Can Android tablets be saved?

Google recently announced that it would be throwing in the towel on Google-branded Android tablets. That’s a bummer, since at one point Google really showed the hardware community how tablets could and should be done. But, even without Google’s hardware might behind the tablet scene, I don’t think that means the Android tablet is destined to go the way of the dodo. Here are 5 reasons to remain optimistic.

1. Credible manufacturers are sticking with it

Even though Google’s time has come and gone in the tablet market, there are still several manufacturers that are keeping the lights on, with Samsung and Huawei being the two noteworthy heavy hitters. These juggernauts definitely know how to turn heads with their products, so it’s safe to assume that they’ll still be leading the charge, and they may even see Google’s ceding of the market as an opportunity for them.

2. The software is there

Android plows a unified ecosystem for smartphone and tablet. In theory, this means there’s less friction for developers who want their apps to work on both the smartphone and tablet form factor. This is certainly a different approach from others, but I think it’s the superior one. I’m not a software evangelist, but it seems odd to me to effectively fork your mobile OS between smartphone and tablet (maybe that does make me a software evangelist). Right? Why go from one-stop-shop to piecemeal? In any event, it would seem that a developer can get the biggest bang for their buck in the Android ecosystem if you want to build a smartphone app but also want a relatively painless way to optimize it for tablets.

3. Lots of players to innovate

One of Android’s strengths has always been its diversity and relatively-open garden. You’ve got many different manufacturers releasing products and putting all sorts of interesting takes on the software – it’s not just Google driving the ship. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a manufacturer to roll out a useful feature that later gets incorporated into Android at the system level. This has kept Android feeling fresh and innovative over all these years and it is a great feedback cycle. With so many manufacturers still throwing the dice on tablets, all it will take is a better mousetrap for the market to turn, or at least change significantly.

4. The competition’s price leaves an opening

Android has truly pioneered the budget-friendly smartphone market, and, as a result, we’ve even seen the big kid on the block more willing to consider price-conscious consumers. This dynamic has yet to occur in the tablet market, and an Android tablet manufacturer that finds the right balance between features and price will be poised to really disrupt this market; just look at what’s happened in the budget smartphone space as an example.

5. People are still interested

Last but certainly not least, people still want tablets. Apple is still plowing ahead with its premium tablets, so there’s clearly a market out there. Android just needs a compelling product. Here’s hoping someone can find the right recipe.

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