According to Sarah Rotman Epps of Forrester.com, Amazon can become successful where HP, RIM, Samsung and Motorola failed. Challenge Apple iPad’s dominance. Here’s how Amazon can do it.
Amazon can introduce a lower-priced Andorid or Linux-based tablet and then recover the price by selling products via its online store. It followed the same approach with its Kindle e-book reader and it is a big success. The tablet will come with integrated features like one-click purchasing, Amazon Prime service, and recommendations engine that makes buying a very easy process. Rotman said that 50 percent of the current tablet owners use their tablet PC to research and buy products.
I am not a business expert but I do not entirely agree with Rotman. Rotman’s article can be boiled down to two simple statements:
a) Amazon tablet PC can challenge iPad’s dominance.
b) HP TouchPad, RIM PlayBook, Motorola Xoom can’t and their strategy is flawed.
Let’s see the first statement. Rotman said Amazon can challenge Apple’s dominance and it can do so by lowering price but can it emulate Apple’s in-store experience? In her article, she talked about how people value Apple tablet PC for the service they get. When a buyer visits an Apple store, he or she will not have a hard time finding the iPad unlike other stores where the tablet PCs are gathered in a corner to accumulate dusts. There are also well-trained sales executives at Apple stores who will show them how to operate the device. Such service is not available in any other stores. Can Amazon offer such services? She did not say anything about it.
Even if Amazon becomes able to steal thunders from the iPad by offering a low-priced tablet, how long it will continue? Offering a tablet PC in lower price means Amazon will have to recover its cost by making people buy products from its stores. This means, Amazon tablet PC will not encourage its users to run products or apps outside Amazon.com. In a way, Amazon would end up creating a closed eco-system like that of Apple. Will that be a good thing?
Let’s not forget, along with challenging iPads, Amazon tablet PC will also have to compete with other tablet PCs in the market and survive which will not be an easy thing to do unless Amazon can come up with something great like the iPad.
Now, let’s look at the second statement. I do not think that Motorola Xoom, HP TouchPad, RIM PlayBook and Samsung Galaxy tab’s strategies are flawed. I think Android tablets like Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy tab have bright future. Yes, they are pricey and have shortcomings but they do not come with any premeditated bindings. Once you buy them you would not have to worry about buying products from any specific store. You can run any apps and purchase from anywhere they like. It was this freedom that made Android devices appealing in the first place.
Now comes the next question- What should Motorola, Samsung, RIM, HP, do? First, these tablet makers should ensure availability of their products from as many networks as possible. Samsung Galaxy tab did it. Second, they would have to work on offering better user experience and smooth functionality as well as good collection of apps.
What about the price? Well, price will come down in future. The tablet market is very new but over the years manufacturing costs will come down. Moreover, you are getting them at a subsidized price. If you can buy your smartphone at a subsidized price then I do not see any problem with tablet PCs and in a matter of two-three years Android, HP Web OS, and RIM’s QNX system will make further improvements.
So, the important question is who will survive in the long run.