Android Partners poised to invade iPad Earth

From an article in eWeek, http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Desktops-and-Notebooks/Motorola-Xoom-Tries-to-Raise-Bar-iPad-Set-142483/, it would seem vendors using the Android platform, including very significant player Motorola, are building upon their past successes competing with the iPhone to forge strong alternate products to the iPad. In part the article says:

Just as Google and its carrier partners countered the iPhone with the Nexus One and several other solid Android smartphones, the partners believe they have a solid answer in tablets powered by the forthcoming Android 3.0, or Honeycomb operating system.

The Motorola Xoom will launch running Android 3.0 next month, followed later this year by LG’s G-Slate, Asus’ Eee Pad Transformer and unnamed tablets from Samsung.

The Xoom sports a 10.1-inch screen powered by the Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor, which means it should easily be faster than the iPad.

The Xoom also boasts front- and rear-facing cameras, the chief hole the iPad has yet to fill, though that should change with the iPad 2 launch this spring.

Multitasking is another big gap for the iPad, where only one application runs at a time. The Xoom also offers an HDMI output to connect the tablet to the TV to play video or games.

That would be good news for consumers: our spies tell us that the actual cost to manufacture the iPad is about $20. That means the market is ready for a severe adjustment and there may be some profit taking as initial players enter priced very high, near the iPad price and then prices drop as more vendors enter the arena until ultimately we have iPad alternates SRP around $189: that’s enough for a 60% margin on retail for the retail seller, a 100% margin on cost for the manufacturer, and another 100% margin on cost for the middleman / warehouse.

Business mobile vendor, RIM has their own iPad killer wannabe, the PlayBook, which looks like a iPad done in tasteful business Black. It multitasks well, will run a whole business day on a charge, and has enough calculating power to allow playing video intensive games such as Quake. It also has an HDMI port so you can plug into large video screens for viewing videos, two 5 megapixel cameras, one forward facing and one rearward facing for conferencing, has no qualms about running Flash, and will tether to the business person’s BlackBerry. The PlayBook is thinner than your little finger and weighs less than a pound, but it is about the same LxW dimensions as the iPad.The eWeek article, http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/RIMs-PlayBook-Offers-Multitasking-and-BlackBerry-Tethering-819996, says:

RIM’s PlayBook represents the company’s hope for breaking into the rapidly burgeoning tablet market. The screen measures 7 inches, and power comes courtesy of a dual-core processor. RIM will market the PlayBook toward businesses increasingly interested in tablets as productivity tools. In keeping with that, the device includes PDF support among other features.

Motorola is no small outfit — they know how to promote mobile devices and they wouldn’t back a looser. RIM is solidly entrenched in the business market and they are not going to disappear anytime soon. This is going to go.

It will also motivate Apple to innovate some more, which is also good. Anytime  a company has a 3,000% profit margin on cost they have a reason to innovate and protect that profit, and alternate vendors have a reason to go after that market like starving wolves.

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