For most of the last year, the mobile industry has been forecasting an “iPad-killer”—a media tablet that would be able to confront and defeat Apple’s now-iconic iPad tablet in the marketplace on the basis of features and/or price. According to a new report from ABI Research, Android-based media tablets managed to capture some 20 percent of the iPad’s dominant market share in the last 12 months…but the iPad-killer is nowhere to be found, with no single device or vendor mounting a significant challenge.
“Many vendors have introduced media tablets, but none are separating themselves from the pack to pose a serious threat to Apple,” said ABI Research mobile devices group director Jeff Orr, in a statement. “In fact, most have introduced products at prices higher than similarly-configured iPads.”
ABI cites fragmentation as one of the main factors hindering the development of an Android media tablet industry. Three different iterations of the Android platform are deployed on media tablets at the moment (there’s a fourth on the way), making it difficult for developers and device makers to choose a target platform. ABI also notes the benefits of a supposedly-open software platform have yet to give Android a significant edge in tablets.
“De-featured, low-cost media tablets are being introduced by more than fifty vendors in 2011,” Orr noted. “This will certainly help bolster year-over-year growth for the category, but it also creates a negative perception in the minds of the mass consumer audience about the readiness of media tablets to be fully functional within the next several years.”