Android Tablets Not Even Selling as Well as These Forgotten Game Systems?

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Remember Panasonic’s 3DO game system back in the mid ’90s? Not surprised if you don’t; it failed miserably and was discontinued after three years, despite being packed with promise and cutting-edge technology. But the three-year sales record of this flop have thus far still managed to handily beat that of Android tablets — all of them. Combined.

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RIM CEO: Sub-$500 BlackBerry PlayBook Will Compete With The iPad In Price

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Other than Samsung’s Android-powered Galaxy Tab, Research In Motion’s upcoming BlackBerry Playbook seems like it will be the first real competition to the iPad’s dominance over the tablet market when it is released in early 2011.

Featuring a 7-inch display, a 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and both front and back-facing cameras, as well as an entirely new operating system based on Adobe Air, the BlackBerry Playbook certainly has the specs to make a splash… but a lot will depend on whether or not the price is competitive with the iPad.

According to RIM CEO Jim Balsillie, the BlackBerry PlayBook will at least match the entry-level iPad’s price when it drops. In an interview with Business Week, Balsillie said:

“The product will be very competitively priced,” and when asked whether it will be about $500, Balsillie said “no, it will be under that.”

Good news so far, but my guess is that he’s referring to a subsidized price. The Samsung Galaxy Tab has roughly the same specs as the PlayBook and it doesn’t cost under $500 without a subsidy. Given that RIM exclusively makes phones and 3G-connected devices, I’d speculate that the PlayBook will end up being cheaper than an iPad… but only as long as you’re willing to sign a two-year contract for the “savings.”

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The iPad Accounts For 95.5% Of All Tablets Sold

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Before the iPad debuted, the tablet market was basically limited to niche convertible laptops with stylus-driven displays largely marketed to digital artists. The iPad changed everything: it placed the tablet as a bridge device between a phone and a laptop and made it less about the creation of a few specific types of digital media than a gadget aimed at the consumption of digital media.

It was a genius redefinition of a product class, and Apple’s basically dominated the tablet market ever since it was released. You might be surprised by how utterly complete the iPad’s domination of the tablet market is, though: according to statistics released by Strategy Analytics, the iPad accounts for 95.5% of all tablet sales.

That number’s going to go down, of course. The iPad basically caught gadget makers with their pants down, and we’re only just staring to see devices like the Galaxy Tab and the upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook creep out of electronic makers’ design factories to challenge the iPad’s crown. Apple’s percentage of the tablet market is largely due to the fact that there just aren’t any good tablets out there besides the iPad.

So that number’s going to go down, but by guess, with that sort of head start? Apple’s still going to sell more than half of all tablets made for at least the next couple of years.

[via TUAW

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