Despite the media hype surrounding the Apple iPad and newer Android tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab there are in fact more than 60 distinct media tablet models available from nearly 50 different manufacturers already available in at least one country or region.

“Many of these media tablets do not bear household brand names like Apple or Samsung,” says ABI Research industry analyst Celia Bo.

“China is definitely a market leader, but it is a ‘white box’ market in which brand is relatively unimportant, prices are relatively affordable (though still higher than those of netbooks), and devices are aimed at domestic consumers.”

Principal analyst Jeff Orr adds, “While these are not (yet) global brands, the very presence of such a thriving white box market in Asia is a good indicator of a growing market that is expected to see robust adoption rates in years to come.”

White box Android tablets

Most of these tablets feature 7-inch displays, and run on the Android operating system.

The majority of media tablets released commercially in 2010 use application processors from Freescale Semiconductor and are Wi-Fi enabled.

Because many of these tablets run the Android OS, they also have access to Android Market for OS-specific applications, as well as to vendor-proprietary or regional online stores that are offering content in local languages. Mobile operators are also adding their own storefronts.

ABI Research practice director Kevin Burden concludes, “Most of these products started shipping in the last 75 days. They are still building their market presence.

“The products released so far do not show any great degree of technological innovation, but we expect to see a new set of vendors in the first quarter of 2011, offering devices with more ambitious capabilities.”

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