When we think of Android devices and tablet sales, we think of Google and its manufacturing partners and the stake they have in the platform. But it’s easy to forget that components manufacturers are a big part of the picture, too. NVIDIA, for example, has provided its dual-core Tegra 2 processor for several smartphones and tablets, so it’s natural for CEO Jen-Hsun Huang to be displeased with lackluster Android tablet sales.
Since Honeycomb was introduced, Android tablets have struggled against Apple’s iPad. Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha says that consumers are disinterested primarily because of the platform’s lack of apps. It’s true that the number of dedicated iPad apps dwarf those available for Android, but Jen-Hsun Huang of NVIDIA says that isn’t the only reason.
That’s not the whole story, according to Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, who I chatted with on Thursday. Nvidia’s Tegra 2 is the core piece of silicon inside Honeycomb tablets, including the Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.
“It’s a point of sales problem. It’s an expertise at retail problem. It’s a marketing problem to consumers. It is a price point problem,” he said, for starters.
While Huang doesn’t explicitly mention Apple, he’s clearly referring to the iPad maker when he addresses Android’s problems. Apple has dedicated retail stores and many retail partners for the iPad. There is also no denying that Apple is a giant when it comes to retail and marketing expertise. Just take a look at the billboards and bus-stop ads that plaster major cities, and the TV commercials that show off what you can do with an iPad. Additionally, no Android tablet has come close to being as great a deal as the iPad, where the very capable entry-level model starts at just $499.
Huang does admit that many of those problems are being remedied, but there are still issues that need to be dealt with, such as advertising and retail. Until Google and its manufacturing partners can solve that problem together, one has to wonder whether anyone out there is capable of dethroning the iPad any time soon.
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