At CES, a company called Giinii is showing off an Apple (AAPL) iPod touch-like tablet called the Movit Mini. It runs on Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system and is wi-fi-only — no 3G, no mobile phone contract required. It’s priced right at $149.
This is a smart move, and we expect to see more of these. But so far, it’s little to no threat to Apple’s iPod touch line. Why not?
- Google’s Android software market isn’t nearly as deep as Apple’s — no paid apps yet, no big-name games, etc. (Someday it could be, but not today.)
- No one offers syncing software for Android devices anywhere near as good as Apple’s iTunes. This is handy for moving music and video to devices, backing up apps and settings, etc.
- The touchscreen isn’t good. Gizmodo’s Matt Buchanan says it was hard to push buttons or scroll on-screen.
We assume someone will get the hardware right sooner than later. Then it’ll be up to the software industry to make Android’s app offerings more like (or better than) Apple’s.
We’re not sure how big this market will get. We think there’s demand for portable gadgets that can do Web surfing, games, etc. — which will gradually replace the MP3 player market. But beyond open-source fanaticism or Android programming, we still haven’t seen any compelling reasons to buy a Google device instead of Apple.
One potential attraction: Bigger devices that are better for surfing the Web, watching movies, and reading e-books. We expect to see some of these running Android — and we expect Apple to announce one too, which we’re calling the iPod touch HD.