Cheaper tablets to take on the iPad 2

4/5/2012 8:57:11 AM
Cheaper tablets to take on the iPad 2

 Description: the Galaxy Tab 10.1

Mikaei Ricknas ponders whether Amazone can succeed where Motorola, Blackberry and Samsung failed before it.

While the iPad continues to be a big success, the tablet market offers a harsher climate to other vendors. It’s thought that pricing strategies could be an important factor in their difficulties.

Apple sold 11 million iPads during the third quarter of 2011: while Samsung has been its most successful challenger selling 1.6 million Galaxy Tabs in the same period, its sales figures pale by comparison, other manufacturers have faced a tougher struggle: Motorola sold only 100,000 Xooms, and Blackberry just 200.000 PlayBooks.

Both and Motorola Xoom use the same pricing strategy as Apple for its iPad 2, starting at $638.4 for a 16gb Wi-Fi-only model, the playbook now sells for around $398.4, but with a smaller 7in screen, so it’ll be interesting to see what impact Amazone will have on the market, when its kindle fire goes onsale in the us for $199.

The kindle fire is predicted to outsell all other challengers, and prove the point that price is critical to compete with Apple. Amazone has seen such pre-order demand for its kindle fire that it decided to ramp up production. The company is ‘increasing capacity and building millions more than we’d already planned’, said CEO Jeff Bezos.

The fire does most things existing tablets do, letting you watch movies and TV shows, listen to music, read magazines and books, and more. It has a high-quality IPS touchscreen, a fast dual-core processor and a slick design. Besides a smaller display at 7in, half the storage capacity at 8GB, and a lack of productivity tools such as email, the main difference is in its price.

Does price matter?

“High-price tablets are simply not going to sell in meaningful volumes for the foreseeable future,’ said Richard Windsor, global technology marketing analyst at Nomura international.

Neil Mawston, director at market research company strategy analytics, agrees: “Pricing is critical for tablets. Apple can charge a premium, but very few others can,” he said.

Amazone slashing its price to the bare minimum has driven growth, whereas Motorola, HTC and other manufacturers have tried to maximise pricing and that has backfired, added Mawston.

Rock-bottom clearance prices as HP discontinued its TouchPad - it was available for just $142.4 - helped demonstrate that pricing is a critical factor, according to research firm Canalys. HP slipped 560,000 units.

But other analysts believe tablet vendors need to look at more than just their pricing strategies. Robert Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner, points to the weak user interface of the android honeycomb tablet OS as part of the problem. Amazone, meanwhile, has added its own user interface to android.

Media applications and content are also important factors, said Cozza. “The user experience on android simply isn’t as good as it is on the iPad, and you don’t have all the applications and access to the content Apple offers,” he said.

The way people view the tablet market also puts many vendors at a disadvantage, according o a survey of 4,500 tablet owners conducted by research firm CCS insight.

Almost half see the tablet as a new product category, where branding is important. Apple is now viewed as the ‘safe’ brand, according to CCS insight mobile analyst martin garner, furthermore, almost one third consider the tablet to be part of their computing setup, and that’s bad news for phone vendors such as HTC and RIM.

To turn things around, the android camp has a lot of work to do. “It needs pretty hardware designs; more developers to develop tablet-optimised applications, services and websites; and Google to develop a more tablet-optimised browser and operating system, which it has done with android 4.0.’ said Mawston.

Android also needs more attractive pricing, a better messaging platform, an improved application store end a stronger focus on the consumer, Mawston added.

Despite current challenges, most vendors are likely to stick it out, if vendors get tablets right, they will play a big role in the future of computing. Garner expects more “proper competitors’ to the iPad to arrive in 2012, and he’s not alone.

“In 2012, we can expect established vendors to launch lower-cost tablets. If there’s a significant price gap to the iPad, then there may be some users who just want a good browsing experience. But they will still need strong content and services” said Cozza.

Next year will also see the launch of windows 8, which will be used on both PCs and tablets. The OS will turn the tablet market into a three-horse race between Apple, Google and Microsoft.

Top 10
Nikon 1 J2 With Stylish Design And Dependable Image And Video Quality
Canon Powershot D20 - Super-Durable Waterproof Camera
Fujifilm Finepix F800EXR – Another Excellent EXR
Sony NEX-6 – The Best Compact Camera
Teufel Cubycon 2 – An Excellent All-In-One For Films
Dell S2740L - A Beautifully Crafted 27-inch IPS Monitor
Philips 55PFL6007T With Fantastic Picture Quality
Philips Gioco 278G4 – An Excellent 27-inch Screen
Sony VPL-HW50ES – Sony’s Best Home Cinema Projector
Windows Vista : Installing and Running Applications - Launching Applications
Most View
Windows Phone 7 Development : Building a Trial Application (part 3) - Verifying Trial and Full Mode & Adding Finishing Touches
Leverage and Locate Controls and Classes on Silverlight 4
Sony Xperia Go
Pure Sensia 200D - Nice Wireless Speaker
IIS 7.0 : Troubleshooting - Using Tools and Utilities
Programming .NET Components : Building a Distributed Application (part 1) - Programmatic Channel Registration
10 best products of the past 200 issues (part 1)
Samsung Galaxy SIII : Live up to the hype (Part 3)
Corsair SSD Accelerator 45GB - Boost Your System's Performance
Asus GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II Top (Part 1)
Outlining Improvements in SharePoint 2010
Exploiting SQL Injection : Enumerating the Database Schema (part 2) - MySQL
Cheap As Chips: Six Of The Best Budget CPUs (Part 1) : AMD A8-5600K, AMD A10-5700
100 Ways To Speed Up Windows (Part 4)
Discover Services During Runtime (WCF)
Corsair Vengeance M90 - Play With A Vengeance
Play It Smart (Part 1) - A.C. Ryan Playon! HD2
Fujifilm Released The First Version Of CSC
Programming the Mobile Web : Widgets and Offline Webapps - Platforms (part 3) - webOS & Android
PhotoPlus X6 - Great-Value Photo Editing Software