News Analysis: The iPad 2 and the Motorola Xoom are arguably the most capable tablets on the market right now. That fact alone should show competitors what to do and what not to do to succeed in the tablet market.
In the tablet market, it's the iPad 2, the Motorola Xoom and all the others.
Those two tablets are setting the benchmark by which all other devices are
judged. And yet, they couldn't be any different. They offer different screen
sizes and vastly different operating systems. Although they both can connect to
networks over 3G, the Xoom will be upgraded to work over 4G, a feature the iPad
Even with those differences,
the iPad 2 and Xoom are carrying the tablet banner right now
. And as more
and more competitors start breaking into the market, it will be Apple's and
Motorola Mobility's devices that they will need to overcome in order to stand
atop the tablet space.
Will they be successful? It's anyone's guess at this point. But before
Toshiba, Research In Motion and so many other companies bring their upcoming
devices to the tablet space, they need to keep the following things in mind:
1. Large displays matter
The success of Apple's iPad 2 has proved quite easily that large displays
matter in the tablet space. The Dell Streak, which initially boasted a 5-inch
display, was a downright failure. The 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab didn't even
come close to matching iPad sales. Apple's tablet, however, which comes with a
9.7-inch display, hit 15 million units sold last year. Is the large screen size
the only reason the iPad was successful? Not a chance. But as Apple CEO
Steve Jobs pointed out in an earnings call last year, smaller screen sizes just
don't make much sense in the tablet space.
2. Maybe Android 3.0 'Honeycomb' isn't ready
Android 3.0 "Honeycomb," which is running on the Motorola Xoom,
was touted by Google as the best platform yet in the tablet space. Eventually,
it might live up to that hype. But as of late, critics have been taking the
operating system to task for
not being ready for prime time
. A Global Equities Research spokesperson
said recently that the operating system is "unstable and poorly designed."
Perhaps companies that are preparing Honeycomb for their tablets should wait a
bit for Google to work the kinks out.
3. Competing with Apple is nearly impossible
On paper, the Motorola Xoom is an outstanding device. It comes with a
10.1-inch display, a dual-core processor, the ability to upgrade to 4G and
Google's new Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system. The only issue is it's
getting easily beaten by Apple's iPad 2. And the chances of that changing
anytime soon are, well, zero. Competing with Apple is more difficult than any
company might think. The Xoom proves that.
4. Pricing is extremely important
Pricing can mean the difference between success and failure in today's
tablet space. That's precisely why competitors shouldn't follow Motorola's lead
and sell their tablets for the same price as, or-worse-more than, the closest
iPad 2 competitor. When the WiFi-only Xoom launches on March 27,
it will be on sale for $599
. Apple's 32GB iPad 2 retails for $599, as well.
And considering the 3G Xoom costs $799, while the iPad with 3G featuring the
same 32GB of storage goes for $729, consumers are finding more to like from
Apple's offering than Motorola's. Beating Apple on price is important. Just ask