And why do other vendors think they can compete with the iPad if they can't compete with the iPod Touch? The iPad after all, is partly so successful simply due to the fact that "it's a big iPod Touch."
This is unlikely, because:
(1) Phones are more expensive. ($400-$800 vs $200-$400)
(2) Carriers help market the phone.
(3) Carriers handle telephone support.
It would seem that the only company with an incentive to manufacture a viable iPod Touch competitor is Google. But they don't have any manufacturing capabilities.
Of the three points, I suspect (1) is most important, which is why you're seeing iPad competitors but no iPod Touch competitors.
So here's the underlying question: Why is it that no Android handset or Blackberry is made available without the cellular equipment ? What's special about the iPhone/Touch that it can hack it as a lifestyle gadget?
(P.S. Samsung Galaxy Tab doesn't count. It's not even close to the same form factor as the Galaxy S.)
Disagree. From my personal view, I have an iPod Touch and love it, but I'm really not a fan of the iPhone (I have a blackberry, and if I were to look for a non-blackberry, iPhone wouldn't be near the top of my list). From a non-personal point of view, iPod Touch was popular long before iPhones existed, so you can't explain its popularity with "it looks like an iPhone".
The call volume is less than the network will get, largely because the average person can manage to pound '333' (or whatever) on their phone but won't find the number for Nokia.
Archos has some touch devices that look pretty sweet, though they aren't exactly a household name.
Cowon has the S9, which seems to have been designed around the same idea as the iPod touch, but they're even lesser known than Archos.
Creative probably has something too. I think it mostly comes down to the fact that Apple has ridiculous name recognition when it comes to mp3 players. Most of the players I mentioned are better featured and more "open" than an iPod touch, which sounds great to hackers and tech enthusiasts, but normal people want something that is simple, shiny, and recognizable (trendy). And Apple has their fists clenched tightly around that market.
A big part of the appeal of the iPod Touch is that it runs apps from the App Store. It would be easy to make a media player that does most of what the iPod Touch does, but a real competitor would have a very tough time overcoming the app store barrier to entry. So your only real choice is Android as far as the apps go.
So the question is why haven't there been any Android versions of the iPod Touch? I don't have an answer for this one. It could be that only Apple is in a position to sell a product for the price of a smartphone (up to $400) without the phone part. In that same price range you can buy most Android phones without a contract (the Evo 4G is $449 no contract), so maybe anyone who would have bought an Android version of the iPod Touch just gets a phone.
Also, considering the price of the iPhone ($500-$700 without contract) vs iPod Touch ($230-$400), it could be that Apple sells the iPod Touch at a loss and makes up the difference with App Store sales and iAd revenue. A 3rd party would not be able to do this.
The hardware and UI of the software on the Zune are (IMO) better than the iPod Touch. I enjoy the visuals of the Zune playback. I love scrolling through my artists, albums, etc. on the Zune compared to the iPod. I believe they did get that right.
I also love the Zune Marketplace. For example, I love the song "No Heaven" by Champion. Which lead me to a group called Bane. The first few listens of Bane were good. But I soon grew tired of them. They didn't have the replay value that Champion does (to me. I mean no offense to any fans). In the iTunes model, I would have to buy the music and be stuck with music I don't like. So I think that Microsoft got it right there. I know there are others that do streaming as well Last.fm, GrooveShark, etc. but I think (or least I thought) that Microsoft had the leverage and money to get a comprehensive streaming library the size of iTunes and/or Amazon MP3. And this gets into the areas where I think they failed...
Their marketing didn't exist. The only commercial I remember is some kid that traded a song with a convenience store clerk. And the only reason I remember it is because of the groan that came out of the audience that saw the commercial. I don't recall what Zune called the music sharing, but it was a stupid word. And the commercial forced its use.
And the other big fail - it feels like a hobby to Microsoft. It feels like a product that they don't care if it succeeds or not. If it does, great. If not, whatever. It's hard to get excited about a product that a company isn't even excited about.
I believe it was called "squirting", which was very unfortunate at the time because zunes were a shade of brown. Jokers would ask "What's brown and squirts?"
I think that many divisions at MS pale in comparison (revenue-wise) to the Office (Sharepoint etc) and Windows divisions and thus feel like hobbies to the corporation.
But there are so many more valuable things the iPod Touch can do vs. a Zune, that I can't see how there is any comparison of the two platforms where the iPod Touch doesn't dominate.
Games? Maps? Web? Email? SMS? Photos? Wikipedia? The list goes on and on ... Flight tracking? Unit converter? PDF reader? Word processing? Spreadsheets? Skype?
In a field of music players without the iPod Touch, the Zune is, hands down, the best. But the only devices that come remotely close to the capability of an iPod Touch are iPhones and Android handsets.
That's part of what I think Microsoft didn't get right. I remember one Zune commercial (featuring Mims - This Is Why I'm Hot). There was a whole field of Zunes, and the first one started playing the song, then a few more, then all of them. They didn't make it clear that the first one was sharing the song with the others. I use Windows PCs, have an XBox 360, and up until recently I had a Windows Mobile Phone. Microsoft failed to get me to want a Zune the way Apple fans want an iPod.
Google is rumored to relax these restrictions in the upcoming releases so tablets and other devices can use Android and also be able to license the Android Marketplace at the same time. This is when you will see the Google sanctioned Android be on more devices.
Negatives: poor support for older models and charging extra for codec packs.
Android's app offerings, especially in gaming, aren't nearly as mature. There's also more junk in their store (though obviously the App Store has its share of junk, too).
So absent phone functionality, I'm not sure how exciting a phone-less Android device could be, except for geek noodling and hackery. I'd buy one for that, but I'm hardly the mainstream audience they'd need for success.
Meanwhile, the iPad is very satisfying for web browsing alone. It just feels good to directly interact with a large region of content. The apps are again a big part of its power, but more power comes from its satisfying physical UI. It's an idea worth stealing, but competitors will need to make their OS integration airtight to truly challenge the iPad.
If you want a dedicated music device, an old-fashioned large storage (and nowadays cheap) iPod is more than perfect.
If you want a full-featured device with a large touch-screen and some internet capabilities, no one wants to carry an extra device along with their phone, so they just look for a phone with those features.
I personally just prefer the all-in-one phone, multimedia, and internet touch screen device. I don't want 2-3 decently sized gadgets in my pockets all the time.
But to really, viably, compete with the iPod Touch, you need three things:
1) An as good music experience as iTunes. So far, no one has that.
2) An almost as good App Store. Android market is maybe the closest, but it's still way off.
3) Something else truly magical that iPod Touch doesn't have.
1. Palm's in trouble with just its phone. It seems like they have to figure out their webOS phones first before launching something like this.
2. Google's problem is the same issue they ran into with the Nexus One. Google doesn't do retail. It doesn't like retail. An Android phone can easily be sold by the Carriers. Gladly. An Android media player, however, needs to be sold in retail. And that means offering things like a store, or agreements, and telephone support, returns, etc.
Apple, on the other hand, understands retail and does it well (see Apple Stores and website), as well as already have a killer phone on the market.
There are competitors. They either don't get it, don't have the talent needed to produce what the marketers would like to produce, or some combination of the two.
I wonder why there aren't more competitors, though. I think the main reason is that Android device companies are more focused on getting the phone right.
At last IFA they presented the Samsung Galaxy Play 50 based on Android 2.1: http://www.ibladi.com/2010/09/samsung-unveils-the-galaxy-pla...
...and the speed!!! The A4 processor in the iPad makes the iPhone 4 seem slow, even though they both use A4 chips. Maybe its hard to compete with a great OS + good hardware...
The amount of functionality you get for the price is amazing. The lockdown nature of Apple products is actually a benefit in this sector.
The lack of competition here will mean Apple have a head start on marketing to children starting in elementary school.
Granted, things were getting a bit sluggish in terms of web browsing on this device with the native (Firefox-derived) browser but Opera Mobile 10.1 beta version for Maemo in Turbo mode (using Opera proxies) has given this device new life.
[Hint: sent from my iPod Touch]
That's what I picked up on, but ignored.