Sunday Debate: How Can Android Tablets Rise Again?

Sunday Debate: How Can Android Tablets Rise Again?

Join us in a fun Sunday Debate on Android Tablets. Come with your opinions and feel free to read some of our thoughts, then pick your side or play devil’s advocate to get your voice heard and engage in friendly discussion. You can read our food-for-thought or jump straight into the fray below!

It doesn’t take long to realise that most Android publications, and even OEMs, give little love to Android tablets. Earlier in Android’s life, and particularly during the tablet boom, OEMs did come up with many tablet offerings.

A notorious exponent is Samsung, which flooded the market with many redundantly similar tablets, and it even updates some of its earlier concepts today. But it’s getting harder to find significantly compelling tablet that one can justify paying much for, especially when the user experience is not up today’s standards in that space.

This is not to say there haven’t been good releases lately, but as many know, they don’t necessarily offer the best user experience. Google’s own Nexus 9 tablet faced many issues during its first months (and Lollipop’s), and it seemingly retains some of those in present day. Other tablets, like Samsung’s and LG’s, might pack decent hardware but suffer from poor UX due to the heavily skinned UIs and laggy ROMs. Other tablets simply lack the needed hardware to entertain today’s audiences and power enterprise usage. There are upcoming tablets in the horizon, particularly Google’s Pixel C. There are also rumors of the Chrome OS being folded into Android soon. So we ask you, what does it take to save Android tablets?

  • Why don’t Android tablets get much attention?
  • How can the software improve?
  • What features does Android tablet software need?
  • How can the hardware improve?
  • Is marketing an issue, or is the market saturated?
  • How could Chrome OS folding into Android help tablets?

Join the discussion!

After Apogee

What many feel was a tipping point for Android tablets was the abandonment of the tablet-focused UI in stock Android, which repositioned the interface and accommodated assets so that users could easily operate the tablet. This is one of the biggest gripes users had with the Nexus 9, and it remains an issue most have (consciously or not) with Android tablets from a UX standpoint. Moreover, tablet-optimized apps unavailability also hurts the Android tablet UX, and utilizing stretched phone apps is simply not efficient nor aesthetically appealing.

A small step towards serious Android tablets

In terms of hardware, many Android tablets offer great packages, including the Nvidia Shield Tablet, the Nexus 9 and the upcoming Pixel C — these offer some of the best processing packages on mobile, and they are exclusive to tablets (as the chips would be impractical on phones). But all that power is arguably not well exploited, needed, nor desired on a tablet, especially without productivity-oriented features like multi-window, which despite being teased in the M previews, did not make it here. And in the age of big phones – or “phablets” – people have less of a need to carry around an extra layer of glass to watch their content on when their pocket’s is good enough for media consumption on-the-go.

But many of these issues could be solved through software, more appropriate or well-adjusted hardware, and better marketing. If Chrome OS does get folded into Android, then that alone could significantly enhance Android multi-tasking, productivity, and tablet-usage potential. It’d be perfect if the Pixel C would be the catalyst, given it presents itself as a productivity tablet and it carries the Pixel name which is associated with Google’s Chromebooks. After the good impressions that RemixOS left on us, we know that a more productive Android tablet not only makes sense, but is also the way it should be.

Debating

Android tablets could certainly get more of a presence, and now that Apple’s Ipad Pro and Microsoft’s new Surface offerings are threatening Android’s share, it’s time for Google to realise their bigger mobile screens can do much more, and for OEMs to muster out hardware up to the task. If the Android side plays its cards right, it can remain relevant in the tablet space despite the strengthened competition. But that’s a big if when you look at the way things are now. So, we ask again,

  • Why don’t Android tablets get much attention?
  • How can the software improve?
  • What features does Android tablet software need?
  • How can the hardware improve?
  • Is marketing an issue, or is the market saturated?
  • How could Chrome OS folding into Android help tablets?

About author

Mario Tomás Serrafero
Mario Tomás Serrafero

Mario developed his love for technology in Argentina, where a flagship smartphone costs a few months of salary. Forced to maximize whatever device he could get, he came to know and love XDA. Quantifying smartphone metrics and creating benchmarks are his favorite hobbies. Mario holds a Bachelor's in Mathematics and currently spends most of his time classifying cat and dog pictures as a Data Science graduate student.