Thursday, January 6, 2011

Delusional tablet proliferation

As part of the Year of the Tablet at the Tablet Electronics Show (TES) in Las Vegas this week, the chairman of AsusTek has unveiled a family of Eee Pad tablets (based on Android), hoping to leverage the brand recognition from its Eee PC family of netbooks.

According to the AP, the products were introduced by AsusTek chairmain Jonney Shih. The two main models are tablets that run Android 3.0 (aka Honeycomb):

  • Transformer, 10.1" screen for $500-700
  • Slider: 7" screen for $400-700.
In other words, they take a netbook, delete the keyboard and OS royalty, and double the price. I don't get it. Do they now see themselves as a technology or marketing powerhouse (apparently a common delusion among Taiwanese commodity producers.)

Suppose I wanted a 10" tablet. What other options might I consider? How about one with the most apps, the best PC integration, best browser, best dealer network and the best brand? So what kind of premium would I pay for an iPad? Perhaps none, since the iPad start at $500 — same as the Asus Transformer.

Perhaps I find that too expensive, and instead choose the 7" Asus Slider at only $400. Of course, there’s a NookColor (Android tablet) at $250 with a vertically integrated nationwide dealer network and a dedicated content store.

If this is the pricing of the promised wave of Android tablets, no wonder analysts predict Apple will retain 2/3 of the market.

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