus with LED Flash (720p)
Higher resolution rear camera Higher resolution rear camera
802.11 a/b/g/n
802.11 a/b/g/n
802.11 a/b/g/n
UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA 850, 900, 1900, 2100GSM/EDGE
850, 900, 1800, 1900
HSPA+ 21Mbps850/900/1900/2100
HSPA+ 21Mbps850/900/1900/2100
Superior radio capabilities Superior radio capabilities
USB 2.0 (Host with Adapter)
USB 2.0 (Host with Adapter)
USB 2.0 (Host with Adapter)
2.1 + EDR
2.1 + EDR
Highest speed bluetooth available
25Wh (~6750mAh @ 3.7V)
Slightly higher battery capacity Although lower than both devices, smaller screen may require less juice
(Wi-Fi only)
$499 (16GB)
$599 (32GB)
$699 (64GB)
$499 (16GB)
$599 (32GB)
$??? (64GB)
$469 (16GB)
$569 (32GB)
$??? (64GB)
On par $30 less at each price point!
Currently available
June 8
Early summer
Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Ambient Light Sensor
Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Ambient Light Sensor
Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Ambient Light Sensor
Ecosystem/App store App sore – 300k apps, not all are fully supported Active developer community with about 150k apps, some may not be fully compatible. Amazon supported Active developer community with about 150k apps, some may not be fully compatible. Amazon supported

Many media outlets state that Honeycomb tablets do not have any apps
of significance ready to run on it yet. This is simply not true. I
hacked Honeycomb on a $190 nook and it ran most of the apps available in
the Google Marketplace. There are relatively few apps available that
have been “optimized” for the Honeycomb form factor and experience, but
that is quite different from “no apps”. Build quality between the two
appears to be at parity, with the iPad doing aluminum and the Samsung
going aluminum and composites – a matter of preference, but the
composites appear to allow for less weight. Display quality may go to
the Samsung device due PLS technology, but that will have to be tested
in person to confirm. With the advent of Amazon now becoming a full
fledged Android marketplace in and of itself and Android now becoming
the world leader in installed instances AND user growth (see links
below), be prepared for a big push into a deeper, broader, curated app
market that will go far in attracting higher quality development talent.

Remain cognizant that what you are witnessing here is the compression of annual refresh cycles into a MATTER OF WEEKS!!! It
was only two weeks ago that Samsung stated it was unhappy with its
offering in relation to Apple’s iPad 2 and had to go back to the drawing
board. Well, they are to the drawing board and back – 2 weeks later.
is only the 2nd true (Honeycomb) Android tablet to be launched (the
first was the Motorola Xoom) and the official launch has not happened
yet. There are over 4 dozen other tablets in the line-up. If this is the
level of competition at 2 of 48 (number 1 was no slouch either, and was
bested by 2), then we have a hell of a competitive war coming up. Look
for LG, Dell, Asus and HTC to light things up.

Subscribers take note of the common features of all of these devices. The company featured in File Icon Long candidate #1 – Hardware: The Mobile Computing Wars
stands to benefit regardless of who wins these battles, and has levered
into the game with additional offerings. I will be discussing this as
well as the four other companies detailed in File IconMobile Computing Vendor Long List Note WIP in an upcoming post.

Related reading:

As The Tablet Margin Crunching Parade Marches On, Consumers Benefit From The Cheapest Prices Of The Best Products
Competition Heats Up In The Mobile Computing Space On Many Fronts – Prices Driven Down Once Again By The Big Players
Buffet on Apple – Common Sense!
How the “I Love Apple, There Is No Other Fever” Adds To The Attractiveness Of An Ever So Unpopular Apple Short
More On Realistic Views of Apple and the Undervaluation of Google
Note For The Few Realistic Apple Bears…
Shorting Apple and Why Software Developers Can Make More Money On Android

More on this topic:

  1. The Tablet Pricing Wars Have Commenced, Targeting Apple’s iPad 2 Which Is Not Even For Sale Yet…
  2. Steve Jobs Calls End Of the PC, We Call The End Of The Fat Margin Tablet – Including The Pretty iPad, With Proof!
  3. The Potential Equity Investments Most Likely To Prosper From the Google/Apple/Microsoft Mobile Computing Battle
  4. One Reason Why Software Developers & Tech Firms Should Pay Close Attention To Research Boutiques Such As BoomBustBlog
  5. Comscore’s
    Latest Stats Show Android Wiping The Floor With Its Competition,
    Besting Apple & Everyone Else By Ever Greater Margins
  6. Microsoft Finally Making Smart Moves – Is It Too Little Too Late, Though? Here’s How To Make Money Regardless
  7. The Tablet Competition Gets Serious For Business: IBM Lenovo Full-powered Windows Tablet w/Keyboard & 24hr Battery Life
  8. The Nokia/Microsoft Alliance & Android’s Commoditization Of The Mobile Computing Platform…
  9. Apple Gears Up To Combat The Margin Compression That Apparently Only It, Google & Reggie Middleton Sees Coming
  10. The Best CEO Memo That I Have Ever Read…

Click here to read up on all of Reggie Middleton’s Mobile Computing War opinion, analysis, and research.

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divide_by_zero's picture

It's even all the more funny as Samsung supplies a great deal of the high-end chips(processor) internally according iSupply and other teardown outfits. No wonder Jobs was openly clowning Samsung a couple of weeks ago.

mezcal's picture

TOS still won't even run on Gingerbread...

D.M.'s picture

This man is a clown, thinking that the future of these devices is going to be like PC's where its a spec war. These devices are about the ENTIRE experience. The software side of these competing tablets are a joke. Little dev support, and because its not tailored for one specific device it has to be compatible with a wide range of devices. On the hardware side all these companies do is make announcements with product launches many months away. You can't count on them supporting the hardware for the foreseeable future so your taking a huge risk dropping 500+ dollars on something that could turn into a paperweight. I dont even consider these companies as competition to Apple in the tablet category. They can release anything they want at this point, and it won't affect Apple's sales in any way.

curmudgery's picture

Careful belittling Samsung and the Android cohort - 

Many ridiculed US market entry of Hyundai and Kia in autos.  not much ridicule now.

The open software model will not kill Apple, but it will be formidable competition.  An in particular, the Korean hardware implementations are going to get much better very quickly.  

These are early skirmishes in mobile; history is already littered with 'invincibles' who faded - motorola, nokia and more.  No one has a long-term lock on success in this arena, it's brutally competitive.

prophet's picture

Microsoft Office for the iPad?

Zero Govt's picture

Reggie, i'm beginning to worry about your 'Net Neutrality'. You're becoming a bit of a Pro Android bore, are short Apple so is it possible you're long Google kick-backs?

Fat Ass's picture

LOL I missed that one ..

"be prepared for a big push into a deeper, broader, curated app market that will go far in attracting higher quality development talent."

Translation: "Um, look I realised that every thing I said last week was a total toilet, but um, honest, no really, it's all going to come true -- soon!  Because of Amazon!"

Is there anything more embarrassing than the implicit admission of total sillyness?

It would be incredibly sad if Reggie's solid-gold reputation went down the drain, because of him dabbling in this stunningly ridiculous issue, which he knows zero about.  Bizarre!

It's amazing to watch someone throw away a reputation, for what? Utterly no reason, on an utterly bizarre topic completely and totally outside of his field. Plain weird.

We sadly await next week's attempt from the bizarre Reggie Android system.

Rogerwilco's picture

Android is like a pimple-faced teenager, unkempt, cluess, shoots his wad after ten strokes, but he can do it all night long. Refresh cycles -- lol.

Fat Ass's picture

Reggie is getting increasingly desperate and ridiculous on this topic.

It's really sad to see someone who is otherwise spot-on about everything, desperately struggling away, on a topic he started for no good reason, was hopelessly wrong to begin with, and is still hopelessly wrong.

It's NOT REAL COMPLICATED .. REGGIE, HAVE YOU ACTUALLY TRIED THE NEW GALAXY TAB?  It's a piece of shit dude.  There's a simple reason the iPad2 IS AN EXPENSIVE PRODUCT.

FOR SURE, there will always be POOR PEOPLE WHO BUY ON PRICE. So what? This is not a surprise or an amazing observation.  Nevertheless, observably people love spending a lot (too much!) on better and better phones and now the same seems to apply to tablets and smartphones.

Apple is going to do very well indeed. If the "competition" is the comic galaxy tab, well there's not much to say.

For goodness sake Reggie, the Galaxy is a piece of shit - TRY ONE IN YOUR HANDS.

Silly stuff.

How long is this going to go on, before Reggie admits he was uselessly wrong / quietly never mentions it again?  Good grief.

It's a great example of someone's mental poise and analysis going to hell over an initial confused and emotional impetus.

For sure, APPL is overvalued - fantastic observation.  The utter piece of shit galaxy tab is goingto crush the iPad .. have an Asprin.

This after last week's insanity that "DEVELOPERS CAN MAKE MONEY ON THE ANDROID YEAH!"  I mean it's getting funny.

Warrior 25 Million's picture

Short Apple.  Long Google.

williambanzai7's picture

One of these days I  am going to do a post that asks the simple question: Which is a productive allocation of human capital, designing Apps, designing HFT Algos or designing the next generation of power grid.

nicholforest's picture


or indeed, designing government?

... sigh ... we need real questions.

jimijon's picture

I am working on Apps and Government. My government treatise is on my blog


jimijon's picture

And this is supposed to be good? Weeks? Talk about buyer's remorse. And then nothing has shipped anyway. 

Meanwhile Apple will refresh the OS, their PCs, and their Phone and their iOS with the App Store for the PCs taking off and giving developers more money.

Now just suppose Apple creates an iOS layer for Windows and then follows with an App store for Windows? 

As noted, the competition is still playing catch up trying to follow Apple's puck.

I will wager one of my silver coins for anything comparable you may have to offer that Apple's stock will outperform Google's stock over the next 12 months.

What do you say?