LG adds to growing list of Android tablets

LG has announced today that it is planning to released a tablet PC with Google’s Android operating system by the end of this year, joining the long list of other manufacturers who have jumped on the tablet bandwagon.

The news came as LG launched its new line of Optimus devices, which utilise Android 2.2. A number of smartphones will begin the range, but LG has hinted at its plans for at least one tablet PC that will carry the “Optimus” title.

“LG Optimus will be comprised of devices running on a range of operating systems as well as Android tablet PCs,” it said, with the plural hinting that it is planning more than a single forray into the tablet market.

It did not give any details as to the specs of the new tablets, but it did say that LG will “deliver vastly superior performance than other similar devices currently on the market, while still managing to be thinner and lighter than competing devices.”

LG is following in the footsteps of a growing number of companies creating tablets using the Android OS, such as Dell, Intel, Acer, Asus and Google, in a flurry of efforts to steal customers from Apple’s highly successful iPad.

This tablet craze is catching businesses by surprise, however. A survey by Foresite revealed that two thirds of UK businesses have not tested their websites on tablet PCs, which means they have no idea if their websites work on such devices at all, losing a potentially huge mobile customer base. 

The touchscreen experience of a website on a tablet is completely different to that of a mouse and keyboard interface on a standard PC or laptop, meaning that websites for businesses need to be designed with this in mind, particularly considering the huge growth that tablet PCs have seen since the iPad launched. With dozens of Android tablets heading to the market soon this growth will only increase.

TechEye spoke to Barnaby Moffat, Managing Director of Foresite, about whether or not it would take a long time for companies to look at making their websites more tablet-friendly. He said: “Part of our struggle, especially with the public sector, is that we find ourselves pushing our clients to catch up. It’s unusual to find a public sector organisation that embraces new ways of interacting with its audiences. But even for many businesses with more mainstream products out there mobile is still not considered a primary means of interaction with users, so it’s unlikely that they’ll be early adopters when it comes to touch-screen technology.

“A small number of businesses need to be seen to be embracing new technologies, as this is in-line with their brand image,” he added. “For these few, an early touch-format website won’t necessarily bring in direct income, but will serve to show that they have their ‘finger on the pulse’. There will even be some cases where getting in early will grab the attention of a hungry audience. For most, spending on tablet-optimisation will be a consideration of return on investment; ‘will I get my money back?’. It won’t be until we can demonstrate a strong business case that we’ll see mainstream adoption.”

The SMU report for June 2010 highlighted the expected growth for tablets to fall in line with netbooks, jumping from just over 10 million units in 2010 to 35 million units in 2014, a growth of 250 percent. With this in mind businesses may need to take a look at their websites and see if they can fit in with the tablet trend – they’ll need to.