We are currently experiencing a tablet boom, with Android tablets finally beginning to challenge the iPad’s dominance, but reports from Asia suggest a number of major Android tablet makers could be pulling back from the platform in 2012.
A report from DigiTimes suggests that a number of PC hardware manufacturers like Acer, Asus and Dell won’t be updating their Android tablet offerings in 2012 as "sources from upstream supply chains" claim they have not received the orders they would have expected by this stage.
We have also heard rumours that Asus has cancelled its CES 2012 press conference which would give further credence to these reports with the company not having any devices to show off.
Why would these manufacturers decide to get out of the Android tablet game just as it was beginning to challenge the iPad? Well it seems as if the companies may be hedging their bets with Windows 8 on the horizon - waiting to see if it would be a bigger threat to iOS.
Another reason for the slow down in the development of generic Android tablets is that unlike Apple and Amazon with its Kindle Fire they do not have the additional benefit of content to boost profitability from the tablet platform - with Google taking all the app profit from the Android Market.
Of course, as with all reports in DigiTimes, these claims need to be taken with a pinch of salt, and, as the Guardian points out, the sources who spoke to the website claimed that the iPad 2 was selling less than the original iPad, which is not the case at all. The original iPad sold 15 million in its first year on sale while the new iPad 2 has sold 20m units in its first two quarters.
There is no doubt that the availability of Windows 8 on tablets will give manufacturers a dilemma regarding which platform to support more fully. While Nokia may have promised a Windows 8 tablet by June 2012, it’s more likely that it will be the third quarter of 2012 before we see Windows 8 tablets available.
What do you think? Are the days of the Android tablet numbered? Or is there room in the market for three major operating systems to co-exist? Let us know in the comments.