Enterprise Networking: Tablet King for 2012: 10 Factors That Will Determine the Leader
1. Price, Price, Price
If the Amazon Kindle Fires success last year proved anything, its that price matters to todays consumers. So, in 2012, companies that want to beat the iPad might need to bring their tablet prices down to a suitable level to appeal to consumers. That doesnt mean $199, of course, but it might mean offering slates for substantially less than the cheapest iPads $499 price tag.
2. The iPad 3's Improvements
It should be interesting to see what kind of improvements make their way to the iPad 3. If the device is a major improvement over its predecessor, it might be difficult for any competitor to catch up to Apples tablet this year. However, if its a nominal upgrade, competitors might have a chance to catch up. The iPad 3 could make or break this years tablet race.
3. Screen Size That Justifies the Price
Interestingly, prior to the Kindle Fires launch, it appeared that tablets with large screen sizes, like a 9- or 10-inch display, would be the only devices to succeed. However, the Kindle Fire is successful with a 7-inch screen. It appears now that a smaller screen size will appeal to customers if it comes with one other element: the right price. Larger displays are more expensive, and smaller displays should be less expensive.
Advertising has always been important for product success, but this year, it might be even more so. Part of the iPads success is Apples strong advertising. The fact that the Kindle Fire sits on Amazon.coms homepage means the tablet will be a success, as well. Every other device maker must find a way to deliver quality advertising and put it in front of customers. If they fail, their products will fail.
5. Android's Quality
The tablet market is quickly becoming a two-OS market between iOS and Android. If new Android improvements launch this year with high-quality features, theres a good chance vendors might be able to overtake the iPad. However, if another Honeycomb-like scenario plays out where Android tablet buyers are left waiting for an OS upgrade, itll be impossible for Apples device to lose the top spot.
6. Enterprise Adoption
The enterprise could very well be the Trojan horse that will help one tablet vendor or another reign supreme in 2012. If companies decide to adopt the iPad, Apples tablet will likely stake claim to that space this year. However, if Android tablets make up some ground or even RIMs BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 catches fire, all that could change. Keep a close eye on the enterprise this year.
7. Fourth Quarter iPad Adoption
As noted, the iPad 3 could be a big factor in tablet market success this year. But its not just that device. Last quarter, Apple sold more than 15 million iPads, as demand for the device skyrocketed. The question now is, will demand stay high or will iPad sales go flat in subsequent quarters? If its the former, itll be tough for competitors to catch up. But if its the latter, it might just provide competitors with the opening they need to catch up.
8. Can the Kindle Fire Grow Up?
Theres little debate going into 2012 that Amazons Kindle Fire is the best answer yet to Apples iPad. However, in its current, underpowered form, there will be no way for the device to really vie with the iPad. So, will Amazon launch a new Kindle Fire this year aimed at the iPad 2? More importantly will that device come with all the features consumers are after, including more storage and a high-quality display? If the Kindle Fire can grow up in 2012, it might just have a shot at becoming this years tablet king.
9. Integrated Services
If Amazon and Apple have proven anything, its that integrated services matter in the tablet space. Apple has iTunes, iCloud and the App Store, while Amazon offers its own applications marketplace, Kindle e-books and cloud storage. Now, all other companies must offer their own integrated services. After all, its what consumers want.
At the end of the day, itll be tough for companies to break out from the large shadows cast by Apple, Amazon and Samsung in the tablet space. So, the companies that want to be tablet king in 2012 will need to take some chances. Perhaps they should try a new product design or deliver unique features other companies havent thought about. Being the top tablet maker this year is about taking risks no other company is willing to take.