Some Speculations on Tablets

So the Xoom's had some bad reviews (which I admittedly don't think are fair, but still).  RIM's playbook is getting trashed – though it's having some surprisingly good sales (which I chalk up to loyalty).  The Android-and-other Tablet market doesn't appear to be doing too hot at the moment.

So this has me thinking.  OK, linoleum makes me think (name the reference), but in this case I'm thinking about Tablets.

We were all pumped here for the Android tablets.  We were positive they'd rock.  In some ways we're still positive, but there have been an awful lot of stumbles lately, and there's not a lot of rocking.  Our enthusiasm is tarnished.

This isn't just a case of personal enthusiasm – Tablets are a transformative part of the Geekonomy.  That means when we see problems in areas of tablets, when we see market shifts, we pay attention.

And here's some conclusions I've come to:

  • Marketing yourself as "not-Apple" is dumb.  Is anyone doing that?  Not exactly, but they're coming off that way because everything has been defined by the iPad.  You have to sell your non-Apple tablet on its own merits, OR it will be seen as "buy it as it's not iPad."
  • Apple is sitting even prettier than before.  The iPad was solid, the iPad 2 is more solid, and the stumbles keep them ahead of the game.
  • Every time a potential iPad competitor makes a mistake, Apple looks better.  Apple doesn't even have to try, they already look pretty good.
  • The more stumbles in the non-iPad Tablet market, the harder it is for a non-iPad Tablet to stand out.
  • Right now I think any Android tablets have to stand out REALLY well.  If things keep meandering into the fall the iPad wins by default.  I don't count the Playbook due to the dedicated base.


  • The Nook may actually be sneaking into the Tablet market.  This may actually work.
  • could easily launch a tablet with Kindle software, music software, etc.  Watch this space – it fits their Ecosystem approach.
  • Microsoft sounds like they want to leapfrog Tablet-mania.  My suspicion is they want to actually create a tablet/peripheral mix.  So they'll make something "tabletlike" but I think they want to invest in unusual and motion/voice controls.  As odd as this sounds, I can see them focusing on home devices, voice-activated computing and maybe even wearable computers.  Microsoft could end up being the radical here.
  • Google's Chrome computer faded away for awhile, but I expect it to come back – in fact that could be the "subtablet" people are looking for.

The Tablet market is going to be around – people like Tablets.  But who succeeds at making them, well . . . that's still up in the air if you're not Apple.  Every bad to mediocre Android or non-Apple tablet cements Apple's position.

Where your apps and books and more go . . . well you want to follow this.

Steven Savage