What Apple knows that all the CES tablet peddlers are still missing

“When I wrote about why Android tablets did a faceplant coming out of the starting gate in 2011, the most common reaction was that I had written off Google too quickly,” Jason Hiner writes for TechRepublic. “After all, it wasn’t until Android smartphones were on the market for over a year until they really took off. Just give it more time, for crying out loud. That was the general refrain.”

“But, the problem with Android tablets isn’t a time or maturity issue,” Hiner writes. “It’s that Google and all of its hardware partners are playing the wrong game and they haven’t realized it yet.”

“Samsung, ASUS, Acer, and Toshiba — all spurred on by Google — seem to think that shoving hi-res cameras, USB ports, HDMI connections, quad core processors, keyboard docks, and a handful of dongles at customers will give their tablets a fundamental advantage over Apple and the iPad,” Hiner writes. “Here’s the problem. How many times have you seen someone doing a video call from a tablet? How often have you seen someone hook up a tablet to a 50-inch HDTV and use it to play HD movies and games? How many people do you know who have hooked up a keyboard to their tablet and completely ditched their laptop? I’ve used virtually all of the top tablets on the market over the past two years and I’ve rarely done any of those things with them. I have lots of friends and colleagues with tablets and they almost never talk about doing any of those scenarios.”

“This all boils down to the fact that the technology market is no longer dominated by technology lovers. Google, Samsung, ASUS, Acer, Toshiba, and others like them need to stop acting like the PC clone makers of the 1980s and 90s, and thinking as if they’re building computers for the technically-inclined. The market is a lot bigger than that today and it’s now dominated by people who couldn’t care less about a gigahertz or a megapixel,” Hiner writes, “Android tablets made a bet on making tablets more like traditional PCs and it failed. The sooner they realize that, the better. Android tablet makers need to change strategy and focus on the things that tablets are good at. (And, Microsoft should take note before Windows 8 tablets hit the market later this year, because they’re about to make the same mistake.)”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hiner’s article is all good except where he swallows Amazon’s claim of Kindle Fire success almost to the point of equating it with Apple’s iPad success. That simply isn’t the case and its inclusion in the article runs the risk of undermining the other solid points made within.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “GetMeOnTop ” for the heads up.]

27 Comments

    1. Sometimes you want a Timex®.

      Maybe you don’t want to get mugged in a bad neighborhood. Maybe you are involved in an activity where a watch could get damaged (even if it is waterproof to 5000 meters or whatever). Maybe you don’t want to come off as an ostentatious jerk (see MDN article earlier today comparing the residences of Tim Cook & Larry Ellison).

      You sound just like the car rental companies: “No, we don’t have what you reserved, but we will let you have this bigger car for the same price.”

      1. Dude, even SJ drove a Benz. Quality is worth something don’t you think. It would be different if you paid a bunch for some POS. Rolex, nice watch and will last a lifetime. Don’t knock people for willing to pay a premium for something that is well made or worth the cost. Isn’t that why they are willing to buy Mac’s?

          1. “I would argue that the Benz’s aren’t particularly well made. Overpriced vanity brand. Shiny bauble”.

            You missed the point and it had nothing to do with watches.

  1. Wrong. People care about specs. But they care about apps and ecosystem more. Android tabs have the specs, but the content. But it’s foolish to believe specs are not important. Otherwise no one would be upgrading to the next iPad.

    1. And how many of those buyers have a clue about the specs in either iPad? Mostly, they just know that the new one is faster or can do more or hold more of their digital stuff.

    2. Ah, right you are. Pros want specialized equipment, they do. Lot of kinds of pros… That Rolex, you don’t want to get the bends like you would off a waterproofed Timex seizing up from the chill. And nothing much wrong with the other CES stuff, either ‘cept they won’t interest enough Joe Blows to turn major coin, as they’ll find out from them Marky Marks too late, so they shelve the stuff.

    3. Wrong. Some people care about specs, which was the point of the article. The gear-heads that go ga-ga over the number of megapixels or gigahertz will be happier with products that deliver the most of those, but the rest of us just want to be able to use these devices efficiently. I’m a gear-head and I am happy to shun the tablet with the extra ports and dongles to have an iPad that runs smoothly, is easy to use and has more software available for it.

  2. I don’t understand why everyone raises such issues comparing the iPad and the Fire. They’re aimed two distinctly different markets. Or as rp2011 says, it’s about the ecosystems

    The iPad is a full function tablet computer, capable of running apps to do almost anything imaginable. And yes, it also does media consumption.

    The Fire is primarily a portal for consuming media from Amazon. That they sell it below cost is irrelevant. It’s a gateway to consuming media sold by Amazon. The razor & blades model works for Gillette as well as all the companies making cheap printers that use expensive ink cartridges.

    Using another cheesy car analogy, if you drive a BMW, what do you care that there are Kias on the road?

    1. “If you drive a BMW, what do you care that there are Kias on the road?”

      That’s exactly right! But if you’re selling BMW’s, you want to see more of them on the road, with consumers purchasing your product rather than Kia’s. And if you’re selling BMW’s, you might come up with a smaller, less expensive BMW to attract customers away from Kia.

      Personally, I am both an Apple customer AND a shareholder in Apple — i.e., I’m also on the producer side of the market. I receive a major payoff if people buy iPads rather than alternative products, including Kindle Fire.

      That said, it is true that many customers for Kindle Fire are not likely to purchase iPad 2 or iPad 3. But those purchasing Fires represent a potential market for Apple.

        1. Wow. I was kind of neutral about Kindle Fire until reading the page you posted above.

          The comparisons are beyond lopsided and slanted, they are downright lies!

          For example they suggest that only Apple-supplied content can be enjoyed on an iPad. Poppycock!

          A lot of snake oil here, oozing, slimy and smelling of desperation.

    2. “It’s a gateway to consuming media sold by Amazon.”

      And so is every other tablet, so why buy Amazon’s lame offering?

      You also forget that Amazon has to pay licensing royalties and bandwidth costs for every book, movie, and song they sell. And they sell these things for cheap. Meaning, they make only a small profit on content. Meaning, each Kindle Fire owner has to buy a ridiculous amount of content for Amazon to merely break even on each Kindle Fire they sell.

      On top of that, the Fire is VERY EXPENSIVE compared to other low-priced Android tablets. So it doesn’t even have a price advantage.

      As for your obsession with the “razor and blades”, Apple is wiping the floor with every consumer electronics company that uses the razor and blades business model. Shouldn’t that tell you something?

  3. Android doesn’t have the advantages in the tablet market that it did in the shartphone market. There are no exclusive carrier agreements. There are no (real) carrier subsidies. There’s just the value of the offerings. This is why Android was initially allowed to get into the hands of people willing to settle – it’s also why they won’t be able to do the same thing against the iPad, no matter how many ports they shove into their Iced Shit Sandwich knock-offs.

  4. “And if you’re selling BMW’s, you might come up with a smaller, less expensive BMW to attract customers away from Kia.”

    A core mistake made by numerous companies of every size, over and over … and over …. and over …. is trying to be everything to everybody. One of the core factors in Apple’s enormous success is that they do NOT do that.

  5. The “scenarios” (of things most people do not do very often on tablets) are good examples of things most people do not do very often on tablets, but they are bad examples for this article. Why? Because you can do those things easily on an iPad, so there is no Android advantage.

    In fact, because of the extensive iPad “ecosystem” for accessories well as the far superior App Store (for tablet-optimized apps), iPad is and will continue to be much MORE functional.

  6. It’s amusing to see all the comments on the article from tech geeks that totally missed the point. “This guy’s totally off base. I used all the high tech features on my Android tablet after I rooted it and installed custom software!”

    Fandroids. Gotta love ’em.

    ——RM

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