I just don't think unsubsidized Android or other tablets can compete with iPads

Discussion in 'iPad' started by aneftp, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. aneftp macrumors 601

    Jul 28, 2007
    There's an article over at BGR saying many regular Android phone manufacturers may scale back on Android tablets. The exception being Samsung.

    I really think the iPad will control the market share similar to the iPod market share. Although it maybe a 50-60% share for the iPad as opposed to the greater than 70% ipod market share Apple enjoyed.

    Android's phone growth (and I've owned multiple Android phones, including the original G1 and currently a Motorola Atrix...so I am always an early adapter). But I think Android's growth in the phone market was obviously due to massive price cutting/subsidizes that comes from cell phone contracts.

    But the tablet market is a different animal. Consumers don't want a "subsidized" tablet because most don't want to pay extra for another monthly data.

    So Android tablets manufacturers now have to compete on full retail price with Apple's iPad. And that's an uphill battle.

    Considering the price points are very similar, it's obvious that Android manufactures can't afford to under cut the iPad by very much or else they risk selling products at a loss. And many companies can't afford to sell at a loss for very long.

    The cell phone carriers aren't helping out Android tablet makers because they aren't going to risk subsidizing tablets because the consumer market just isn't there. If you look at many subsidized tablet contracts...at most cell phone companies are subsidizing $200 off the price of a tablet in exchange for a mandatory 24 month data plan. Consumers just don't want that. Cell phone carriers aren't subsidizing $300-400 dollars like they are with other smartphone.

    What does everyone think?
  2. OptyCT macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2008
    What you asserted is certainly true for the near-term. However, I expect the long-term to take a path similar to that of the smartphone market. Android-based tablets will flood the market and commoditize pricing. At that point, manufacturers of Android-based tablets will be able to undercut the iPad on price. When that will happen is anyone's guess.
  3. poloponies Suspended

    May 3, 2010
    Apple got out of the gate first on a market that didn't exist 16 months ago. The market will change in the coming years as tablets become more notebook-like. Apple should keep sales at current levels but the market will likely grow around them. I vote closer to smartphone % than iPod.
  4. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    I still think the iPad is a very expensive piece of equipment.

    When you see what else you can buy in computing terms with the same money.
    You have a MASSIVE selection of full laptops, way way higher specced than the iPad for this amount of money.

    The problem I feel is simply finalising the hardware design and OS, and mass production techniques.

    There's no reason why a Tablet should cost as much as a laptop, given the tiny amount of parts in a tablet. Tablets SHOULD cost less.
  5. NebulaClash macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    You're right, the tablet market is not going to be like the smart phone market. Android exploded in growth not because of consumer-side demand but because of producer-side adoption. All those manufacturers who were also-rans using Symbian or WinMobile or whatever suddenly switched to Android. All those little pie slices suddenly became one big Android pie slice. Seeing this growth, Android folks rejoiced and thought it meant everybody wanted an Android phone.

    No, people wanted a smart phone, and they took whatever was available. It used to be Symbian or whatever, now suddenly they were being handed an Android phone. Add in BOGO offers, and suddenly you have "growth."

    Tablets are not sold this way. There is no way for competitors to successfully flood the market and thus drive pricing down. I mean, they can try to flood the market, but we saw this year what happens when they try: people don't buy them in quantity. That's why we are seeing Acer and RIM cutting back estimates on tablet sales. They tried to flood the market, and the market said, "Give me an iPad, please."

    Tablets are not a necessity the way a phone is. Nobody walks into a store and says, "I need a tablet" and gets handed some knockoff that satisfies him. That's how the phone market works, not the tablet market.
  6. eastercat macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Personally I believe that android/RIM tablets will have to offer a different experience, in addition to meeting/undercutting apple's price without subsidies.
    Apple has the market cornered on the simplicity of their tablet. Unfortunately, I doubt that android will be able to compete, since apple's had years of practice in this arena. In a sense, android will have to compete for people who want to buy a cheap netbook.
    It's possible that in the future, most people will tire of wanting something simple and will require more features from their tablet. But until that day happens, apple will still top sales in tablets.
  7. Ashin macrumors 6502a


    Jun 19, 2010
    Why are Android tablets so expensive? Makes no sense to me.

    Who in their right mind would buy an iPad rip off when they can get a real iPad cheaper?
  8. Keleko macrumors 68000

    Mar 26, 2008
    The other piece of the equation is the software. The Android tablet app market is far inferior to the iPad app market. Until developers start making lots of useful apps there won't be much reason to get an Android tablet. And, until there are lots of Android tablets, there won't be many apps.

    And that isn't the only problem. The Android tablets all have different aspect ratios and screen sizes, so it is more difficult to make apps for them. On top of that Honeycomb is still pretty new, and any version before that isn't really useful to develop on as a tablet app device. Eventually there will be more apps for Android tablets, but I expect the growth to be slower than it has been for the iPad and for the Android smartphone market.
  9. Ashin macrumors 6502a


    Jun 19, 2010

    I think by then we will see a coming together of iOS and OSX, forming an OS that can be far more advanced depending on form factor
  10. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    I know it's hard to believe, but there do exist people who don't wish to buy into the whole world of Apple.

    Perhaps the same people who would spend $1500 on a PC, when they could of bought an iMac instead.

    Or buy a Samsung Galaxy S2 phone not wanting an iPhone.

    Not everyone wants to be part of it.
  11. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    It would help Apple if they could get stock into stores.
    It's entirely possible that people could see adverts for Tablets, and go to their nearest general computer store, asking for a tablet, and what's this iPad we've heard about.
    Only to be told, sorry we don't have any of those, but you can be put on a waiting list. However we do have a large range of other tablets, which all do the same thing, email, web, photo's, movies, buy apps and games.

    So they could walk out with one of those instead rather than go home disappointed and empty handed.
  12. poloponies Suspended

    May 3, 2010
    Well, actually there is. The parts simply cost more. In the tablet game every gram counts, so shaving weight means using more expensive components. Given time you'll see low-end tablets but for the time being the pricing is pretty impressive given the cost of components.
  13. NebulaClash macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    It's possible someone could get handed something else when they go in for an iPad, but I'll bet it's not common the way it is with phones. As you say, these things are expensive, so you tend to get what you want or else you walk out. That's what we are seeing so far with bad sales of iPad competititors, and Apple selling 'em as fast as they can make 'em.

    But yes, we are all aware there are people who do not wish to buy Apple, for we get reminded of that fact all the time on this Apple-focused web site. Frankly, I'm sick of hearing it. I accept that people use emotion to make purchase decisions, and Microsoft's years-long campaign to make Apple look evil has fooled some folks into taking what they think is a principled stand against Apple. And some folks are genuinely interested in only buying open source products, a stance I support and respect (unlike the "Apple is teh evil" crowd). So sure, there will always be a market for tablets that aren't iPads, even when the iPad would have been the best choice for that person.

    So far the market agrees that iPads are the tablet to buy. Something that is mystifying to Acer's CEO who thinks his company's inability to sell tablets is because of economic conditions (which strangely are not affecting Apple).
  14. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    Yet, you must not forget one important thing:

    Apple are aiming directly for the mass market of people, non computing people, non "techie" people who don't often have a clue about who makes what, or what brand does what.

    Sure, to us it's obvious and we know who Steve Jobs is and who bill Gates is, but many won't. Sure they may have heard the name, they may have seen adverts in papers for tablets, and seen the work iPad, but they will easily be led onto other products that seem to be the same.
    Heck, there will be many who think Apple make Android tablets, and all tablets get programs from the same app store.

    Being an American firm, I do get the feeling that Apple is much more common than it is in other countries. In the UK for example, you have to almost hunt to find any Apple products amongst the vast array and choice of PC's in the high street stores.
  15. megsandbytes macrumors member

    May 1, 2011
    There's no denying that the iPad was the first real touch screen tablet. No matter what other tablets follow this will always be an advantage for Apple. After all, they started the trend while others only continue to follow in hopes of getting a piece of the pie. I'm not saying that other Android/Honeycomb tablets are no good in comparison, but they will never be considered as genuine trend starters. Apple completely changed the market, raised the bar and set new standards.

    Even with Android tablets in some cases having better specs and being cheaper, they are still iPad knock-offs whether they are using different hardware and a different OS or not. Apple is the most valuable company in tech and for good reason, they are innovators and leaders, not followers. Even in a few years if by some unexpected shift in the universe another tablet surpasses the iPad for total market share the iPad will always go down in history as one of the most innovative products to ever hit the market.

    Massive companies like Google are trying too hard to duplicate Apple's success. In reality they should be thinking of an entirely new and revolutionary gadget if they ever want to come even close to sharing similar success as Apple. Another good point is that Google is creating a tablet OS while other companies use it, when Apple does both, Apple creates their own OS and also their own tablets. Just another example that nobody, at least not yet, is in any position to even come close to competing with the iPad.
  16. NebulaClash macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    That is all true. Perhaps the iPad, and the Post-PC era it is helping to usher in, will make the Apple brand more visible outside of the USA.

    I still wonder at the person who knows little about technology and walks into the store willing to spend $500 (or however many British pounds it costs in the UK) and walks out with something else. I suppose that is what salesfolks do, but it seems strange to me that people would spend that much without knowing what they are getting. They do for televisions, but then one television is much like another and it is a very well-known niche. Tablets? New stuff, and more caution from the general public.

    I think we are still in the early adopter stage of the iPad. We are getting some bleed through to the general public as the early adopters evangelize their friends and family, but it's early stages yet.
  17. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    I know what you are saying and the iPad will go down in history as the 1st model that really kicked the tablet sales off big time, but let's be fair, Tablets have been on the cards since they 1st appeared with Captain Kirk in Star Trek.

    It's only very recently that they have been technically possible for anyone to make.
    We needed good batteries, thin screens, high power low drain chipsets, solid state storage all being invented, and coming down to realistic price points before anyone, including Apple could make one.

    It just really could not have been made before, unless you wanted it to weigh 20 pounds, last for 30 mins and cost $2000

    The tablet format was inevitable and if Apple had not done it, it would of happened some other way, simply because it's now possible.

    When, who, and how of course we don't know.
  18. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    It really depends on the subsidized discount and how much the data plan is. I'm already pre-paying for data on my iPad2 and will continue to do so; I have no problem signing a contract, assuming its a good deal.
  19. Carouser macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2010
    So what if anybody could have done it? Apple were the ones who actually did it, and it wasn't just because they were lucky and won the tablet lottery. There are good reasons why they made a tablet and why the iPad has been successful and others haven't.

    To say 'tablets are inevitable because technology has reached a critical mass' neglects all the tablets which preceded the iPad and which could have made use of the same technology; it ignores software design and infrastructure; the leveraging of capital and talent, etc. I'd rather a good explanation that accounts for why the iPad and its particular design have been successful instead of one that says 'the tablet format was inevitable because tablets in general became technologically possible'.
  20. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    Personally, I believe that the tablet market (from Apple's perspective) will be more like the iPod market than the iPhone market. There are 3 big factors that lead me to believe this.

    1. Price. Without carrier subsidies masking the true price of the device, all manufacturers are forced to play on the same field. Apple currently enjoys huge economies of scale that allows them to purchase key components at tremendous savings. With the iPad, they've set the price such that they can enjoy large margins, while competitors struggle with their margins.

    2. Distribution. Apple's retail stores give consumers a way to interact with iPads in a way that the competitors devices can't. Take a look at the 3 main iPad competitors; Samsung Tab, Playbook, and Xoom. Where can you buy these tablets ... Best Buy, Staples, etc. They're all sitting next to each other on a horrible display stand, with a tether that doesn't quite work, and a locking mechanism that doesn't really allow you to play with the device.

    Plus, there's usually only one of each on display.

    3. Consumer awareness. Right now, if you show a regular person a picture of a generic tablet, he'll call that an iPad. If you show that guy a generic picture of an mp3 player, he'll call it an iPod. If you show that guy a generic smartphone, I think his answer would be split between iPhone, Blackberry, Droid, and smartphone. Regular people don't know about other tablets or mp3 players other than Apple's devices.

  21. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    The iPad, and by extension other Tablets, is successful because they did the iPhone first. Without consumers understanding how good something like this is, the iPad would not have been accepted like it was.
  22. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    Oh, I'm not saying someone else would of made the iPad, only that given all the tech coming together finally that made the construction of a "Star Trek" style computer possible, it was only a matter of time.

    We would probably had years of people trying out different ideas, Apple was the one to bring it together into a focussed product, which is what was needed to establish the form factor.

    I don't think however we'd have gone another 10, 20+ years without the tablet form factor taking off in some direction by some company.
  23. JP89Hornet macrumors regular


    Jul 23, 2006
    My high school had the Toshiba tablet computers, I mean apple just re-invented that.

    I think the OS is the biggest difference though. They created a bridge between mobile computing and desktop which laptops cannot do. The only thing I could see harming apple is the new windows operating system designed for a tablet.
  24. NebulaClash macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    iOS is the reason. Up until the iPad, tablets had spent a decade trying to succeed via a desktop OS modified for the tablet and using a stylus. Had some specialized success, but no mainstream success.

    iPad came out and was running an OS that was specifically meant for touch use on a tablet. People got it, people loved it, the iPad was an instant success.

    Apple changed the I/O approach to one that felt personal to people, not yet another method of input that put an object (mouse, keyboard, stylus) between you and your data. It was direct and it pulled you in. It finally felt like a computer "for the rest of us."

    Before the iPad came out, people laughed and said it wouldn't sell. After the iPad came out, they scrambled to copy it. That's what happens when you change the equation and think outside the box. People don't get it until it's hit over their heads. Then they copy it.
  25. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    Agreed, as I say, the hardware was done. Took the entire lifetime of the universe up until this very moment for Tablets to be able to be built my humans :)

    They just needed the right OS. That's the killer.

    Windows does have a HUGE advantage, it remains to be seen if they can take advantage of it.

    They have the whole Zune side of things for the music playback, they have the whole XBox Live side for the gaming and interaction between it and the 360 console. They have the Windows Mobile new phone side for the communications and of course, the whole business/office side of things so people could have some compatibility between their Msoft office and their Msoft tablet.

    Plus of course they have a MASSIVE userbase of PC owners that totally dwarfs Apple.

    So, all the pieces of the jigsaw are there. They toppled Sony's Playstation, as they talked to devs and made a machine that devs wanted to work with.

    If they can pull something amazing off, well, we will see. But I would not count them out of the running yet, not by a long chalk.

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