CEA Director of Industy Analysis Steve Koenig has talked-down high-end Android tablets’ chances of stealing the Apple iPad 2’s market supremacy in 2011. He says that they ask buyers to cough-up more money for a fundamentally less attractive device.
The Consumer Electronics Association is the force behind the CES annual tech show, which takes place in Las Vegas each January. Today we talked to CEA’s Steve Koenig who said that “RIM, Motorola (and) Samsung can’t beat Apple on price” in the tablet market, and that buying one of these iPad 2-rival tablets isn’t alluring – that you “pay several hundred dollars more for an “uncool” product.”
Here Koenig refers to the mainstream buyer, millions more of whom will buy tablets this year according to the bold predictions of many a market analyst. Although he didn’t claim the Motorola Xoom was immune from this Apple effect, he did cite the tablet as being the one with the “best chance” of competing, thanks to an impressive integration of Google’s new tablet-focused Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system. Other tablets didn’t get off so lightly, Koenig remarking that “90 per cent of the tablets out there are not even close” to iPad 2-quality.
Other tablet platforms in-waiting were also given a mention. Koenig says that the BlackBerry PlayBook has a good chance of hooking-in an early fanbase thanks to the “entrenched” ranks of BlackBerry users worldwide, and that a dedicated tablet platform is “something we’ll hear from Microsoft this year.” He commented that a port of Microsoft’s Surface “makes sense.” Surface is currently used to power huge table-like computers costing many thousands of dollars, and recalling images from the 1982 sci-fi movie Tron, but shrunken down to tablet-sized proportions it could work well, already supporting near-essential tablet features like multi-touch.
Koenig was careful not to label any of these decried tablets as dead on arrival though, noting how the “market opportunity is shifting" towards devices that lie in the screen-inch void that sits between mobile phones and laptops – between 5in and 15in. When none of these high-end electronics are particularly cheap to design or produce, how many can be sustained, even if the market is growing?