updated 06:20 pm EDT, Thu April 12, 2012
Google CEO hints skew towards budget tablets
Google chief Larry Page hinted at a shift in his company's Android tablet strategy during his company's quarterly results call on Thursday. When asked about what Google would do to improve Android's poor showing on tablets, he believed that most success would come at the lower end of the market. Google was "quite focused" on the category, he said, without saying what that meant.
He did acknowledge the likelihood that the Amazon Kindle Fire was playing a disproportionately large role in getting Android any substantial market share. They might thrive, but "maybe not [with] the full Google version of Android," Page said.
The statements suggest Google has had to at least reluctantly accept the Kindle Fire as carrying Android's tablet presence. Although it runs Android 2.3, its heavily customized OS and lack of official Google services apps leaves Google both without extra revenues and without its official experience in place. Rumors surrounding a cheap official Google tablet have had it arriving partly to reassert control over Android and undermine Amazon.
The comments were partly an admission that Android tablets weren't having success in larger sizes. There was "strong competition," Page said in an allusion to the iPad. The platform is now significant, but every Android maker combined remain in a minority next to Apple, and few signs have emerged that performance will improve.