2010 has been the year of the tablet. Little did Bill Gates know that years back when he introduced the tablet concept to the world, his biggest competitor would come up and steal the show with the same concept almost a decade later. The Apple iPad hit the market (already awash in the iPhone buzz) and sent various hardware companies back to the drawing board to compete in an all-new market segment. And we know the result already — there are more announcements than releases and more promises than products.
But we know that the competition will catch up sooner or later. Giants like HP and Samsung are pouring in all their efforts (and R&D money) to develop competitive products in the mobile market. In fact the recently announced Samsung Galaxy Tab actually blows the iPad out of the water when it comes to features. It’s lightweight, open (it’s an Android-based device), sports equally good hardware, and adds a camera. But all those comparisons are meaningless unless the price is competitive with the iPad. When Steve Jobs announced the iPad, he proudly claimed that his team has outdone themselves when it comes to the price target. Yes, the iPad lacks a lot of hardware bits that the Galaxy Tab would bring in, but given the hints we have, Samsung is clearly struggling to match the pricing.
In a market that is just emerging and in which people are still speculating if there really is a space for a tablet in their lives (note: I didn’t find a tablet relevant and gave up my iPad), can you really sell an expensive luxury to the masses? By June, Apple had sold over two million iPads since its April launch, and merely releasing a better product won’t sell. Criticized for making expensive gizmos, for once Apple has pricing on its side.