Android Shrinks Technology Refresh Cycles from Years to Weeks

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

IPAD 2
GALAXY TAB 10.1
GALAXY TAB 8.9
GALAXY TAB 10.1 GALAXY TAB 8.9
OS
iOS 4.3
Android 3.0
Android 3.0
OS specifically designed for tablet use OS specifically designed for tablet use
Display
9.7-inch 
LED-backlit IPS LCD
10.1-inch
PLS LCD
8.9-inch
PLS LCD
Larger Screen than iPad 2 Smaller screen/form factor than iPAd 2
Resolution
1024 x 768
1280 x 800
1280 x 800
Higher Resolution Scrren Higher Resolution Scrren
Height
Width
Thickness




241.2mm
185.7mm
8.8mm
256.6mm
172.9mm
8.6mm
230.9mm
157.8mm
8.6mm
Similar dimensions and even thinner Materially smaller than iPad 2 & thinner, particularly given proximity in screen size
Weight
601 grams
595 grams
470 grams
Similar in weight, slightly lighter Much lighter than the iPad 2
Processor
900Mhz dual-core
Cortex-A9 processor
1Ghz dual-core
Cortex-A9 processor
1Ghz dual-core
Cortex-A9 processor
Faster Processor Faster Processor
Storage
16GB / 32GB / 64GB
16GB / 32GB / 64GB
16GB / 32GB / 64GB
microSD card slot
no
yes, up to 32GB
yes, up to 32GB
Expandable, standards based memory Expandable, standards based memory
Front camera
0.3MP VGA
2.0MP
2.0MP
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
Wi-Fi
802.11 a/b/g/n
802.11 a/b/g/n
802.11 a/b/g/n
Network
UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA 850, 900, 1900, 2100GSM/EDGE
850, 900, 1800, 1900
HSPA+ 21Mbps850/900/1900/2100
EDGE/GPRS850/900/1800/1900
HSPA+ 21Mbps850/900/1900/2100
EDGE/GPRS850/900/1800/1900
Superior radio capabilities Superior radio capabilities
USB
USB 2.0 (Host with Adapter)
USB 2.0 (Host with Adapter)
USB 2.0 (Host with Adapter)
Bluetooth
2.1 + EDR
2.1 + EDR
3.0
Highest speed bluetooth available
Battery
25Wh (~6750mAh @ 3.7V)
6800mAh
6000mAh
Slightly higher battery capacity Although lower than both devices, smaller screen may require less juice
Price 
(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!
Availability
Currently available
June 8
Early summer
Sensors
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. This 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.