Lately, the more I hear about Android tablet plans, the less excited I get.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still quite interested in Android tablets in general. But when Acer announced that it’s launching 7- and 10-inch tablets next spring, it might as well have been Asus, LG or Motorola. In my mind, they’re all the same.
Samsung might be partly to blame. With the Galaxy Tab, Samsung broke the Android tablet barrier. It wasn’t the first Android tablet to market, but it’s the best. Now, every other manufacturer is using the same playbook: Tease a little bit of information at a time, highlight key specs like a front-facing camera and keep the price a secret for as long as possible because it’s probably going to disappoint people.
But my fatigue, I think, has more to do with software than hardware. At least one of Acer’s tablets will apparently run Honeycomb, a version of Android about which we know virtually nothing. Presumably, it’ll allow for tablet-sized apps and interface features, but that’s just speculation. Google’s tablet plans are as murky at the end of 2010 as they were at the beginning.
Because Honeycomb is still a shadowy prospect, Android tablet makers can’t really demonstrate their devices in action. Engadget’s hands-on is the perfect example, showing only a multimedia viewer and a bit of HD video. No offense to Acer, but I would expect that any tablet released in 2011 could handle video playback.
Once we start to see these tablets running in full, custom user interfaces and all, differentiating them will be a lot easier. For now, forgive me if my pulse doesn’t race with news of another unnamed Android tablet with incomplete specs, no price, no release date and no software.