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What HP's TouchPad Fire Sale Teaches iPad Rivals 312

Hugh Pickens writes "Christopher Williams writes that the success of HP's fire sale in unloading hundreds of thousands of TouchPads at heavily discounted prices may provide clues to other Apple competitors hoping to loosen the iPad's stranglehold on the tablet computing market. The main Google Android tablets, made by Samsung and Motorola, are pitched at around the same price point as the iPad but, put together with all the other Android tablets, it's estimated the iPad outsells them eight to one so 'the problem becomes circular: the user base is too small for app developers to invest in,' writes Williams, 'so users buy an iPad because there are more apps and the user base gets even smaller relative to Apple's.' According to Williams, Android tablet makers must find a way of breaking the cycle to avoid the TouchPad's fate. 'No doubt acutely aware of this is Amazon, which is rumored to be preparing to release an Android tablet this autumn,' writes Williams, adding that Amazon must price their 'iPad killer' at break-even or a loss to succeed. 'Its online retail empire and the Kindle brand mean Amazon has the marketing clout to take on the iPad, but on the evidence of HP's successful TouchPad sell off, the question is whether it has the courage to put its money on the line. '"
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What HP's TouchPad Fire Sale Teaches iPad Rivals

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @05:21PM (#37196814)

    Do they really need an in-depth analysis for something that bloody simple?

    Yeah sure, you can beat the iPad if you offer similar features and sell it for $100--no shit. How is that in ANY way analogous too offering your pad for $50-$100 cheaper than an iPad? Oooh, let's all run out an buy the Amazon maxiPad because it's $650 instead of the iPad's $700!! Unless you're prepared to absolutely bleed money on every maxiPad sale, you're not going to soak up even a single percentage point of the iPad's market dominance.

  • Leverage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Stickerboy ( 61554 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @05:32PM (#37196976) Homepage

    What Apple's rivals should do is not just learn a lesson. They should leverage the TouchPad. Get Android working on the TouchPad which just sold hundreds of thousands of units, and keep building the Android app userbase.

    Apple has had the advantage of leveraging what was originally the iPod consumer base into a mature ecosystem which has turned out to be one of the iPad's main advantages over its would-be rivals. Here's a golden opportunity for Apple's rivals to influence the future purchasing decisions of hundreds of thousands of consumers.

  • by Brannon ( 221550 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @05:42PM (#37197148)

    They have 50% of all the profit in the smartphone industry. They are printing money. How does that equate with getting their clock cleaned?

  • by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @05:42PM (#37197160) Journal

    Absolutely. There is no tablet in the world worth over $200. That even includes the asus transformer 32GB with the dock. These devices are just not worth it - limited functionality for a premium? Of course it's not selling.

  • by Chrutil ( 732561 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @05:53PM (#37197318)

    Maybe the ipad makes more sense if you don't have a laptop or have some reason to not carry one around...

    Actually my iPad *is* my reason for not carrying my laptop around.

  • by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @06:11PM (#37197600)

    iPad ... have devout worshipers that purchase as soon as their products come out. Android people are a bit pickier when it comes to buying something, they actually take time to evaluate the products instead of the hipsters who buy a label.

    It simply boggles my mind that people continue to hold on to this gibberish. Here's a secret: Apple makes products people want. You can try to portray it as an army of mindless zombies shambling along giving Apple their money but the truth of the matter is that people buy products they want. Apple is succeeding (to say the least) because they have invested a lot of effort into figuring out what people want and making that product.

    There's a reason why the typical geek has zero capacity to predict future trends and accurately determine what consumers want - because they hold onto falsehoods as if they're gospel and stick their heads in the sand when the truth is shown to them.

    You don't have to like Apple (and your comments make it perfectly clear that you don't) but you're a blind fool if you ignore the reasons for Apple's success. You complain about Apple "worshipers" yet your disdain for Apple and its customers is the only fanatical thing I see here.

  • by fractalus ( 322043 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @06:26PM (#37197814) Homepage

    I've has my Galaxy Tab 10.1 for a couple of months. Before that I had a Nook Color that I rooted. I started with the NC because I wasn't sure if I would have a use for a tablet, and the NC was half the price of the Tab.

    There's no doubt these are primarily consumption devices; although they can be used for creation, that's not their strength and the more creative work you do on them the less fun it gets. What surprised me was just how much of my ordinary computer use was consumptive, and that now it's easier to squeeze in a bit of consumption here and there without resorting to a full computer. Instant on, super-long battery life, and an OS that's simplified make a huge difference.

    As much as I was surprised how much I now do on my Tab (so much so that my regular computer gets dusty), imagine what it's like for people that really do want a computer "appliance". Apple created an entire market of consumers out of people who previously weren't consumers: people who didn't want the hassle of [another] computer. This is part of the magic of the iPad, and why nearly 30 million have been sold. The TouchPad's demise doesn't tell us much about the tablet market overall except that the TouchPad wasn't what people wanted compared to an iPad. Android has similar market-share (and mind-share) problems, only differing in degree.

    Google should be throwing money at devs to write Android tablet apps if they want to catch up to Apple, our even just stay in the game. Otherwise they risk being marginalized, and if that happens on the tablet side it may leak over to the phone side.

  • by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @07:49PM (#37199080)
    I don't think that millions and millions and millions of people buy Apple products based purely on marketing. I believe that the vast majority of initial iPad sales (since we're discussing tablets) occurred to people who enjoyed Apple's products in general and the "touch" products (iPhone/iPod Touch) specifically and had a "mobile computing device" (more than an iPod Touch but less than a laptop) need. Then, once the early adopters started telling their "on the fence" friends of their experience, more people bought in. Then, those people who never buy 1st generation products bought in because Apple released the iPad 2. Then the iPad continued to sell well.

    People don't plunk down $500 because it's cool. They plunk down $500 because they're confident that they're going to get the product they want. They plunk down $500 because it's the right price for a product they want or need.

    You don't have to like Apple and you don't have to like the iPad but you'd be foolish to ignore how and why the iPad is succeeding where other tablets are absolutely, utterly failing. No, really - the HP TouchPad is fire saled. The Blackberry Playbook is utterly floundering. The stories of failed tablet products abound. A _BLACKBERRY_ tablet is failing horribly while Apple can't keep iPad's in stock. Figure out why that's happening and don't stop analyzing why once you get to "marketing" because there are more reasons than that.

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann