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July 9th 2012 3:16 pm

Are Android tablets just not as cool as iPads?

Samsung was handed a victory this week in its ongoing patent dispute with Apple -- sort of. A UK judge, declaring that Samsung Galaxy Tabs aren't iPad knockoffs, justified his ruling by saying that the Tabs couldn't possibly be confused for iPads, as they just aren't as cool as the Apple product. As reported by Bloomberg:

The design for three Galaxy tablets doesn’t infringe Apple’s registered design, Judge Colin Birss said today in London in a court fight between the world’s two biggest makers of smartphones. Consumers aren’t likely to get the tablet computers mixed up, he said.

The Galaxy tablets “do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design,” Birss said. “They are not as cool.”

While the judge's ruling may mean that Samsung will soon be able to start selling the Tabs in the UK, it highlights a real marketplace challenge for all Android tablets. They simply aren't considered as cool, stylish or fashionable as iPads, and that perception has kept them from gaining market share.

Perhaps it's no accident that the best-selling Android tablet to date, the Kindle Fire, succeeded not by trying to be cool, but by deeply undercutting the iPad on price, and by tying itself closely to Amazon's content ecosystem. After all, Judge Birss may just be right: No company really has competed successfully with Apple on the cool factor, and Android tablet-makers need to find other, more quotidian ways to compete.

What do you think?


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4 replies

The impression I got from that ruling was that the judge was hedging his bets, trying to stoke Apple's ego and hopefully cut down on this series of lawsuits in doing so.

Though yeah, maybe Android tablets aren't as cool as the iPad. But as the more iconic, famous product, there's always going to be a cachet and status associated with owning one. And I don't feel that "icon" is the point of any Android device. Android devices are there to be affordable and accessible, and that's what Samsung needs to focus on - just getting them out there so they become the norm.
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I work for Samsung and actually laughed out loud when I read that the judge said our product is 'not cool'. Lol, I had no idea that this was a popularity contest, I must have missed that memo.
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Apple pretty much does everything right when it comes to hardware design and marketing their products, so I'm not surprised that people feel like iPads are cooler than Android tablets. Even though iPads are pretty affordable, I think it's still an aspirational product that people want to own.
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Cool? Really? I never go for Apple because they are proprietary and always will be. For this reason, I always look for choices other than Apple. Choices are a good thing. AT&T found out the hard way that choices are to be forced if "unfair" practices are found to be happening. Microsoft pays billions of dollars in UK fines as a result. Hence I pursue Linux as my choice of OS.
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