4G LTE Service

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4G LTE Service

With the iPad Mini launching soon with 4G LTE service, Apple has laid down the gauntlet in the tablet market. Companies that don't support the high-speed mobile service will be ignored. Companies that do support LTE might find themselves landing towards the top of the heap. Don't underestimate the importance of 4G LTE.

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Big Displays

If the iPad's success says anything, it's that big screens really matter to customers. That's why so many companies, including Samsung and Google, are launching 10-inch tablets to compete against the iPad's 9.7-inch display. It's also notable that Apple believes that it can be successful in the lower-end of the market by launching the iPad Mini with a slightly larger screen than competitors in its range such as the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire. Although smaller tablets are launching now, big screens still matter.

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High-End Screens

At the same time it's important to remember the importance of high-quality displays. Screens like the Retina display in Apple's larger iPad and the HD screen in the Google Nexus 10 are downright beautiful. They deliver a great experience when watching movies or television shows or even surfing the Web. Customers like that. Without high-quality displays, it's hard to see too many tablets keeping pace with Apple's and Google's alternatives.

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Compelling Designs

Design is everything in the tablet market. Devices that are boring or come with a sub-par design fail, while those with nice looks tend to succeed. Perhaps that's why Apple's iPad is so successful and why so many analysts are bullish on the Microsoft Surface. Even the popular Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 can trace some of its success to design.

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Must-Have Software

The first thing RIM should have understood about tablets when it launched its BlackBerry PlayBook is that software matters, both the operating systems and the applications. Customers simply didn't want to use the company's BlackBerry software on tablets. Apple, Google, and Amazon, meanwhile, understand the importance of software. Many people are buying their products because of the operating systems they deliver and the availability of plenty of applications and content.

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Options matter. Customers like having the chance to decide exactly which tablet model is right for them. So, if they want a WiFi-only option, they can get one. And if they want 4G LTE service, at least a couple of models will be available. A healthy selection of storage options is also nice. The more options customers have, the more likely they'll be to buy a product. It's as simple as that.

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Proper Pricing

In a period where the economy is slow to turn around and unemployment is high, tablet pricing matters greatly. That's precisely why seemingly underpowered products like the Amazon Kindle Fire are so successful at under $200. That's also why, according to analysts, overpriced slates like Apple's top-of-the-line $829 iPad with LTE are largely ignored.

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An Eye on Mobility

What good is a tablet if it's too heavy, incapable of being stuffed into a duffel bag, or too big? Today's tablet customers want products that are readily mobile and won't weigh them down when they're on the road. Apple, Amazon and Google seem to understand that. Perhaps that's partly why those three companies are so successful in tablets.

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The Right Branding

Brand trust is extremely important in the tablet market. A company's brand can literally make or break a tablet's ability to succeed. So, while firms like Barnes & Noble and Vizio are trying to hold tough in the tablet market, it's unlikely they'll last much longer. Firms like Apple, Samsung and Microsoft, however, inspire more confidence and their sales will increasingly reflect that.

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Integrated Services

Apple, Google and Amazon are all delivering integrated services in their products. What that means is they offer music stores, movie market places and application stores. In addition, Amazon is offering cloud storage and Google delivers Gmail and Google Earth. They're all services that customers want to use.

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