Motorola Xoom, Apple iPad 2: Tablets Begin to Mature

 
 
By J. Gerry Purdy  |  Posted 2011-03-31
 
 
 

Motorola Xoom, Apple iPad 2: Tablets Begin to Mature


Over the past few weeks, we've seen the introduction of the second generation of tablets, the Motorola Xoom and the Apple iPad 2. It's been just over a year since Apple launched its "magical iPad."

This new, second generation of tablets is clearly beginning to mature into robust, high performing computing and communications devices that are going to be carried around and used by hundreds of millions of people. Globally, the tablet might become known as the only "truly personal computer" with which people can access the Internet.

Here are eight characteristics that define this second generation of tablet computing:

1. Better displays (Xoom: 1280 x 800),

2. Front and rear-facing cameras,

3. Much faster graphics,

4. Better user interfaces (Honeycomb for Android is amazing),

5. Better ports in which to manage interaction,

6. Ability to play high-definition video on large-screen TVs (via HDMI),

7. Better (faster) wireless communications (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access+ for AT&T),

8. Slightly lower pricing for WiFi-only tablets.

In a recent user study on tablets conducted by Dr. Phil Hendrix of the Institute for Mobile Markets Research, Hendrix found that the ideal price for a tablet is $351 (with a ceiling price of $521). Above that, the cost will negatively affect the user's purchasing behavior. Hendrix also found that if a tablet's price is below $202, there's a user perception of it being "too cheap and of too low quality" to be considered for purchase.

Motorola Xoom, Apple iPad 2: Tablets Begin to Mature


title=Tablet Market Is Young}

Tablet market is young

The tablet market is still young. Tablet sales this year are estimated by most sources to be around 30 million. In a few short years, it's estimated they will be over 100 million a year.

The eight keys to wider adoption of tablets are:

Key No. 1: Software that enables content to be easily stopped and restarted across the user's mobile devices. Amazon makes it possible for you to read a book on an iPad, stop, pick up your iPhone and continue reading at the same point.

Key No. 2: Synchronizing important personal data such as photos, movies, calendar, contacts and e-mail across your notebook, smartphone, tablet and the Web. Companies such as Apple (MobileMe), Funambol, CompanionLink, RealNetworks (Unifi), SugarSync and Synchronica are making good progress.

Key No. 3: Getting full-featured tablets' price points under $500-a point at which Hendrix's research shows will pull more buyers into the market.

Key No. 4: Integration of mobile hot spots using cross-platform solutions from firms such as Connectify to facilitate wireless Internet access for all your mobile devices.

Key No. 5: Developing more tablet-specific applications that leverage the user of the larger display. Efforts by publishers for newspapers and magazines are making great strides here. Think of reading Sports Illustrated and seeing all the action photos turn into video segments or reading the Wall Street Journal and instantly getting financial data on hundreds of companies.

Key No. 6: Being able to share your important visual information with friends and family, both by physically using the tablet and virtually over the Web. Pieces of this work well today but there's still a lot of work to be done to make it effortless.

Key No. 7: Adding common ports such as USB and HDMI to all tablets to make it easy to get visual information in and out of the tablet.

Key No. 8: Better and easier to use digital cameras and camcorders to facilitate video conferencing. The iPad 2 finally has a front-facing camera and FaceTime to enable video links with other FaceTime customers.

This is a young, dynamic time in the evolution of the tablet market. Many of you reading this column either have a tablet (and will see that you begin to use it more than before) or you're likely to buy one this year for yourself or one of your family members.

The age of tablets is upon us. Tablet development and tablet sales are contributing to the economic recovery. Go ahead and buy a new tablet. You'll enjoy the tablet and help the economy recover.

J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D. is Principal Analyst of Mobile & Wireless at MobileTrax LLC. As a nationally recognized industry authority, Dr. Purdy focuses on monitoring and analyzing emerging trends, technologies and market behavior in the mobile computing and wireless data communications industry in North America. Dr. Purdy is an "edge of network" analyst looking at devices, applications and services, as well as wireless connectivity to those devices. Dr. Purdy provides critical insights regarding mobile and wireless devices, wireless data communications and connection to the infrastructure that powers the data in the wireless handheld. He is author of the column Inside Mobile & Wireless that provides industry insights and is read by over 100,000 people a month.

Dr. Purdy continues to be affiliated with the venture capital industry as well. He currently is Managing Director at Yosemite Ventures. And he spent five years as a Venture Advisor for Diamondhead Ventures in Menlo Park where he identified, attracted and recommended investments in emerging companies in mobile and wireless. He has had a prior affiliation with East Peak Advisors and, subsequently, following their acquisition, with FBR Capital Markets. For more than 16 years, Dr. Purdy has been consulting, speaking, researching, networking, writing and developing state-of-the-art concepts that challenge people's mind-sets, as well as developing new ways of thinking and forecasting in the mobile computing and wireless data arenas. Often quoted, Dr. Purdy's ideas and opinions are followed closely by thought leaders in the mobile and wireless industry. He is author of three books as well.

Dr. Purdy currently is a member of the Program Advisory Board of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) which produces CES, one of the largest trade shows in the world. He is a frequent moderator at CTIA conferences and GSM Mobile World Congress. He also is a member of the Board of the Atlanta Wireless Technology Forum. Dr. Purdy has a B.S. degree in Engineering Physics from University of Tennessee, a M.S. degree in Computer Science from UCLA, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Exercise Physiology from Stanford University. He can be reached at gerry.purdy@mobiletrax.com. 

Disclosure Statement: From time to time, I may have a direct or indirect equity position in a company that is mentioned in this column. If that situation happens, then I'll disclose it at that time.

 

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