iPad threatened by young pretenders
New wave of vendors to take on Apple where others failed
High prices and a lack of content are stymieing growth of iPad wannabes in Europe but Chinese and Taiwanese vendors could mount a stiffer challenge, according to a report by tech research company Forrester.
Pretenders to Apple's fondleslab crown are off the mark, the analyst says. However even the US titan is vulnerable to attack due to the comparative dearth of branded stores: 30 in the UK but just 22 across the rest of Europe.
Forrester said 44 per cent of the first gen of tablet buyers were higher wage earners, but all of the near 14,000 people it surveyed said exorbitant prices as the "biggest barrier holding back broader European tablet adoption".
"The price of the device is high enough - on top of that, the monthly charge for 3G service puts broadband-enabled tablets out of range of a mainstream audience," said analyst Sarah Rotman Epps.
Prices are holding strong due to tight component availability following the disaster in Japan and the absence of an Amazon-style player willing to sell hardware at a loss to make money on content.
All of this could pave the way for original design manufacturers (ODMs) in the Far East to launch a broadside against Apple more effectively than HP, Acer, Asus, RIM, Samsung, Toshiba or Motorola have managed to date.
"Manufacturers from Taiwan or China that don't have recognised consumer brands today will disrupt the European tablet market with low-cost but high-quality products," said Rotman Epps.
"OEMs that were former ODMs, such as Asus, have quickly gained market share for PCs and phones and new competitors are sure to go after the tablet market next," she added.
Price is the lowest common denominator, but content including eBooks and biz apps - Euro bods are more likely to use fondleslabs for work than Yanks - would help tier one brands carve out a piece of the market.
But they won't be able to do it without investing in the same way Apple has in the US and UK, with its store strategy showcasing machines that have web connections and show off the apps.
In other words, competitors need to build decent concessions in large retailers and staff them with their own people rather than relying on the spotty kids that work in them already.®
I believe if you compare bang for buck, the ipad2 is pretty competetive with competing top-end models, only with the advantage that it is a) by apple (and therefore must be amazing) b) appears to be a premium product, because it is by apple. Competetors, like the Xoom, can't compete on price and features at the same time.
And besides, people don't want tablets. They want ipads.
pitiful in-store marketing
I recently went looking for a tablet, and PC World (I know, I know) had several fondle-able slabs running various versions of Android at various price points (including some high end - Transformer, Galaxy Tab), and over in the Apple section, some iPads.
The iPads were loaded up with pictures, books, games, videos, music, were connected to the interwebs. You could play with them, find out how they performed.
The not-iPads were... well, one had found a WiFi point, so surfing was possible (to find the specs on another tablet which couldn't connect). Another had its photo library full of shots of punters' (thankfully fully covered) midriffs, thanks to its face-facing camera. Those that had Aldiko (or an alternative) were bereft of books.
It was frankly, pitiful. No wonder they aren't selling tablets when it's incredibly punter-hostile to even find out how well a particular tablet works.
A lack of content?
WTF? They have the whole Interwibble for content FFS.
Apple aren't threatened....
At least not while they have the entire media world promoting them at every available opportunity with thousands of column miles of free advertising.
Perhaps the thing thats needed is for the others to concentrate on sorting out their marketting strategies. Nokia still make better phones than the iPhone, were able to download apps 15 years before iPhone came along, yet they have no idea about marketting at all, the BBC then claims iPhone is the first that can download apps (ignoring the truth and just printing Apples press statement) and before you know where you are every tech-unsavvy person in the entire world is rushing out to buy the bling that the media advertised for free.
Nokia end up so far down the tubes and panicinglike a headless chicken that they employ a microsoft employee to sink the most successful mobile OS and pick one of the least successful ones as the clear route forward.....
Frankly its a mess. The pad type market is equally sewn up by the marketting spin, no need for content, good device or anything, if the spin is right the sheep will bite.
Well only one of those
Define more "functional"? What functions do people want they dont have on an iPad, other than us geeks?
Build quality and apps are definitely no things you want to suggest Asus/Android is better on....