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Honeycomb tablets currently only 1.8% of all Android devices

Google's specialized Android 3.x tablet platform off to a slow first start

Google’s latest breakdown of the Android platform distribution shows a couple of interesting facts.

For one, the data shows that Honeycomb tablets (version 3.x) currently make up only 1.8 percent of all active Android devices as of October 3rd. The distribution data was based off of unique users who have accessed the Android Market within the past 14 days. At less than 2 percent, Honeycomb tablets have yet to make up a significant portion of the Android world, even after almost 8 months since its introduction with the Motorola Xoom.

Several factors can explain the cause, including slow sales, high fragmentation, high tablet prices, or general consumer disinterest of Android tablets in general. Recent studies have claimed that most potential tablet users look only to the iPad 2, while the recently demised HP TouchPad and troubling RIM PlayBook seemingly support the argument.

Still, it’s important to remember that not all Android tablets run Honeycomb. The HTC Flyer, for example, and the wide range of budget Android tablets ship with Android Gingerbread (2.3.x) or lower instead due to costs, launch timings or insufficient hardware specs. Thus, saying that Android tablets make up around 1.8 percent of the market may be a slight underestimation. Analysts are still expecting Android to grow in the next few years.

Outside of Honeycomb, Froyo devices still make up the majority of all Android iterations at 45.3 percent. Gingerbread is quickly catching up, however, at 38.7 percent.  Depending on the device and manufacturer support, users with older Froyo devices may be unable to officially update to Android Gingerbread.

For the future of Android, Google is attempting to merge the operating system into a more cohesive unit. That is, each Android iteration will be flexible enough to work on both smartphone and tablet devices in an attempt to reduce fragmentation. Android 4.x, otherwise known as Ice Cream Sandwich, will combine Gingerbread and Honeycomb functionality and could be launching as soon as October 11th.


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Allen Ngo, 2011-10- 6 (Update: 2012-05-26)