Samsung and Hewlett-Packard are pursuing software updates and price cuts in hopes of establishing a beachhead against the Apple iPad.
seize some 61 percent of the tablet market this year, according to a new DigiTimes report.
prediction comes just as Apple's rivals seem to be scrambling for any sort of
competitive leverage against the iPad juggernaut. DigiTimes also expects Apple to ship some 25.5 million iPads in the
second half of 2011, which would represent a 76 percent rise from the first six
months of the year.
One of those
rivals, Hewlett-Packard, is busy slashing the price of its recently released
TouchPad. First, it took $50 off the sticker price, and for this weekend only, the
tablets are selling with an additional $100 rebate. Earlier in August, HP
pushed an over-the-air software update to the TouchPad designed to tweak many
of the issues cited by reviewers upon its initial release. But actual sales of
the tablet, which runs the company's proprietary webOS, remain in question.
Samsung, has skinned its Android-based Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet with a TouchWiz
UX interface. With tweaks that differentiate it from cookie-cutter Android
design, and large tiles capable of displaying live information, TouchWiz feels
like Samsung's attempt to differentiate the Tab 10.1 more fully from the other
Android tablets on the market. It also includes some business features such as
on-device encryption and full support for Exchange ActiveSync version 14, which
could help with the device's appeal to enterprises and small businesses
considering tablet purchases for their workforces.
But will price
cuts and new software give tablets the beachhead they need to eat into the
iPad's market share? Companies like HP and Samsung evidently hope so.
Throughout the summer, Research In Motion has also offered a steady stream of
updates to its 7-inch PlayBook tablet. All of these contenders are also seeking
to differentiate themselves from the waves of Android tablets due to hit the
market over the next several quarters, including Sony's S1 and S2 and Amazon's unannounced but
heavily rumored offerings.
iPad continues to attract users. A new study from IHS suggested that, among all
the tablets currently on the market, Apple's tablet attracted the highest
levels of consumer satisfaction, followed by Zenithink (a Chinese
manufacturer), Samsung, Archos and Motorola.
"With the iPad
dominating tablet sales in the United States and worldwide," Rhoda Alexander,
director of monitor and tablet research at IHS, wrote in a July 29 statement,
"this high level of consumer satisfaction commanded by Apple represents a major
barrier to entry for new competitors."
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.