Research In Motion may have goofed with the Torch, which didn't attract all the consumer love or glowing feedback RIM was surely hoping its intended iPhone killer would receive. Its planned BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, however, may be a different story.
In an October survey from ChangeWave that asked tablet-interested consumers which specific tablet they were "most likely" to purchase, as many people said the BlackBerry PlayBook as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, Hewlett-Packard Slate, Archos Tablet, Dell Streak and Sony Dash combined.
Apple-which reinvigorated the tablet market and sent the industry scrambling to create competing products likely to arrive on retailer and carrier shelves this holiday season-not surprisingly dominated, with 80 percent of those surveyed saying an iPad was most likely in their future. The RIM PlayBook, however, grabbed 8 percent of the vote, followed by the Samsung Galaxy Tab with 3 percent and the HP Slate with 2 percent, while 1 percent apiece went to Archos, Dell and Sony.
The ChangeWave survey, which questioned 3,100-plus consumers, also addressed the popular question of whether tablets are luring customers away from netbooks, the answer to which was: Indeed. When consumers who'd stated they planned to buy a laptop in the next 90 days were asked whether it will be a netbook, only 14 percent of those polled in October said yes-compared with 18 percent in January, 20 percent in October 2009 and 24 percent in June 2009.
Netbook makers, however, hardly need to cash in their chips yet. According to an Oct. 14 report from ABI Research, netbooks-43 million of which are expected to have shipped by year's end-are still posting "good growth," ABI analyst Jeff Orr said, though not at "the meteoric pace of the past couple of years."
The ABI report added that, driven by Apple, the firm expects 11 million-plus tablets to ship in 2010. (Asus, the inventor of the netbook, will be contributing to that figure, with the December launch of 7-, 10- and 12-inch tablets.)
As for the tablet jackpot winner, ChangeWave asked how satisfied current iPad owners are with the device. "Somewhat satisfied," said 23 percent of those surveyed, while 72 percent were "very satisfied."
"With the iPad having already set the bar so very high in terms of customer expectations, these new tablets all have their work cut out for them, in order to succeed in the race to gain new market share," Paul Carton, ChangeWave vice president of research, said in a Nov. 2 blog post.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab will arrive in November and be offered by Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile and, it was most recently announced, U.S. Cellular. The popular pricing is $399 with a two-year data plan, or $599 without a contract. The Apple iPad starts at $499. RIM has yet to release pricing details for the BlackBerry PlayBook, and the Dell Streak-which, at 5 inches, some find to be more of a large smartphone than a small tablet-is $300 with a two-year AT&T contract, or $550 without.