Is There Room in the Market for Anything but the iPad?

July 02, 2012
By: Rory Lidstone

Now that the Google I/O developer conference is over and the world knows about the Nexus 7, Google’s (News - Alert) first direct entry into the tablet market and Microsoft’s Surface tablets are practically old news. We’re left to see how the tablet market will change from the existence of these two players.

It’s pretty obvious that Google’s device is meant to compete more with Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which holds the second spot in the market following Apple’s iPad. Both the Nexus 7 and the Fire have seven-inch displays, run Android (News - Alert) and feature a price point around $200.

But the Nexus 7, the newest version of Android, boasts stronger computing power; it’s actually the first device to ship with version 4.1, Jelly Bean – and a premium build.

Meanwhile, Microsoft (News - Alert) Surface seems to aim squarely for iPad’s massive share of the market with a 10.6-inch screen, premium build and likely a price point around that of the third-generation iPad. Microsoft, however, offers two versions of its tablet OS, Windows 8, one for ARM (News - Alert) processors and one for x86/x64, with the former meant more for casual use and the latter appealing to business and power users.

Unfortunately for these new entrants, consumers really only want an Apple-made tablet. A survey from Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt (News - Alert) states that most consumers would rather pay more for a seven-inch iPad than buy a Nexus or Kindle Fire, while a third of those surveyed said they had no interest in getting a tablet at all.

Nearly a quarter said they only wanted a 10-inch tablet, leaving a mere 8.5 percent interested in a $200 Android tablet over an iPad of the same size. The survey had no mention of Microsoft Surface but the general feeling seems to be iPad or nothing.

Sales represent this sentiment since Apple has sold a whopping 67.1 million iPads since the launch of the first iPad in April 2010 and the end of the first quarter of this year. In fact, 11.8 million of those iPads were sold within the first three months of this year.

Meanwhile, sales of the Kindle Fire have slowed significantly after the initial success of the device during the holiday season.

All of this paints a very dire picture for the likes of Google and Microsoft, but not without hope. There is room in the market for a high-quality, value-oriented device as well as a more powerful, work-oriented device. It’s just hard to say whether Google and Microsoft will be able to successfully fill these gaps.




Edited by Braden Becker