Today won’t be remembered tomorrow. Nothing of consequence happened today. Steve Ballmer didn’t resign, Dell didn’t get out of the PC business and I didn’t stop procrastinating and actually go to the gym. Nope, like any other boring summer day, several products were announced, start-ups announced funding and another wireless carrier jacked up fees. Today is just another day.
But while we’re still here, the last day of August, several tablets from major brands were announced that deserve a bit more conversation. Sony finally revealed the full specs and launch details for the P and S tablets. HTC, likewise, did the same with Puccini tablet, which now sports the rather predictable name of Jetstream. You see, these tablets are just like all the other Honeycomb tabs that were hyped for months and eventually hit with a thud instead of a bang.
It’s hard to be an Android sympathizer these days, isn’t it? I used to consider myself firmly in that camp — then I bought an iPad 2 a few months back and perspective slapped me in the face. Android tabs are reliant on their manufacturer to make up for Honeycomb’s empty app marketplace. Without help, they’re simply another Internet portal device whose existence is moot when compared against a notebook. This cry for life makes laptops, not the iPad, Honeycomb tabs’ biggest competitors.
The Sony tablets outed today attempt to justify their novelty with Sony’s Qriocity media suite. This somewhat obscure offering is available on nearly every connected device Sony makes, including the PS3, Bravia TVs, Sony Ericsson Android phones, the PSP, and all their set-top boxes and connected Blu-ray players. Its install base might even eclipse iTunes when considering the sheer number of devices running the service. But without this media platform, the Sony tablets are, well, just more Android tablets.
Sony did build-in robust Playstation support, which could be a killer feature — someday. The Tablet S is the first tablet to be able to play PSP and Playstation games via an emulator. But the tablet comes with only two games (Crash Bandicoot and Pinball Heroes) and per the Sony press conference earlier today, it doesn’t sound like adding titles is a huge priority.
Several early reviews and hands-on of the Sony tablets popped up shortly after it was announced. Tim Stevens from Engadget states that the Sony Tablet S is “not clearly better” than Galaxy Tab 10.1 citing the odd form factor, scratch-prone glass and flimsy feel. So that’s a pass?
Reviews really need to target consumers outside of our sheltered world of silly gadgets. Is it worth your money over another product? No caveats, no “if-then” statements. So far not one table priced around $500 has countered the iPad.
The HTC Jetstream fails this proof even harder than the Sony Tablet S. Priced at $699 with a 2-year contract, the rather bulky tablet only sets itself apart with an LTE radio and stylus support, which their Flyer only barely made work. Besides that the tablet is just another nondescript Android 3.1 tab. This one will fail faster than the $499 TouchPad.
Another day, another Android tablet to add to the deadpool. But hopefully manufacturers do not view each failure as a wasted opportunity but rather a learning experience. You can bet that Apple pays attention, as the iPad is not the definition of a perfect tablet. With each failed tablet, the path to the perfect slate device gets a tad shorter and we’ll all eventually arrive together. Hopefully this promised land isn’t a gated garden filled with apple trees but rather an open field filled with frolicking androids. But until then, let’s just gather up all the Honeycomb tablets and throw them in the deadpool. No one will notice.