The coming tablet wars: Rx for Apple’s competition

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So Samsung and Dell are betting big on India as a market for tablets. Samsung Galaxy Tab made a big splash in the newspapers and partner ads from the likes of Croma are already advertising the brand. Dell too has followed suit with print & online ads for Dell Streak. Other players like Olivepad too are upping the ante.

Apple, which pioneered the concept, continues to ignore India. Maybe Apple is right about China being a better bet for generating huge volumes for their products (I can’t imagine thousands lining up for iPhone 4 in India).

Corporate India viewed the iPhone with skepticism. I can imagine the fear – a new platform, unfamiliar device is not something most people would risk. They are the lifeline for corporates running corporate emails and storing 1000’s of contacts. And the pricing did not help.

Personally speaking, compared to the iPhone, the iPad seems to have had better traction in India. Corporate honchos and diehard PC users (one of whom even asked me if the iPhone can run Windows Mobile. Ouch.) who used to view the iPhone as an intimidating device, have picked up iPads. And seem to be enjoying the experience. What worked? (a) Lower risk: it’s a supplementary device. The trusted PC and the familiar Blackberry continue as usual (b) The large screen size:  browsing, viewing photos & videos seems to evoke a child-like awe (c) the apps.

During his Keynote address at the launch of iPad, he saw the device positioned between a phone and a laptop. He talked about the key things this new device ‘should’ do better in order to succeed and how netbooks do all of those badly.

Going purely by these tasks, the iPad seems to deliver. And Netbooks have taken a beating since the launch of iPad. Will the new ‘iPad killers’ find favour in India? I believe that Dell Streak could be a potential replacement for those seeking an ‘all-in-one’ (smartphone + netbook) experience – it could become the replacement device for the ‘Blackberry boys’ – the suited, booted ones. But a 5-inch entertainment device is not really my idea of an iPad killer. The 7-inch tablets could be great alternatives for those considering a Netbook or an iPad. It is not likely to replace the smartphone though – simply because of the pocket-unfriendly nature of the device. And the jury is out as far as Android’s superiority against the iOS as far as tablets are concerned.

The iPhone opened up the smartphone and the apps market but ignored India. Apps across mobile platforms and telecom operators are the rage now in India. The iPad is likely to go the same way. The only market that’s benefiting from the global launch of iPad in India is the Heera Panna market.

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  1. While most of these devices have potential. The success, or otherwise, of these devices is also dependent on what happens in retail in India. The retail experience is not very encouraging for any of these products.

    Most stores do not have working models or the staff are used to selling feature phones and thus the customer does not get a good perspective on what is on offer and infact the potential of these devices.

    Its something that needs to be addressed immediately.

    • Hi valid point. Even with 30-35k smart phones, the demo piece is merely a brick in the show rooms. Wonder if Samsung and Dell provide real demos?

      • Not been able to see a demo of Samsung yet, not even 5 or 3! Yet to go looking for Dell. The other point is that their sites make it so hard to find stores that stock these phones. Just excel sheets on the site.

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