The Galaxy Tab, the first viable Android tablet, is to the iPad as the first Android handset was to the iPhone: clunky and awkward in most respects. If the iPad didn’t exist it would be pretty impressive. However the iPad does exist and the Galaxy Tab is inferior in almost every respect. What’s compelling about it is its 7″ size.
On a global basis, it has apparently sold 600,000 units, which is pretty good — and enough for Samsung to trumpet initial sales as a success. Subsequent versions will be better.
Another “problem” with the Galaxy Tab is its price; it’s at least $100 too expensive. At $600 for an unlocked version it just doesn’t make sense when a larger and more functional iPad is $100 cheaper.
For the holidays it will be the Galaxy Tab vs. the iPad; it doesn’t appear that there will be many more tablets out in time. But next year, just as with Android handsets, there will be dozens and dozens of new tablets of different sizes. Once Android becomes “tablet-ready” they should become more competitive with the iPad.
One interesting question to consider — because there’s clearly demand for a smaller tablet — is whether Apple will build one. It has publicly said that the smaller form factor compromises the user experience too much. But if these smaller tablets take off there may be pressure to compete at that level.
The RIM Playbook is due out in Q1 next year. My sense, despite its capabilities, is that it will have limited consumer appeal.