2012 is turning out to be a pretty good year for consumers looking to buy a 7-Inch Android Tablet. Better processors, thinner and lighter devices, sharper screens and faster GPUs are now being featured in a host of new 7-Inch Tablet devices coming out this year from Samsung, ZTE, Velocity Micro, and many others.
Kindle Fire “Sparking” 7-Inch Market
Although Samsung was the first Android Tablet maker to come out with a 7-Inch Tablet in 2010, the sudden interest in the smaller tablet form is primarily due to the huge initial wave of enthusiasm for the Kindle Fire. Will the success of Amazon’s New Tablet, which many consider to be an entry-level tab, prompt consumers to seriously consider an alternative, low-cost 7-Inch Android Tablet that packs a bigger punch in terms of features?
Manufacturers are banking that the 7-inch form will catch on due to its greater mobility and lower price. They are probably right this time. The success of the Kindle Fire is quickly transforming the 7-Inch Tablet form into its own distinct segment, competing with each other for market share rather than competing with Apple as “iPad Juniors.”
Android Making Significant Tablet Headway
A number of the new 7-Inch Tablets coming out this year include the more stable Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, and other tablet makers are promising upgrades to the new OS soon(er or later). Ice Cream Sandwich has been developed specifically to close the gap between Android smartphones and tablets.
Although it remains highly fragmented, Android is finally starting to make significant headway in the tablet market.Strategy Analytics recently reported that Android had captured ucdm youtube 39% share of global tablets shipped in the 4th quarter of last year – a rise of 10 percentage points over 2010. If Android can do this again, then it will be running neck-to-neck with the iPad.
Price Is Key
The success of the Kindle Fire, not to mention the lines of people wrapped around city blocks last year for a chance to buy discontinued HP Touchpads at fire sale prices, clearly demonstrated that price is key. Android Tablet makers have gotten the message. Prices for many smaller Android Tablets are hundreds of dollars cheaper than the current entry-level IPad. And some new 7-Inch Tablets sold with data plans are even cheaper than the Kindle Fire and have more high-end features than Amazon’s tablet.
Sprint, for example, has just added a 7-Inch Tablet from ZTE to its tablet portfolio that’s priced just under $100 (with a two-year contract). The ZTE Optik features a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor and 1GB of RAM. It runs on Android Honeycomb, has a 1280 x 800 capacitive touchscreen display, Bluetooth and GPS antennas. It also features stereo speakers as well as dual cameras — 5MP rear and 2MP front-facing — plus 16GB of storage and a MicroSD slot.
At CES last month, Samsung and Verizon Wireless introduced the Galaxy Tab 7.7 with LTE for Verizon’s LTE network. It has a 7.7-inch 1280 x 800 Super AMOLED Plus display, a 1.4-GHz dual-core processor and 16 GB of internal storage. The tablet uses Android 3.2 Honeycomb with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. It has a Wi-Fi, a 3.2-megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash, and full 720p recording. Verizon will soon be selling this at a subsidized price to gain contracts. No details on price yet for this new tab, but the earlier model, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0, is currently going for $229.99 with 2-year contract on Verizon’s website.