All week we have been covering the news on the TouchPad. When Hewlett Packard announced that they were dropping the price to $99/£89 the online audience snapped them up, by the truckload. Within a few days Hewlett Packard announced that they had sold out, giving people an opt in button to be alerted when more became available.
There have been many online debates this week about the pros and cons of buying a Touchpad. Obviously they are cheap and well built, but they do run an operating system which is already doomed to failure. HP aren’t even going to update and improve it over the coming year. For those people who just want a tablet to browse the net and handle general duties however it does make for a very tempting proposition. Rumors are circulating that some of the industries most talented coders are going to work out a way to port Android to it.
Could another company copy this gameplan? Offering a very cheap tablet for the punters? Sadly, this is not something that any major company could, or would want to mirror. Hewlett Packard are losing money with every TouchPad sold and it makes no financial sense for another big player to copy this strategy. As a sales venture, it has been a disaster for HP. While there are no shortage of shoddy far east branded tablets at sub £200 prices, it does highlight that people are interested in a cheap, quality tablet.
Right now, this market is so one sided in favour of Apple that other manufacturers are noticeably cautious about risking a challenge. We have always said that to challenge the iPad you need to offer similar functionality at a reduced price. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, because iOS and the Apple Store are basically unmatched in this sector.
The biggest challenge we feel will come from Amazon. While they have dominated the e-reader market now for some time, they have yet to enter into the ‘tablet’ market with a product to offer a rival against Apple. Rumours have been circulating that Amazon will release an Android tablet at a loss, with the goal of making money by selling programs and downloaded content.
The challenge for Amazon and anyone else, is getting the price down, while keeping the quality high. The adoption of cheaper internal hardware is only part of the problem as build quality will also suffer.
We will believe that Amazon might have an answer. Not enough to dominate the market, but certainly if they release a quality Android powered laptop with decent specifications then they have the audience to support it. The Kindle is proof enough that their store infrastructure is class leading.
Kitguru says: Did you buy a TouchPad, are you happy?