Android is MIA in ‘Holiday tablet wars’

By now you probably know that “in just a few short hours” Apple will be holding its “We’ve got a little more to show you” presumed iPad Mini event. (I’m absolutely certain somewhere on the Internet there is a website that is actually counting down the minutes and seconds to the event’s start. *Sigh*.) It’s set for October 23 at 10 am Pacific Daylight Time, just in case you’re curious, and want to start your own countdown. (I hope not.)

Later this week we’ll have the Samsung Galaxy Note II, on Thursday, October 25. And, of course, Microsoft’s Surface RT launch on Friday, October 26.

Google’s Nexus 7 tablet started shipping this past July, although they are hosting an event on October 29 and there are rumors that the company might have some new Android tablets to unveil…but it’s just a rumor so far.

And, last month both Amazon and Barnes & Noble introduced their new tablets. So, this is going to be quite a Holiday Season!

So, let’s take attendance again. Apple? Check. Microsoft? Check. Google? Well, the company hasn’t announced anything specific planned for its Monday event, so that’s still up in the air. Sumsung? Well, the Galaxy Note II, while intriguing, sorry to say isn’t quite the game changer that the iPad Mini and Microsoft’s Surface RT are expected to be.

So…Android? Where’s the latest major Android release?

From Jared Newman at TechHive.com:

Don’t look for Android among the heaps of shiny, new tablets headed to store shelves this holiday season.

Even as other tech giants such as Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon duke it out with new and noteworthy models like Surface, iPad Mini (the presumed name of Apple’s still-to-be-announced tablet), and Kindle Fire HD, tablet makers are largely leaving Google’s operating system out in the cold.

Acer Iconia Tab A110 tablet

There are some exceptions, of course. Google’s own Nexus 7 has been available since July, and may soon get a 32GB option according to a few unconfirmed sightings. Samsung is still pushing its Galaxy Note 10.1, which launched in August, and Sony is expected to re-launch its Experia Tablet S after fixing a design flaw. Acer just announced an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean tablet, the Acer Iconia Tab A110, to compete with the bevy of 7-inch tablets already here and coming soon.

But if you’re looking for high-end or otherwise noteworthy Android tablets over the next couple of months, prepare to be disappointed. We’re hearing that most major tablet makers will let the holidays go by without anything new on the Android front.

Considering how it seems that every mobile device manufacturer makes something with an Android flavor on it, this isn’t all that much of a surprise. Android products appear to trickle out every few weeks, so many might have decided to leave the Holiday season alone and let the Big Boys fight it out.

Newman continues:

In light of weak sales, it’s no surprise that tablet makers are flocking to Windows 8 and Windows RT for salvation. While no one knows whether the new tablet-friendly Windows will be a hit, device makers are at least giving it a shot.

Over the last couple weeks, we’ve seen new hardware announcements from AcerAsusLenovoSamsung and SonyDell and HP have also announced tablets and should come out with pricing details soon. The collective launch of Windows 8 tablets makes for a bigger bang than Android tablets ever had.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD

That’s not to say tablet makers are done with Android. Another explanation for the weak showing this holiday season may be a lack of exciting new hardware specs. Nvidia’s Tegra 3 processor is nearly a year old, so tablet makers could be waiting for the next version of Tegra, or for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro, before they bring new high-end tablets to market.

I’ll be curious to see if Google has picked up on this, and what they might surprise us with next Monday. Stay tuned for any news on that.

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