The latest Comscore numbers show that people are embracing proprietary Android tablets much more than stock ones:
The Kindle Fire, introduced to the market in November 2011, has seen rapid adoption among buyers of tablets. Within the Android tablet market, Kindle Fire has almost doubled its share in the past two months from 29.4 percent share in December 2011 to 54.4 percent share in February 2012, already establishing itself as the leading Android tablet by a wide margin. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab family followed with a market share of 15.4 percent in February, followed by the Motorola Xoom with 7.0 percent share. The Asus Transformer and Toshiba AT100 rounded out the top five with 6.3 percent and 5.7 percent market share, respectively.
The mobile phone market is not the same as the tablet market. These numbers make that clear. While the Kindle Fire is Android based, it’s a proprietary fork of Android. I think we’ll see more forks like this in the future.
Android is having trouble getting traction in the tablet market, and the one Android-based tablet that is gaining traction is following the Apple tight-vertical model where one company controls hardware, software and digital media content. It makes for a seamless experience.
Tablets are becoming much more than consumption devices (I’m writing this on an iPad), and it appears that users want a tight experience that works well. Stock Android is certainly more flexible than a stock iPad or Kindle Fire, but it offers a vastly inferior user experience for the average user.
What is good design? It’s how something functions. I can hand an iPad to a lot of people who never really got how to use a PC and they’ll be better able to get the most out of the device.
Many people never really enjoyed the PC era. Those devices were too complex with good software, services and content too hard to get. These new post-PC devices are easier to use for the average person.
That’s exciting. It really is.