More proof that there is a market for 7-inch tablets?

While still working at Duke OIT I read several surveys of college students and technology. One of the things that stuck with me was that students that had experience with the iPod and the iPhone were hoping to do more of their computing on portable devices that were smaller then their laptops and larger then their iPod/IPhones.

From Great Tablet War of 2012 article - 

A newer rumor still offers hints at a 7-inch device of the “highest quality,” according to Google’s Eric Schmidt, and it’s said to fall below $199 in price. It could devastate the Kindle Fire in two important respects. First, it’s slightly cheaper. Second, it’s got the words “Don’t Panic” inscribed on its cover in large, friendly letters. We kid: Actually while the Kindle Fire has seen Amazon bury all signs of normal Android beneath a completely Amazon-centric UI designed to funnel only Amazon book, music, and video content to the end user, Google’s tablet will be quintessentially Android 4.0—and thus full-featured. Remember how consumers shied away from netbooks when they realized they were cloistered, non-full-featured laptops? The same risk is what Amazon’s exposed to here, now that the tablet paradigm is well established.

Speaking of the Fire, analyst Tavis McCourt of stockbrokers Morgan Keenan has just courted controversy by actually lowering his predictions for the fourth quarter iPad sales figures of 2011 to 13 million from 16 million. It is, McCourt attests, a direct reaction to predictions about sales of the Kindle Fire over the holiday period—sales which may have reached between four and five million units. In McCourt’s mind this will have directly compromised iPad sales, as there’s only so much money to go round.

7% of purchases made online on Christmas day actually happened by users dabbing at the screen of their iPad—a massive figure that underlines the iPad’s dominance of the market.

But McCourt’s moves are a sign that the Amazon tablet really has made a splash in the marketplace, and if rumors that Amazon is moving to release a new and updated Fire sooner rather than later prove true, then Amazon will certainly consolidate its position.

But it’s not the iPad 3 that’s likely to be Apple’s smartest move in the tablet game. Many a rumor is now suggesting that Apple will keep the iPad 2 in production and on sale, but at a lower price. This is borrowing from the incredible success of the iPhone 3GS, still on sale at bargain prices and selling hand over fist. The figure being mentioned for the new iPad 2 is $299—an amount that will seriously threaten the Kindle Fire because it’s just a few bucks more, for what’s evidently a better machine and one that’s got much more potential and cachet. If Apple really does embrace the 7-inch genre, as other more rarified rumors suggest, then this could even come in below the $299 price, and challenge the upcoming Google tablet.

Leave a Reply