It's a Numbers Game

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It's a Numbers Game

The biggest issue standing in the way of Apples iPad is the sheer number of Android-based tablets coming to the marketplace. Over the next several months, prominent companies, including Amazon and others, will be offering Android-based tablets. As in the smartphone space, the sheer number of Android products shipping could cause the iPad to lose its control over the market.

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Amazon's Kindle Fire

As soon as Amazon announced the Kindle Fire, just about everyone agreed that its $199 price tag could be a game-changer. Research firms echoed that sentiment, with many of them saying Amazons slate could have a profound impact on the tablet market. Although the Kindle Fire might not match iPad 2 sales initially, Amazons aggressive pricing could eventually help its tablet trump Apples in total sales.

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Amazon's Kindle Fire

As soon as Amazon announced the Kindle Fire, just about everyone agreed that its $199 price tag could be a game-changer. Research firms echoed that sentiment, with many of them saying Amazons slate could have a profound impact on the tablet market. Although the Kindle Fire might not match iPad 2 sales initially, Amazons aggressive pricing could eventually help its tablet trump Apples in total sales.

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Missing Steve Jobs' Influence

Lets face it: Steve Jobs was the visionary behind Apples iPad. But now that he has passed away, the companys future is in the hands of Tim Cook, a CEO who just doesnt have the vision that Jobs did. That alone could scuttle Apples chances of indefinitely staying dominant in the tablet market.

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The Lack of 4G

Apple seems to be against 4G connectivity in the mobile space. The company was expected to bring it to the iPad 2, but didnt. It was also expected to offer it in the iPhone 4S, but balked at the idea. Other tablets, however, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, come with 4G support. Apples decision to leave out 4G could come back to haunt the company.

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More Vendors, More Problems

All this talk of Android forgets the fact that other companies are also trying their luck in the mobile space with unique operating systems. RIM, for example, has the BlackBerry PlayBook, which runs its new tablet operating system. With Windows 8 around the corner, vendors will likely jump to that platform as well. With all the competitors the iPad faces itll be tough to stay atop the tablet space.

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Beware Windows 8

Speaking of Windows 8, that operating system could very well become a major issue for Apple. The OS, which is expected to launch last year, can be used by any vendor to bundle with their products. So far, only a few companies have publicly signed on to Windows 8 for their tablets. But considering some analysts believe Microsoft could sell more than 300 million licenses of its next OS, it might not take long for other companies to jump on the bandwagon. Windows 8 could be a real threat to Apple and its iPad.

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Google's Influence on Motorola Mobility

Google keeps saying that it will have no influence over Motorola Mobility after its $12.5 billion acquisition of that company closes. But does anyone really believe that? The search giant wants Android to succeed in the tablet space and it has its sights set on Apple. Look for Google to play an active role in Motorolas future tablets and expect those devices to sell exceedingly well. Google understands mobile customers, and that cant be discounted.

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The Tablet Price War

When HP announced that it was discontinuing its TouchPad tablet, the company dropped the price of the device down to $99. Instantly, the tablet became a hot item for consumers. The Kindle Fire, at $199, has become a similarly appealing device, thanks to its price tag. Now, tablet vendors are thinking seriously about becoming price leaders to compete against Apples iPad 2, which starts at $499. Given the success of cheaper tablets, that strategy might just work. And in the process, the iPad might lose some of its influence.

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The Commoditization Killer

Although Macs are selling well, Apple still has a long way to go to catch competitors. The reason for that is simple: the PC market has become commoditized. Apple bucks that trend by offering more sophisticated (and well-designed) products. The strategy is great for profits, but bad for market share. Looking ahead, it appears the tablet market might also become commoditized. After all, theres only so much companies can pack into tablets. As the latest releases show, there arent too many differences between some of the top devices. If the tablet market becomes commoditized, expect Apple to suffer.

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