Daily Dose of iQ: Tablet Market Evolving

Apr 18, 2011 — Allan Pulga

High Demand for iPad 2

The consumer tablet market continues to grow and Apple is still leading the charge with its iPad 2 (released in the U.S. on March 11).  A new report from RBC Capital Markets indicates demand for the iPad 2 has gone up 40 percent, compared to demand for the iPad 1 back in May 2010.

According to Eric Zeman of InformationWeek (April 13), the uptick in demand can be attributed to a number of factors:

  • First, the iPad as a product in general is much more visible now than it was in 2010. "It's everywhere," wrote Zeman. "The iPad has simply entered the collective consciousness of more people across the U.S. at this point in time."
  • Second, the newer device is more appealing than the original. "The original iPad lacked cameras, a key feature. The iPad 2 has two cameras for FaceTime video chats and video capture. It also has a faster processor, more memory, and a better selection of applications--especially high-visibility ones such as GarageBand and PhotoBooth. It also is compatible with two 3G networks (AT&T's and Verizon's) rather than just one."

BlackBerry PlayBook Faces Criticism

Meanwhile, RIM has been on the defensive of late as tech columnists have been bashing the company's soon-to-be-released PlayBook tablet.

"Technology columnists criticized the 7-inch tablet for its limited number of applications, lack of built-in e-mail and inability to connect to mobile-phone networks -- issues that won't be remedied until new software and further editions of the device are introduced later this year," wrote Hugo MIller of Bloomberg (April 15). "Some critics suggested RIM rushed an unfinished device to market, a charge (co-CEO Jim) Balsillie refutes."

Balsillie countered, saying critics are underestimating the market clout of over 60 million BlackBerry users worldwide, who could pair their phones and PlayBooks to read e-mail and connect to the Internet. "A lot of the people that want this want a secure and free extension of their BlackBerry," he said.

Miller notes that RIM has its work cut out for it, in the tablet space: Apple has sold over 15 million iPads since launching its first-generation model last April. Samsung, Motorola and Dell have also already released tablets.

Vancouver-based tech consultant Todd Sieling argues (April 17) that RIM should not have rushed out a mediocre PlayBook, but rather taken a couple more months to launch an excellent device.

"Had RIM’s executives stopped hyperventilating in the press, they could have seen that they were racing to a party that’s really still getting under way," he wrote. "Apple’s lead is too far for Playbook 1 to come close to catching. By spending a a couple more months, maybe even just a few more weeks, they could have shipped a far stronger debut tablet and come out a strong first-among-second-place entries.

"There’s a big chunk of the market that iPad is not right for: corporate types who trust and are invested with the Blackberry brand, people who want a smaller tablet, and nerds who want to hack around on the high-horsepower QNX operating system. It would still be there, not embracing the iPad, in say June or July. Instead of doing their best to serve that market with a complete product, RIM has been spooked into releasing early with something confusing and far less than it could be, getting them nothing but a fumbled launch and scattered, halting applause from a press desperate for a tablet worth talking about that doesn’t start with an i."

Topics: Wireless Trends, Mobile Industry

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