What started as a trickle towards the tail end of 2010, turned into a full-throttled outburst in 2011, as we witnessed a horde of Android tablets come rushing out from top tier manufacturers and even lesser known ones, some of which we didn’t even know existed. This meant we finally had some worthy alternatives to the iPad, not that there was a real need for one, but it doesn’t really hurt to have a little variety. Among the towering number of tablets, we’ve seen some really good ones like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 750, Lenovo K1 and the Asus Transformer, some that had potential like the Motorola Xoom and Reliance 3G Tab, and then there were the disappointments, which we have lined up for you below.
The reason we called them disappointments and goof-ups or blunders is because technically they are very capable devices and on paper, should march along side the success stories, but they didn't. The reasons vary from poor implementation of the UI, lack of support for useful third party apps, bad design choices and most importantly absurd pricing. It’s some of these factors (or in some case, all of them) that failed to strike a chord with the audience, which is why they just sit there in the corner of store shelves.
The Flyer was HTC’s first ever foray into the tablet segment, but they messed it up by pricing it ridiculously high. But that wasn’t the only issue, the tablet as powerful as it was on paper, failed to translate that power in the real world due to which it suffered in video playback. When we tested it, the Sense UI ran super smooth, but the Flyer seemed to struggle with video playback. The stock player couldn’t playback bog standard SD files smoothly, let alone 720p. This was fixable by a third party app, but then you’d lose the SRS sound enhancements, which made a big difference in the audio quality. You’d think a 1.5GHz processor would be able to playback HD files with ease, but sadly that’s not the case.
It's back to the drawing board for HTC
Now, with the recent price drop and the Honeycomb update rolling out, perhaps it does seem a bit more appealing.
RIM’s PlayBook was targeted at a very niche audience, right from it’s inception and just like their other mobile products, it aimed at providing enterprise level security features, which CIOs love and was to be an extension of your BlackBerry. Sadly, RIM was a little too late to the party as they failed to consider the dominance of the iPad and something called the ‘consumerization of IT’.
Not much to play with, after all
The robustness of iOS and its security policy options have led many organizations to adopt the iPad as their tool of choice. This has also spun an ecosystem in which third party vendors have developed specialized apps that meet the security needs of enterprises. With all this already in place, why would companies adopt a product with weaker support for apps? That’s the problem with devices designed for a niche audience, if it fails to strike a chord then it just ends up in limbo. Another reason was the pricing, which wasn’t exactly pocket-friendly. All these factors led to poor sales, so much so that retailers were slashing prices like crazy just to get rid of the excess stock.
Acer ICONIA Tab A500
The ICONIA Tab A500 had the potential to be a really good tablet, but lack of proper support is what has landed it in this list. It’s still one of the few tablets to sport a full-sized USB port, which is a boon for swapping data on the move. The main problem we had with the A500 was Honeycomb 3.0, which coupled with Acer’s own tweaks made it quite frustrating to use.
Had potential but lack of support killed it off
Even after six months of launching the tablet, we still haven’t seen the promised 3.1 update in India. It’s almost as if Acer has lost faith in the A500 and moved on to other projects. We also never saw the 3G version that they said they’d launch.
Creative ZiiO 7
The ZiiO’s biggest failing was its horrible resistive screen and even worse, their custom skin. The tablet had really good feature like slim form factor, good build quality, ability to playback 1080p and rather excellent sound quality thanks to their X-Fi sound chip. All of these fall flat on their faces, though without a good interface.
Brilliant PMP marred by a screen from hell
The UI was sluggish and you had to literally poke the screen to get a response. This meant you couldn’t do anything productive with it and without 3G support, it was nothing more than a glorified PMP, and a rather expensive one, too. The poor screen quality was the main deal breaker for what could have been a very good product.
Fly Vision Tablet
We’ve reserved the last spot for something absolutely horrific and no one does that justice than the Fly Vision Tablet. The only things riding in its favour was their ‘decent’ appearance and the fact that it played 720p, but it was just plain bad in every other department. Even at Rs.7,300, which seems cheap at first, it’s not really worth the investment. The tablet wasn’t stable at all and kept constantly crashing and freezing. I guess the Aakash tablet has some competition now.
Not exaclty 'vision'ary
So that’s our list of tablets that failed to live up to the hype, despite being technically sound. What do you think?
Publish date: December 7, 2011 4:51 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 9:06 pm
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