Japan Quakes, Buyer Disinterest Delaying New Android Tablets?

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Recently percolating rumors have suggested delayed launch dates for Android tablets from several manufacturers. Acer’s Iconia tablet may not ship until May, Asus’ Eee Pad Transformer’s ship date has apparently slipped, and there’s loose talk that HTC’s Flyer tablet may show up later than expected, though the company has said it’s still on track.

DigiTimes is reporting that not only has “the possible shortage of key components caused by the Japan earthquakes” contributed to the supposedly delayed launches that may affect these new Android tablets, but that “concerns of the prospects of the industry” are to blame as well.

Such “concerns” reportedly stem from lackluster sales of the Motorola Xoom—the first to run Google’s new made-for-tablets Android 3.0 operating system—brought about by “brand image, pricing, insufficient applications and the unstable performance of Android 3.0 as reasons for the doldrums,” according to Taiwanese manufacturers.

By the way: doldrums? Totally underused in tech reporting. Kudos to DigiTimes for working it in. I’ll try to work it in myself more often.

These same manufacturing sources apparently told DigiTimes that this doldrumism has been blamed on Google, saying:

“With Google unable to offer sufficient support to cooperation partners at present, many players have decided to delay the launch of Android 3.0 tablet PCs.”

I’d argue that just about any delayed shipments of new Android tablets almost certainly have to do with component shortages or some other factor, assuming such delays would be a month or so at the most.

These companies have announced and committed to the launch of these tablets, so holding back their availability in the hopes that tablet-specific Android apps explode exponentially in number, component prices fall to levels where retail pricing can be slashed dramatically, and Google gets all of Android 3.0’s kinks worked out AND fixes its doldrumistic “brand image” problems in the span of a month seems like a really odd gamble.

If we begin to see delays of multiple months, though—say an Android tablet that’s slated for the summer gets pushed out until the holiday season, for instance—then Google’s got a doldrumtastic problem on its hands.

The situation right now simply seems like supply shortages may be causing slight delays, which may present tablet makers with the silver lining of a small window of time for additional apps to hit the Android Market and perhaps make way for a few tweaks and updates to the underlying operating system.

More on TIME.com:

Here Come the Cheap Android Tablets

Motorola Xoom’s “Flop” is No Surprise

How to Sell a Tablet: Apps and Price First, Tech Specs Second