Friday, 9 December 2011

Tech Disappointments of 2011 - Tablets

What started as a trickle towards the tail end of 2010, turned into a full-throttled outburst in 2011, as we witnessed ...
Tech Disappointments of 2011 - Tablets
What started as a trickle towards the tail end of 2010, turned into a full-throttled outburst in 2011, as we witnessed a horde of Android tablets come rushing out from top tier manufacturers and even lesser known ones, some of which we didn’t even know existed. This meant we finally had some worthy alternatives to the iPad, not that there was a real need for one, but it doesn’t really hurt to have a little variety. Among the towering number of tablets, we’ve seen some really good ones like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 750,  Lenovo K1 and the Asus Transformer, some that had potential like the Motorola Xoom and Reliance 3G Tab, and then there were the disappointments, which we have lined up for you below.

The reason we called them disappointments and goof-ups or blunders is because technically they are very capable devices and on paper, should march along side the success stories, but they didn't. The reasons vary from poor implementation of the UI, lack of support for useful third party apps, bad design choices and most importantly absurd pricing. It’s some of these factors (or in some case, all of them) that failed to strike a chord with the audience, which is why they just sit there in the corner of store shelves.

HTC Flyer
The Flyer was HTC’s first ever foray into the tablet segment, but they messed it up by pricing it ridiculously high. But that wasn’t the only issue, the tablet as powerful as it was on paper, failed to translate that power in the real world due to which it suffered in video playback. When we tested it, the Sense UI ran super smooth, but the Flyer seemed to struggle with video playback. The stock player couldn’t playback bog standard SD files smoothly, let alone 720p. This was fixable by a third party app, but then you’d lose the SRS sound enhancements, which made a big difference in the audio quality. You’d think a 1.5GHz processor would be able to playback HD files with ease, but sadly that’s not the case.
It's back to the drawing board for HTC
It's back to the drawing board for HTC

Now, with the recent price drop and the Honeycomb update rolling out, perhaps it does seem a bit more appealing.

BlackBerry PlayBook
RIM’s PlayBook was targeted at a very niche audience, right from it’s inception and just like their other mobile products, it aimed at providing enterprise level security features, which CIOs love and was to be an extension of your BlackBerry. Sadly, RIM was a little too late to the party as they failed to consider the dominance of the iPad and something called the ‘consumerization of IT’.
Not much to play with after all
Not much to play with, after all

The robustness of iOS and its security policy options have led many organizations to adopt the iPad as their tool of choice. This has also spun an ecosystem in which third party vendors have developed specialized apps that meet the security needs of enterprises. With all this already in place, why would companies adopt a product with weaker support for apps? That’s the problem with devices designed for a niche audience, if it fails to strike a chord then it just ends up in limbo. Another reason was the pricing, which wasn’t exactly pocket-friendly. All these factors led to poor sales, so much so that retailers were slashing prices like crazy just to get rid of the excess stock

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