What Tablet War?

by Gaurav Kheterpal on July 14, 2011

2010 was hailed as the “Year of the Tablet“. The iPad came, saw and conquered in 2010, establishing the tablet as a commercially viable market segment. For months, it was believed that 2011 would not deviate from this tradition. Deloitte said that cellphone and tablet sales are expected to outnumber computer sales this year.

However, the so-called ‘iPad Killer’ never arrived. RIM’s PlayBook was a massive failure of expectations. Motorola Xoom was severely hampered by a high price and thick design. And while HP was confident that the TouchPad will trounce the iPad, it seems to be a no-contest for now.

Though the general feeling is that since tablets are everywhere, everyone will be buying tablets. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case as per a recent IDC report which indicates that tablet shipment in the first quarter tumbled 28 percent from the previous quarter. Looking forward, however, IDC raised its shipment forecast for 2011 to 53.5 million units from a previous projection of 50.4 million units.

While I’ll refrain from calling it the ‘Tablet Bubble Burst’, I’d certainly like to question ‘What Tablet War’ have we been talking about?

Despite the overall downward trend, IDC expects tablet sales in Asia to skyrocket to 21 million this year, up from just two million sold last year. The consulting firm expects tablet sales growth to be driven primarily by sales of the Apple iPad 2. Several technology experts have predicted that Apple is heading for a tablet monopoly, a situation similar to what Microsoft enjoyed with ‘Windows’ in the PC segment.

There are several theories as to why tablet sales have been sluggish this year. The iPad 2 was expected to be launched in April so most buyers weren’t in a mood to shop tablets between January and March. Since the tablet segment is dominated by the iPad, any fluctuations in iPad sales have a telling effect on the overall market. And that’s precisely what happened in Q1 2011. Another theory indicates that Q1 is always the slowest quarter and Q4 always the highest, so there’s no point comparing these figures.

So, let’s look at the iPad rivals in the ‘tablet war’. While Android is a runaway success in the smartphone segment, most Android smartphone owners are purchasing Apple’s iOS based iPad instead of going for Android powered tablet devices like the Galaxy Tab. Although vendors such as Samsung and Motorola, have found moderate success with Android tablets via distribution through telco carriers, a large number of consumers were unwilling to sign up for the costly data plans adopted by the carriers. I personally believe that most Android OEMs faltered by trying to build an ‘iPad clone’ rather than an iPad competitor.

On the other hand, the RIM PlayBook opened to decent reviews. However, RIM’s declining fortunes were further exaggerated by a recall of 1,000 PlayBooks due to a “faulty operating system.” And that’s when the PlayBook fairytale ended for good.

HP TouchPad is the latest tablet to challenge the supremacy of Apple’s iPad. With all due respect to Android tablet manufacturers & RIM, they are no match for HP’s strong marketing and sales background. While the TouchPad isn’t an iPad Killer, the overall verdict is that this tablet has ‘potential’. Having used the TouchPad, I certainly agree with that. The webOS platform provides a beautiful user experience and the TouchPad takes a refreshingly different approach in several areas such as wireless charging, multitasking and third-party integration through Synergy services.

HP is expected to provide a big marketing push for the TouchPad, starting July 17th. The PC giant is preparing to go all out to promote the TouchPad in the business segment. While it won’t change the world, it raises hopes that a tablet other than iPad can succeed.

What do you think of the ‘tablet war’? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment.

Did you like this post? TheTelecomBlog.com publishes daily news, editorial, thoughts, and controversial opinion – you can subscribe by: RSS (click here), or email (click here).

Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

{ 1 trackback }

Amazon Tablet: Yet Another iPad Killer? — TheTelecomBlog.com
August 16, 2012 at 7:49 am

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: