Samsung Electronics (SSNHY) provided the missing piece to its tablet computer puzzle on Friday, announcing the soon-to-be-released device will run on Google's (GOOG) Android operating system, according to a Reuters report. Last month, a Samsung executive confirmed the electronics giant would start selling a tablet computer named Galaxy Tab in the third quarter, but failed to say what operating system it would use.
Although prior reports surfaced that Samsung's tablet computer would use Android, Friday's announcement marks the first confirmation by the company. Samsung's choice to use Android on its tablets makes sense, given that its Galaxy smartphones, which debuted in April, also run Android. Likewise, Lenovo (LNVGY) last month announced plans to offer Android on its LePad tablet computer, in part because it wanted to maintain compatibility with its Android-based LePhone smartphone.
As a growing number of traditional computer-makers follow Apple's (AAPL) lead and jump into the smartphone business -- among them Lenovo, Acer, with its Stream smartphone, and Dell, with its Mini 3i -- it appears that it will be Android that ties their tablet and phone offerings together.
Approaching the tablet market from the other direction, traditional smartphone companies like HTC are diving into the tablet business, and they too are sticking with Android as a unifying platform. Motorola is considering developing an Android-based tablet, while archrival Nokia (NOK) has been out there for two years with such devices as its N810.
With smartphone makers creating tablet computers and computer makers selling smartphones, the frantic jockeying for market share in the consumer electronics sector is becoming reminiscent of the telecom industry's battle with cable operators for the consumer communications business. Maybe it's time for a quadruple convergence.
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