Android may still lag behind iOS in the mindshare of consumers when it comes to the tablet space, but according to a report from DigiTimes, its sheer numbers are increasing by a dramatic amount. The supplier news source says that up to three million “white-box” Android tablets are being manufactured every month, up 300% from the same figure last year. Most of these devices are being sold directly with in China, or being shipped off to the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Latin America. At least some are being sold cheaply elsewhere.
“White box” is an industry term meaning a piece of electronics created from readily-available parts, and resold quickly at retail. In this context it primarily means cheap tablets with little or no branding, sold to consumers who are unlikely to want or be able to afford the $300-500 price most tablets from more reliable manufacturers are going for. A typical model will have a 10-inch screen with a low 1024×600 resolution and 4GB of built-in storage, going for just a little over $100 US in local currency.
The good news is that apparently most of these tablets are being shipped with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. And why not, since the software is freely available as an open-source download, and most of the popular OEM components have already been integrated with Android. For Chinese OEMs, Ice Cream Sandwich is the new Gingerbread – off-brand Honeycomb tablets never made a splash because the source code wasn’t made available at the time. Due to a lack of Google certification, this considerable influx of ICS tablets is unlikely to show up on Google’s monthly Android distribution reports.[via PC Mag]