Android tablet vendors are fighting among themselves, not Apple
Rarely does a week go when we don’t report about a new Android tablet being launched and it is a bloodbath out there when it comes to prices. Be it Motorola slashing prices of its XOOM to match that of Samsung’s latest Galaxy Tab 750 to the slew of cheap Android tablets from brands like iBall, Beetel and others, which has sparked a new price war that will only bring down prices further. However, Apple’s iPad 2 still commands the same price as when it was launched earlier this year and it still sells. Hit the break to continue reading…
With similar user interface (UI), the same apps from the same Android Market and similar hardware, there is very little that Android tablet vendors can do but fight on price or their marketing muscle. All of them are offering the same stuff, which is packaged differently. But they all have the same thing to market – Google suite of apps, Android Market, Adobe Flash…
In other words, when Motorola slashes the price of the XOOM, it does not make it more attractive to buy than an iPad. Rather it is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 that it is targeting. During my conversations with many product managers at these companies, it has become clear that they know what market they are aiming. The common thought that I hear goes something like this: “People who want an iPad will buy an iPad irrespective of the price of our tablet. We are targeting the rest of the market.” And the ‘rest of the market’ at the moment is just Android tablets.
While it does not really matter in the low-end segment, what handset vendors like HTC, Motorola and Samsung really need to look at is developing something on top of Android with not just a different UI but a completely different content and entertainment proposition. In order to differentiate themselves they need to come up with a competing use case as to why a consumer should pick their tablet not just over the iPad but over other similarly specced Android tablets.
And this is where the upcoming Kindle Tablet is likely to score big. Amazon has a compelling content repository that comprises books, magazines, newspapers, music and movies. It has an Android app store too. It does not have to rely heavily on Google’s software updates to give new features to its hardware. In short, the Kindle Tablet could easily be the first ‘Android’ tablet to take on the iPad.
I believe the day is not far when someone like an HTC would tie-up exclusively with GetJar to replace the default Android Market, strip Android OS and create a completely customized UI and serve its online movies and games on a tablet with a 10-inch display. This could very well be the first truly entertainment centric tablet. And that’s what high-end Android tablets will be all about – targeting a niche audience and providing a custom user experience.