What We Need from Tablets: Fewer of Them!

By  |  Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 5:13 pm

God knows hardware makers have been falling over each other lately in an effort to get their own tablets in front of us. The iPad showed that there was a market for these things. By some counts, over 100 different tablets showed up at CES, and this week at least 50 models were on display at Computex in Taipei. That adds up to a whole lotta tablets!

The market may turn out to be big, but it won’t be big enough for all these copycats to be successful. JP Morgan research analyst Mark Moskowitz is now saying that these folks are finally getting a clue. He claims that “build plans” — in plain English, companies’ planned manufacturing schedules — have shown a decrease in output of 10 percent.

He calls this “an early dose of reality.” Gadget makers seem to finally be getting the point that consumers are not just going to run out and buy a tablet — they’re looking for specific features, even specific brands — and not just any also-ran will do.

What we will likely see — and Mark and I have both said before — is a bubble which will eventually burst. Don’t be surprised if come Black Friday, a lot of those doorbusters are these tablets that Moskowitz is talking about. Its simple: very few of these gizmos have any chance of success.

Maybe this is good for us consumers: we might be able to pick up a cheap tablet real soon. At the same time, I worry that the experience could be subpar, possibly souring the less technological among us on a category that shows so much potential.

Unfortunately, when the market is flooded with cheap versions of a product, consumers flock to it. They then seemingly don’t understand you get what you pay for, and shy away from better quality devices because of price. That hurts everybody.


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4 Comments For This Post

  1. @ewj Says:

    Just ordered a smasung chrome book. My wife hates me a liite more. My ipad seems so limiting that I end up using my Dell laptop.

    Not sure if tablets are really necessary, except for gaming, reading, and media, all comsumption stuuf.

  2. Tim Draper Says:

    So I guess the author thinks we should all just suck up and buy a Xoom or even worse the upcoming Toshibas? Oh wait, Toshiba shouldn't produce a tablet this late in the game, forgot.
    The theoretical profit margin on tablets right now is ludicrous. You DON'T always get what you pay for, especially when there's only a handful of "competitors" who see no need to lower prices. Just as an example, the Xoom is still $100 more expensive than the Acer, and the Xoom after all these months STILL requires a user-written kernel hack to enable the memory card socket!
    I for one welcome the competition in the tablet space. The market will kill the really crappy knock-offs or at least limit them to the same space that fake iPods live in. And if someone buys some no-name Android tablet thinking it's an iPad, well, shame on the store for not taking care of their customer better.
    Now, what the market REALLY needs? As even HP's new CEO has found, the market needs NO MORE frigging "product announcements" that take a year or more to come to market, if they ever do. ASUS Phonepad, I'm looking at you right here … I really wish the press would stop covering "product rollouts" where the product is a slab of nonfunctional plastic.
    THEN we'd see fewer cheap, crappy products being announced, until there was actually a market for them.

  3. TradeTechSports Says:

    who cares if the market is flooded…more competition the better, forces them to create better products and brings down prices.

  4. The_Heraclitus Says:

    "The market may turn out to be big, but it won’t be big enough for all these copycats to be successful."

    LMAO! Just like the early PC mkt. MANY, MANY players will be successful. Android will own the market just like MS did the PC OS market.