Verizon Selling Xoom, Galaxy Tab, iPad
This "Pick a tablet, any tablet" approach appears to be an attempt to move Verizon Wireless from being just another wireless phone company into something more. The broad tablet offerings mean that Verizon has a solution to meet pretty much any need. Customers who want access to the wealth of iPad applications will have the ability to come to Verizon and get what they need, along with having a mobile hot spot that can support their other devices. For those who want something more portable, the 7-inch Galaxy Tab is the Android-based alternative. And now there's the Xoom, which seems to be designed to be what the iPad is not-a multifeatured tablet that builds on the iPad concept and manages to deliver more for the same price.Whether this works depends greatly on how Verizon Wireless markets its tablet offerings. Assuming that the company manages to make the role of each device clear, and manages to identify the market segments it intends for each device, it could create even faster growth in the tablet market than we're already seeing. While Apple iPads don't really need a lot of marketing right now by the wireless carriers-Apple is taking care of that-they may need more in the future as solid alternatives such as the Xoom make it obvious that the iPad isn't the only game in town. But what's equally important is that by offering a range of tablets with similar prices but differing capabilities, Verizon Wireless can also show that the iPad is one of many games in town, each of which has its own reason for being, and each of which has its own logical customer base. The result is that this sort of approach could create a better market for tablets, and enterprise tablets specifically, because now it'll be possible to get the product you need with the capabilities that are required for your application, and to do it from one vendor. About the only thing that will make this work better is if another wireless company adopts the same approach. While AT&T seems to still be overwhelmed with the iPhone, there are rumors that it may get the Xoom. Whether this same broad tablet selection and 3G/4G support will come to other vendors remains to be seen, but it would be good for everyone if it did.
Assuming that you're willing to buy into the idea that tablets are the next big thing-something that netbooks weren't-then Verizon Wireless is putting itself in exactly the right place. While the other wireless companies are also offering the Galaxy Tab, you're not seeing the broad selection that you see from Verizon. This kind of one-stop shop for tablet solutions may well be exactly what the nascent tablet industry needs.