Tablet industry will need mass enterprise adoption for powering growth in 2012. Device makers/eco-system masters will have to customize to enterprise use cases. (Cue Android/Blackberry/Microsoft)
The Tablet PC was designed first by Microsoft and targeted at the enterprise segment mainly.
However, it was Apple and iPad with its unparalled experience which turned the Tablet PC into a consumer segment product mainly (That’s been the niche of Apple). Apple established the Tablet as a media consumption device as against smartphone(communication device) and laptops(computing devices). Apple made iPad the centre piece of its eco-system and still continues to add various other dimensions breaking one frontier after the other.The success of Apple spawned many others notably Android, Blackberry and even HP’s WebOS.
However, it was Amazon with its scale and expertise in media distribution that has now taken the pole position in low end tablet category.The Amazon USP is the media based services.Amazon Kindle Fire is exerting pressure on all tablet makers to reduce prices. Furthermore, with the introduction of iPad3,one could see iPad2 price down to at $300 levels. Android is an example of a strong competitor which has failed to create any impact in the consumer segment. The “Apeing Apple” strategy has not worked for Android (see image below). This is perhaps clear with the “missing in action” response that Ice-cream Sandwich has garnered post luanch.(A .6% presence inspite of Samsung, HTC, Sony and LG device makers pushing it). With the consumer segment taken by Apple and Amazon, there is little left for others. There are options of deep penetrative pricing as practiced by HP and Blackberry, but that doesnot translate in profits and viable business cases.
In 2012, tablet makers will have to go the “enterprise route” to find a foothold in a market which is fast polarizing towards Apple and Amazon.Again this will include a eco-system approach which will include application makers, cloud, telecom operators, MVNOs, value added service providers and other linkages with industries, Operators, functions and solutions which might always not strictly be from within the industry.
Device makers will need to decide which enterprise purposes can be supported by their tablets. The key drivers of successes in enterprises will be Optimization for specific use cases. I am listing out a 7 point use case optimization-
1. The stylus will emerge as an important input method which would enable consumers to annotate, make handwritten notes,
2. Similarly, voice enabled input could be a critical feature for creating compelling user experience
3. Tablet makers will need to drive development of apps and services optimized and uniquely well-suited for enterprise uses
4. Tablet makers will need to enable cross-platform interorperability between phones(smartphones), PCs, back-end legacy systems. Prima Facie, Microsoft has an edge in this.
5. Tablet makers will need to heed to security and piracy as key concern areas when addressing enterprise requirements
6. Device makers will need to Promote peripherals and ancillary services such as keyboard, cloud based services, pairing between office peripherals such as photo-copiers, scanners, servers etc in form of partnerships, shared GTM programs etc.
7. Device makers will have to evolve a new device lifecyle revenue model which balances the CAPEX, OPEX and service costs for optimum margins and sustained profitabilities.
2012 will see a lot of tablet device makers explore the enterprise segment as a viable and sustainable business case. The sooner the better.
Amazon Kindle Fire: Playing to a niche, it re-draws rules in the Tablet segment
The $199 pricing from Amazon, is one of the best examples of penetrative pricing- where by Amazon can make more money later by selling books, movies, music, apps through its app store. The reason Amazon can do it is because it has an offering very similar to Apple where it’s controlling the device, platform (it has a modified version of Android) and app store. Hence, it’s looking at a long term revenue by following a penetration pricing strategy. In doing so, it’s also utilizing its existing capacity of billions of gigabytes of cloud storage combined with Amazon Silk interface for faster loading of webpages to provide a better user experience.The reason other tablet players in the market such as Samsung, HTC, Motorola among others can’t follow this strategy, with the exception of apple, is because they only control the device part and have very little control over Android platform (controlled by Google) or app store (again influenced by Google).
On the flip side, Kindle Fire isn’t proper Android tablet. It is a forked version which means, whatever updates Google does will not make it to the Fire. It will Amazon’s prerogative to get the updates. Even the Android Market is out of bounds on the Kindle Fire. What really is unexplainable is the absence of HSPA capabilities on the tablet. Is it cost? For a mobile device which is heavily dependent on anytime available cloud service, not having a innate mobile connection capability is befuddling. And then there is the lack of Camera? Surely That wasn’t a huge investment that Amazon opted out of. It was hygiene.
Kindle Fire has shown us that a successful tablet launch isn’t all about the greatest hardware. It’s the apps and the ecosystem. Without which the brightest of the tablets are destined to fail. And don’t make the mistake of considering this a success for Android tablets. Because it is not. This is a tablet which only an Amazon could have pulled of. In fact Kindle Fire would be a nemesis of Android tablets. Now they have to compete with both iPad and Kindle Fire – one at the top end and one and the lower end of the spectrum.
Amazon has done a brilliant job of picking its niche and playing to its strength – content: gaming, video, music or eBooks and build an ecosystem around it and then start selling. That in essence is the purpose and motto of tablets- Tablet happens to be a conduit to digital consumption. And Amazon has seems to have hit the nail quite on its head.
Even while the comparison between Android powered Samsung Tab and Apple’s iPad are still doing the rounds of press and blogosphere, Acer delivers the “Touchpad” a completely new Tablet form factor, one with dual screens. The dual touchscreen ICONIA as it is called is powered by the Windows 7 and is extremely close to Microsoft’s dual screen Courier tablet, which has supposedly been shelved by Microsoft.
The ICONIA lends a certain “ccol” factor to the design and has a virtual keyboard to mange tasks.Instead of a start button, it features the “Acer Ring” which will appear “by placing five fingers on the screen and making a grab gesture.” The “touchbook” comes equipped with a bunch of Acer developed applications including the TouchBrowser, TouchPhoto, TouchMusic, TouchVideo each enhanced with the gesture library. Likewise it includes the apps SocialJogger, My Journal and Scrapbook.This beauty is due release in Q1,2011 and can be a serious competition to the single form tablets.
The Pics are enticing enough and for one I am not sure if I should postpone my iPad purchase till Q1, 2011!!!
About 18 months, Blackberry had an unassailable lead in the US smartphones. An year later, Blackberry was being challenged and within a month or two, serious competition was snapping at Blackberry’s heals. This post examines a few factors behind the fall of Blackberry!
A recent report by Strategy Analytics, puts Apple ahead of Blackberry in terms of devices shipped globally over Q3,2010.Global smartphone shipments surged 78 percent to reach 77 million units in Q3 2010. Apple was the star performer, as it overtook Blackberry and closed the gap on Nokia. The report mentions that Blackberry is still handicapped from the lack of touch devices in its high end consequently its global smartphone marketshare has edged down from 20 percent to 16 percent during the past 12 months.
The 5 reasons that led to the slide at Blackberry are as follows:
1. Blackberry made its mark by being a device of choice for enterprises. However, if latest reports are to be believed iPhone and iPad (In particular) are finding traction at the enterprise segments. Interesting Apple never made these devices with enterprise usage in its perspective. Verizon and AT&T are beginning to sell the iPad in their channels and this could upset the balance for RIM in the enterprise segment.
2. The problem for Blackberry has been that after riding the wave of the same OS for longer than usual, they seem to be running out of favour. Carriers, Consumers, Developers and Enterprises have better options available for them from the Apple and Android stables. Blackberry has essentially gone the Nokia way. For long it rode one prized horse without adding anything substantial. Competition out-innovated them.There are plans of refreshing the Blackberry with the Blackberry tablet: Playbook. The Playbook will have a new look-new feel OS designed by QNX which would run the Flash and Adobe. However, without active developer support and a launch date of Early 2011, RIM has seriously lost on developer mind share already.(More about that later)
To make matters a little more complicated for RIM, as against two (Apple & Android) earlier, now they have three for company (Apple, Android & Microsoft).
3. The latest RIM torch bearer, Blackberry Torch has been an effort to bridge the gap between an enterprise device and a high end multimedia smart-phone. However, Goldman Sachs has declared the launch as underwhelming and RIM had to move fast in dropping the price of Torch in order to stay competitive. (RIM lowered prices from $199 bundle with AT&T to $99).
4. Touchscreen continues to be RIM’s Achilles Heal. After two unsuccessful trials with the feather-touch Storm and Storm 2, RIM still has a long way to go in touchscreen devices.
5. If Smart-phones in the future are about applications and the eco-system is about wooing developers,RIM focus has been inadequate in this space largely. The Blackberry Apps store just hit its 10,000 apps online and a Electronista report confirms that the gaming developers community is giving Blackberry a miss. The corresponding number is 100K apps for Android and 250K for Apple. Nlot adequate for the leader in US smartphones, right? Blackberry is trying all out to try and gain developer support
The iPad has more tablets for company.Every device manufacturer worth his salt is betting big on Tablets. Samsung has already launched its first Android tablet against the iPad a few days back. This is the Samsung Galaxy Tab which sports a 7″ screen and runs on Android 2.2. While the Froyo is not the best suited for Tablets, it gives Android a start into this promising device space. A start that Gingerbread, Android 3.0 will consolidate in its time.
Here are the specs of the Samsung Galaxy Tablet
A video on the the Galaxy Tablet by Samsung:
A pictorial of the 2010-2012 roadmap of tablets that have been announced by different ODMs under the different platforms. From the information available, The Android is seen here with 16 tablets, the Windows has 13 and Linux has 3. Blackberry and others have 1 each. from the looks of its Android is maturing fast as a platform for tablets and thats where the challenge to iPad’s reign begins.