2012 – The Real War of the Tablets Begins

2011 was great for tablets, Apple’s tablets. 2012 will be different. Google, realizing Android/Linux tablets have respectable but not great share of the market, is gearing up to actively promote Android/Linux tablets. All the pieces needed for great competition will soon be in place:

  • great products,
  • great and numerous combatants, and
  • great prices.

Google has until now only dabbled in selling products running Android/Linux. They were mostly proof of concept products. Now they are going to have an on-line store bearing the Google name while pushing Android/Linux tablets.

So, we are 1/4 the way through the year, and share now is about 40%. With Google’s move, Android/Linux is in position to exceed 50% by year’s end. The benefit to Google is that in addition to the revenue they get from Android/Linux devices directly, pumping out tablets pumps up their search business which is already huge but needs growth. Growth is in emerging markets, including tablets.

Immediate benefits to IT should be

  • beating Apple’s silly prices for tablets,
  • inspiring other players to lower prices, and
  • ending the litigation/legal threats surrounding Android/Linux even faster than Oracle’s case is sinking.

There are reports that some makers of tablets are being squeezed in their margins. That should be alleviated in 2012 with much higher volumes than 2011. Growth in units shipped will likely reach 100%. The market has already gone far past the point of breaking even.

This is now a war about the limits to production. RIM and Apple cannot bring products to market faster than the Android army. Sooner or later the old guard will be swarmed by legions of small cheap computers. Google will have a rapid increase in users of IT to keep its growth rate up. The world will have better price/performance in IT.

Business will adopt tablets widely, and not just Apple’s. M$ will be “mentioned in reports” but not a factor in tablets. By the end of the year the battle will spill over into all things IT. Because the tablets largely do not run the Wintelish applications, web applications will become the place to be and Wintel will decline much more rapidly.

I wonder what would happen if Google were to analyze the cost/benefit of promoting Android/Linux and began to promote GNU/Linux more than it does already… That could really expand their search business in emerging markets much more rapidly if the cost of IT were lowered substantially by widespread adoption of GNU/Linux. Chuckle… 2012 is looking to be a great year.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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26 Responses to 2012 – The Real War of the Tablets Begins

  1. Phenom says:

    No, Pogson, confusion is yours. Manufacturers sell hardware, developers sell software. Apples sells hardware and receives margin from software. As a developer, I simply acknowledge the trouble I see when developing for Android. I can’t care less about the number of devices being sold, when my application will run on 10% of them, and that is if I am lucky. With Apple, my app will run on 100% of devices.

  2. Phenom wrote, “the situation for Android is not going nicely now.”

    Gee, I haven’t heard 850K daily activations described that way before. Are you confusing the vibrance of life with fragmentation? Scientists warn that losing species is a sign of doom. Android/Linux, to me, seems to be just getting started. Soon they will be on their billionth user (300 million+ and 250% per annum growth). That other OS took 35 years to get close to that.

  3. Phenom says:

    In other words, you agree with only what suits you. :-)

    Pogson, the situation for Android is not going nicely now. Manufacturers produce Android devices only because no one can produce an iOS device, but Apple.

    Android’s development ecosystem is going badly. Fragmentation is a nightmare:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2012/03/31/five-reasons-why-developers-need-to-be-wary-about-android/
    http://thenextweb.com/mobile/2012/03/30/the-shocking-toll-of-hardware-and-software-fragmentation-on-android-development/
    This is not even new.

    Apple App Store has currently about 750K with approved quality, while Google Play has 450K and with inferior quality, due to the lack of any quality control.

  4. In 2011, Apple had something like 60% of global shipments of tablets. They are down to about 50% now. They just don’t have enough bullets to meet demand/threats. Apple is just now getting around to opening more stores in China… Whose tablets have the Chinese been buying?

    Global share according to displaysearch.com:
    Q1 2011, 53% Apple,
    Q4 2011, Apple 59% share,
    I don’t agree with IDC’s assessment that iPad will hold on for a couple of years with a majority share of tablet shipments. The evidence of current trends does not support that. M$’s tablets will not even dent the market by IDC’s estimates. That I agree is the case. Let’s wait a month or two to see who’s right. I think Apple will be down to 50% share by June of 2011.

    Another comparison, 2010 v 2011

  5. oldman says:

    Apropos your blog entry, I would be interested in your comments on this take on the state of tablet wars.

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2402432,00.asp

    Interesting reading, eh Pog?

  6. Ted says:

    “Of course, aardvark goes beyond promoting uncertainty. He feels it is important to insult everyone and everything connected to GNU/Linux.”

    You bloody hypocrite. You’re the one that calls people “asshole” and uses the term “Cult of Microsoft”.

    If anyone, Pogson should ban you.

  7. Exactly. This is typical “troll-behaviour 101″.

    I guess it’s time to ban him/her/them.

  8. kozmcrae says:

    aardvark is asking for a level of cost detail for the Munich migration to GNU/Linux that he knows nobody, especially Robert Pogson, can supply. But even if Robert were able to give some better detail of the expense, aardvark would just demand a more detailed explanation of the cost.

    All aardvark has to do is to promote uncertainty about the Munich migration to GNU/Linux. He doesn’t have to prove anything.

    Of course, aardvark goes beyond promoting uncertainty. He feels it is important to insult everyone and everything connected to GNU/Linux. And that is a good thing. He shows his true colors.

  9. aardvark wrote, “Let’s face it, if Munich was such a roaring success, all 16 other Landes would be following in its wake.”

    There are lots of hits for “german” on ec.europa.eu . Expect more sooner or later. These folks take their time and are careful.

  10. aardvark says:

    Mr Pogson:

    “When have you ever heard of a leader being re-elected with increasing shares of the vote in a democracy?”

    Well, just to take almost the only examples available here in the UK since 1979, there’s Margaret Thatcher, followed by Tony Blair. John Major was an anomaly in that respect, although he was widely predicted to lose the 1992 General Election. I expect that David Cameron will follow the trend and win the 2014 General Election with an increased majority, possibly even without needing a coalition partner.

    One interesting thing about democracies is that there seems to be an in-built bias towards the incumbent, unless they are utterly hapless (eg Gordon Brown).

    However, I am not sure what this has to do with Da Mayor’s fiscal openness or otherwise. Let’s face it, politicians are not paid to delve too deeply into these matters; nor should they. That is what external auditors are for.

    And until you come up with an external auditor’s report, I am afraid the success or otherwise of Munich is an open question. I will be quite prepared to accept that it was a roaring success — once I see the numbers.

    As you must know, there is an infinite number of ways in which fungible things such as costs can be re-apportioned between budgets in a large administration. Even school districts can suffer from this sort of three-card monte trick.

    Is there a figure for all those Windows and Office licenses that were regrettably necessary during the ten year transition?

    Is there a figure for that mysterious external consultancy that “helped out”?

    How was the “alternative cost” for Wintel hardware and software arrived at? After all, this is purely imaginary money; there is no concrete evidence on the ground. If you have a failed project — and I am not saying that Munich necessarily failed — you are bound to pick the higher end of estimates for what the alternative would have cost.

    All these questions and no answers whatsoever, apart from some fat German beer-swilling populist on a soap box. Let’s face it, if Munich was such a roaring success, all 16 other Landes would be following in its wake.

    Not a single one has done so.

  11. Clarence Moon says:

    Here I am using $billions of software for $0…

    You are perhaps using software that someone could claim a value of billions for the aggregate development hours, but you could surely buy commercial versions of it for much less, eh?

    I am using almost all commercial stuff, except for Eclipse that I am using to learn how to do programs for my Kindle Fire and it has cost me next to nothing. I paid for CuteFTP about 5 years ago, and for Newsbin Pro. Both were like $29 or $39, I don’t remember exactly. I got MS Office from my employer under their volume license and my new computer came with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for free. I got Adobe Reader for free, of course, for PDF reading. I but TurboTax for $29 on sale each year, too. Oh, and I got two versions of Angry Birds for $4 each on my laptop.

    I have Visual Studio Express with SQL Server Express from Microsoft and they are free, too.

    What do you have that might be worth so much money? What have you done to enrich the author(s) of it?

  12. RedHat contributes greatly to projects like Linux and KVM. A lot of what you get from IT comes from those projects, so RedHat is worth much more to you than $0.

    Munich is an highly regulated local government with accountants and auditors. You can bet $millions in savings are accounted. Munich is a democracy. The citizens/residents/taxpayers all have an interest in Munich being run properly, financially. Clearly, the citizens are not unhappy with Ude.
    Wikipedia:“On September 12, 1993, Ude was elected as lord mayor and successor of Georg Kronawitter. He was re-elected three times, on June 13, 1999 with 61.2 per cent of all votes, on March 3, 2002 with 64.5 per cent and on March 2, 2008 with 66.8 per cent. He may not run for another term in 2014 because of age limitations. In August 2011 Christian Ude announced his attention to become the SPD’s leading canditate for the upcoming Bavarian state election in 2013.”

    When have you ever heard of a leader being re-elected with increasing shares of the vote in a democracy? In 2002, before the migration, he received 64.5% of the vote and in 2008, with the migration under way, he received 66.8% of the vote.

    Over the last five years, Munich has reduced its public debt and increased services by increased efficiency such as the migration to GNU/Linux:
    “Thanks for the praise, because it’s true: Munich has reduced its debt by 85 million euros last year. Incidentally, we have reduced debt significantly since 2006. Instead of 3.4 billion euros end 2005, there have now dropped to 2.2 billion euros, or 1.2 billion euros less. Especially important to me is that we were able to achieve this reduction of debt, without having the city’s “family silver” – to sell or the investment of the city – – or about our public utilities or municipal housing stock zusammenzustreichen – especially in the expansion of child care and housing.”

    see the mayor’s conversations with citizens.

    So, while the savings from the migration are not huge in the scheme of things, it all adds up to good government.

  13. aardvark says:

    Mr Gewg:

    RHEL sells their stuff to corporate customers. I am not a corporate customer. Linux provides precisely $0 value to me.

    And Munich has spent ten years pulling numbers out of a hat. Until I see an independent, external, audit, I am not going to be convinced.

    Tell me, are you normally in the habit of taking anything a politician with a vested interest has to say on trust? Or is the Mayor of Munich somehow a special case?

  14. gewg_ says:

    The zero-value comments are so cute in light of RHAT passing the 1B/yr mark and Munich stating their savings at 11M euros compared to going the M$ way.
    Of course, ALL ones and zeros now have zero value.
    The future for M$ will depend on them finding a way to compete with $0 prices–and I think we all know how they do at support.

  15. Kozmcrae says:

    @ldman said:

    “Where Pog? The software you use has exactly $0 commercial value.

    Then again you get what you pay for.”

    aardvark and @ldman, you’re both assholes.

    http://www.itnews.com.au/News/290236,perth-coder-finds-new-debian-worth-18-billion.aspx

  16. aardvark says:

    The $0 estimate is questionable, @ldman.

    You’re forgetting to factor in the Total Cost of Ownership.

  17. oldman says:

    “Here I am using $billions of software for $0… ”

    Where Pog? The software you use has exactly $0 commercial value.

    Then again you get what you pay for.

  18. aardvark says:

    Mr Pogson:

    “I get far more than ten times reward for my efforts. Here I am using $billions of software for $0… Good things do happen with FLOSS.”

    If I were you, I’d wait until FLOSS software is not only free, but given away with Kellogg’s Cornflakes.

    At that point, somebody would effectively be paying you to use it. You wouldn’t be getting ten times reward for your efforts, because the basic starting point would be a negative.

    Multiply that by the number of hours you fritter away on your loveable little cornflake system, and you, too, could waste $billions of your life on a rotten worthless waste of time.

    I’m a Special K fan, myself.

  19. aardvark says:

    Vim? Vim? The Spawn of the Devil, I tell you!

    Try emacs — it works for me.

    Actually, emacs is a wonderful paradigm for FOOS: both where it works, and where it doesn’t. Let’s face it, very few people use either vi/vim or emacs these days … very few people use vim … and to be honest, I think that is rather sad. Because, well, I’ll go into that at the bottom of the post.

    Emacs is easily one of Richard Stallman’s better ideas. To start with, he nicked/copied it very early on, before it could go rancid and corporate. It has an underlying language (vi does not) which is trivial to understand, ie (e)lisp. With a very small number of keystrokes, you can accomplish great and repeatable things: I’m still in love with the way I can format code with M-c M-q, and incidentally Visual Studio claims it can do this and then fails miserably … but there’s also do-it-yourself macros, tiny little programs that you can even save for later, which allow you to format txt line-by-line with regexps if necessary.

    It’s wonderful. Of course, there are limitations. Version 23.x still asks you if you want to load a 20 MB file (“It’s awfully large. Are you sure?”) because every bit of RAM is Sacred. And elisp isn’t the finest dialect of lisp out there. But still.

    And although I’ve left vi(m) until last, it’s pretty good itself. I can’t see why anybody would use it rather than emacs (just the fact that multiple buffers require separate instances of vi in separate processes, and yes I know about that E command but it’s too much cognitive overload and doesn’t compare to emacs), but if you’re dealing with a bare-bones *nix system at or near boot-level, it’s essential. And the colouring thing is nice. And it has several nice extensions. Not an emacs, but as emacs’ sad crippled little brother, it beats the hell out of the competition.

    And here’s the bottom of the post: there are dozens of text editors out there today, and almost all of them are crap. Notepad, notepad++, the defaults for any source control system you care to name, anything with the letters “edit” in them … they’re all crap. It’s irrelevant whether or not they are FOSS. Many are, many are not. They’re still crap. Back round about the time of Brief and Epsilon and the like (you may remember that; it was the 1990s), they made an attempt to emulate their predecessors, which was a good idea … but people didn’t like it, and now we have a choice of crap, or vi(m), or emacs.

    Under the circumstances, I’m warming to vi(m), although a real man would choose (x)emacs every time.

  20. I prefer vim. It’s improved.

  21. I get far more than ten times reward for my efforts. Here I am using $billions of software for $0… Good things do happen with FLOSS.

  22. Ivan says:

    Since the users make FLOSS, users/developers have a say in what works and what does not.

    Please don’t misrepresent Open Source to your readership, it is not a democracy. It never has been a Democracy. It never will be a Democracy.

  23. aardvark says:

    Mr Pogson:

    “Linus said it best, ‘Imagine ten people putting in 1 hour each every day on the project. They put in one hour of work, but because they share the end results they get nine hours of ‘other peoples work’ for free.

    It sounds unfair: get nine hours of work for doing one hour. But it obviously is not.’ So, you can get ten hours of work for the price of one.

    Linus was wrong. It doesn’t sound unfair at all, and I find it hard to imagine that a single person amongst those the would think it unfair.

    Unfortunately, it is fatuous. It didn’t happen, and it will never happen.

    And you know that. I have to wonder why you peddle this specious bullshit (in this case an excusable aside from Torvalds intended simply to encourage people) as some sort of absolute which quite clearly does not obtain.

  24. aardvark says:

    Mr Pogson:

    Oh, I understand precisely how FLOSS works. I’ve been watching it for twenty years. Occasionally, I have even tried it.

    It’s a big verb, “works,” isn’t it?

    Now, as an early adopter, can I ask you this? Do you prefer vi, or emacs?

    (It’s not exclusive. You can pick any other FLOSS, or even a deprecated FOSS without the L, alternative.)

  25. aardvark, not understanding how FLOSS works, wrote, “Great products? It’s up to customers, not the FLOSS world, to determine that.

    Great prices? Well, you get what you pay for. Sometimes less. Never more.”

    That’s wrong on all counts. Since the users make FLOSS, users/developers have a say in what works and what does not. Linus said it best, “Imagine ten people putting in 1 hour each every day on the project. They put in one hour of work, but because they share the end results they get nine hours of ‘other peoples work’ for free. It sounds unfair: get nine hours of work for doing one hour. But it obviously is not.” So, you can get ten hours of work for the price of one.

  26. aardvark says:

    Mr Pogson:

    Chuckle.

    Great products? It’s up to customers, not the FLOSS world, to determine that.

    Great prices? Well, you get what you pay for. Sometimes less. Never more.

    Great and numerous combatants? This is where the whole history of IT is against you. “In Search of Stupidity” is a book mostly concerned with examples of where a single company (for these purposes you can substitute with “OS platform”) has built several “combative” products which challenge each other. It never ends well.

    Borland and database products is the obvious example. You could even quote the many “same OS, different coloured box” versions of Windows 7, and indeed you do, and I’m inclined to think you are correct.

    Heck, go back to the Unix Wars and consider what happened to the Unix business of NextStep, SGI, and even Solaris at a pinch. None of this was good for the underlying platform.

    Customers want choice in certain small and controllable sub-sets of a product. They even enjoy that sort of choice. But, fundamentally, uncontrolled choice is not very customer-friendly, and it might just be that Google are about to realise that with their tablets.

    Meanwhile, Apple tablets give the customer exactly the amount of choice they want (and are willing to pay for), and no more.

    Were I a betting man, I know which strategy I would prefer.

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