It’s quarterly earnings season in the technology world, also known as the most breathlessly exciting time in a tech blogger’s existence. Amid reports of an $80 million loss that the company attributes to expenses for the upcoming Google acquisition, Motorola noted that they sold just 200,000 XOOM tablets in the fourth quarter of 2011. Combined with the first three quarters and (low) early sales of the DROID XYBOARD tablets on Verizon, that makes for a rough figure of about 1 million tablets shipped.
Let’s put a little perspective on that: sorry to go to the competition, but Apple sold 15 million iPads – and that’s just from October through December of 2011. Estimates put the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet at between 1 and 3 million units each, and they only went on sale in November. All Android tablets combined were about 10.5 million in the fourth quarter, with perhaps 20-25 million selling over all of 2011. (My own estimate here.) That puts Motorola, the third-largest Android OEM and the seller of the original Honeycomb developer hardware, at about 4-6% of total Android sales.
There’s no two ways about it: that’s a pretty pathetic figure, especially for the company that’s expected to become Google’s unnoficial manufacturing arm in 2012. Motorola didn’t havy any new tablet hardware to show at CES earlier this month, and the WiFi versions of the XYBOARD (the XOOM 2 in Europe) are getting a lujewarm reception, thanks to decent but not spectacular specs combined with a high price tag. We haven’t heard of any new hardware coming in the next few months, either, while Lenovo, Acer, Samsung, Asus and just about everybody else are gearing up for big spring or summer releases.
Hello, Moto. Wake up and smell the roses. Consumers don’t want warmed-over hardware, and they sure don’t want to spend iPad-level money on it. Take a cue from the Asus MeMO 370T, the breakout tablet from CES: combine big specs with low price, and you’ll get people’s attention.