Monica Chen, Taipei; Joseph Tsai, DIGITIMES [Thursday 20 October 2011]
Google launched its latest Android 4.0 operating system (Ice Cream Sandwich) on October 19, but since the focus of the launch conference was mainly concentrated on Samsung Electronics' new Galaxy Nexus smartphone, and no mention was made about tablet PCs, sources from PC vendors are concerned that Google's resource distribution between smartphones and tablet PCs may become imbalanced.
Although Android 4.0 has several improvements from the previous version, the operating system is still not strong enough to help Android tablet PCs compete against iPad 2, and with Apple expected to launch the iPad 3 as soon as March 2012, the technology gap between Android tablet PCs and iPad may expand further, according to the sources.
The sources pointed out that Google, lacking R&D personnel, has been unable to provide support to its downstream partners and the situation is unlikely to improve for Android 4.0. Google is likely to place its focus on Android smartphones, which have already gained a firm market share to compete against Apple's iPhone.
With Asustek Computer set to launch its second-generation Eee Pad Transformer with Android 4.0 by the end of October, market watchers are mostly conservative about its sales performance as Amazon's Kindle Fire has significantly affected the Android tablet PC market with its low price.
Several notebook players have already placed their hopes on Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system and expect its compatibility and familiar user interface will help them regain consumer demand.