Michael Dell is bullish on Android tablets [registration required]. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published today, the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Dell Inc. predicted Android tablets would one day overtake Apple’s iPad as the leading platform in the tablet market. Dell cited Android’s success in the smartphone market to support his theory.
“If you look at 18 months ago, Android phones were like, ‘What is that?’ And now there are more Android phones than iPhones,” Dell said. “I don’t see any reason why the same won’t occur with Android tablets.”
At the moment, Android faces the Herculean task of catching up to the device that defined a new class of consumer electronic. Unlike the iPhone, which entered an already healthy mobile phone marketplace with well-established rivals, the iPad set the benchmark for tablet computing. A recent report from IDC suggests the iPad represents 83% of the rapidly growing tablet market. IDC expects Apple to continue its dominance by winning up to 80% of tablet sales in 2011.
The iPad’s most well-reviewed rival, the Motorola Xoom, has done little to sink Apple’s staggering dominance despite its flashy marketing campaign and tablet-specific flavor of Android. One estimate from Deutsche Bank suggests Motorola has sold only 100,000 units of its flagship tablet. Similarly, Samsung has been disappointed with sales of its Galaxy Tab and its sales of about 2 million units.
Dell, of course, offers its own family of tablets called the Streak. The five and seven-inch tablets, powered by Android, were met with generally negative reviews and are widely considered flops. Dell is expected to release its 10-inch Streak Pro, in both Windows and Android varieties, later this year. Although Dell claims to be doubling down on Android, the CEO, who also expressed being surprised by the sudden rise of the iPad, may also be hedging his bets by releasing tablets on two competing software platforms.