I had to go to a few Office Depots and Staples today because I needed to print out a few post sized prints, four feet by seven feet. Each store had almost different printers. While there, I had a chance to look at the tablets that each are selling.
Let me just stick with Staples. I saw posters for the Xoom and Playbook. So I got distracted and decided to find the tablets first. I had never seen a Playbook before and I was looking forward to it. Well, I saw it after having to walk through half the store to find it. It was virtually like that in most stores. And worse than that, no tablets were working!
Three of the Staples stores had both models. But in two of the three stores, neither the Xoom or Playbook could be turned on. I glanced around for help but there was no one interested in helping me. Typically, at an Apple store, you get one or more of the retail people ask if you need any more within thirty seconds of being in the store. Then at the 3rd Staples store, the Xoom was on but had apparently suffered some kind of kernel problem or something because it was frozen. No buttons work. The Playbook turned on and then decided to turn itself off.
Now, I know that there are a lot of complaints about lack of native Honeycomb apps for Android tablets. The Playbook suffered similar complaints but more. However, if Google and its camp is going to trying to sell tablets and compete with the iPad in these kind of retail environment, they can forget about it. The same goes for the Playbook. I have no doubt that RIM had seen initial success with the Playbook sales but it is hard to see a sustained effort.
Apple needs competition and the presence of Android tablets and Playbooks, soon to be joined by HP's Web OS Touchpad, might be enough to make every major tablet platform innovate but if Apple's competitors want to take sales away from the iPad, they're gonna need to do a better job of it. Don't be surprise if someone decides to open up an Android store to compete and better compliment Android sales effort.