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Today’s Note: A Different Take on Tablets

January 13, 2012

I have covered posts and articles by Jason Hiner (@JasonHiner on twitter) from TechRepublic before, so you probably already know he’s one of my favorite tech authors. Today I am discussing a recent post by him titled “Tablets: What Amazon and Apple know that all the CES tablet peddlers are still missing.”  The article takeaway at the top tells us: “Takeaway: Tablets are everywhere again at CES 2012, but none of them combine the two big reasons why Apple and Amazon tablets have succeeded.”  [quotes from the articles are italicized for emphasis, and all italics are added by unless otherwise noted]

Hiner has a different take on what makes a tablet successful. Hiner sums this up this way: “But, the problem with Android tablets isn’t a time or maturity issue. It’s that Google and all of its hardware partners are playing the wrong game and they haven’t realized it yet.” He tells us that a tablet manufacturer can include all the expensive hardware features it wants, but none of them will help make the tablet a success. To be precise, he explains that “all of these high-end hardware features are really expensive and they are driving up the cost of Android tablets so that they are even more expensive to build than the iPad. And, for what? For features the masses won’t use and don’t want.

So what does work? Hiner is prepared to enlighten us: “If you look at the two tablets that have succeeded — the Apple iPad and the Amazon Kindle Fire — both Apple and Amazon have treated their tablets as simple screens connected to powerful sets of software and services.

Imagine that. The key traits are value and…well value, right? How much you get for what you pay, when you measure what you get by the useful software your hardware can actually run. In the end, according to Hiner, we can measure the tablet market just like this:

So, the two successful tablets that the masses have embraced had the same top two features going for them when they launched:
1.) A great price
2.) Services that made them immediately useful.

I’ve already admitted that I’m a fan of Hiner. This article is compelling in a way that’s typical of his work. It’s the best simple breakdown of the tablet market I’ve seen. I own a Kindle Fire, and I’m fairly pleased with it. The value for the money is excellent, even though the hardware is marginal. Maybe that’s why his piece resonated with me. Whatever the case, he’s contributed a lot of insight to the tablet market, and his articles are well worth a read.

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One Comment
  1. It’s a great point. While there are many enthusiasts out there who are willing to spend top dollar for every bell and whistle, most consumers just want something easy to use and well-connected. The rise of cloud computing ought to push tablets in this direction, too, if market forces don’t do it first.

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