Microsoft just posted a really good quarter and has been openly criticized for its lack of strategy in the tablet market and other consumer market. This software giant has failed to innovate in many fronts despite massive resources and strong talent based. The company has also failed to create any buzz on their product launches; you wonder what is not working with this company. It is not lack of money for sure, and not about lack of talent either.
The iPad has only been on the market for half a year, the buzz has quiet down but adoption is high and broad unlike previous products. This is an instant success and looks like no one us close to being a threat. Though Samsung, LG, HTC, Dell, HP and Lenovo, and others are unveiling their own tablets, no on has the advantage of full software and hardware integration. Apple’s complete integration of hardware, software, operating system, and applications is a major competitive advantage.
Many think Galaxy is only potential threat to Apple. The Galaxy’s screen has about three times the surface area of typical smart phones, including the phone. When it comes to tablet features and performance, here’s how the Galaxy measures up to the iPad. The Galaxy is about the size of large paperbacks and don’t expect battery to last more than 8 hrs.
Samsung has identified two problems to solve as a competitive weapon to compete against iPad. First is flash. And then the other is face-to-face communication. The Galaxy has two cameras, one facing you and the other facing away, and you can use the Qik app to videoconference with other online members. This is an attractive feature and for sure will be matched quickly.
There are a handful of Qik enabled phones out there, but it still hard to find someone to talk than using Skype. iPad2 might incorporate a camera and FaceTime. Android have more apps, above100, 000 apps but the proportion of high-quality apps that you have to pay for has not gone up significantly. Apple leans way the other way on this, limiting some of its 300,000 apps solely to iPad distribution. And most are willing to apps for the iPad. Mobile usage has become pervasive. Mobile devices (smart phones, tablets and whatever in between) will be experienced dramatic evolution in the next 5 years. It is the new competitive ground and becoming a real category on its own rather than something as complimentary to the PCs.
These tablets or large smart phones are fast becoming mini-computers with nearly 13 million iPads shipped this year and expect to grow 3x next year. These tablets’ bigger screens promise more immersive experiences for marketers. The web will become more app like and the user experiences will converge. I can see tons of innovation opportunities to drive new behavior. It is so easy to view content on iPad and people considered that as less private, and more willing to share. 2-3 users sitting in a coffee shop can easily view the screen. And as a shared device, the iPad invites social interaction and imagine design apps for real life social interactions rather than virtual. A game that can be passed around and played or something that people can use in a retail environment, sort of self-help navigation in mall and view merchandise and promotions etc. I can come up with another ten scenarios.
I am looking forward to see the Blackberry Tablet rumored to cost just under $500. The PlayBook will have a smaller screen than the iPad (7-inch PlayBook versus 9.7-inch iPad), and there won’t be a 3G option (it shouldn’t as it should use the BlackBerry connection). The screen resolution will be similar the iPad, but will translate to more pixels per inch. The PlayBook will also have bigger ram than the iPad (1GB PlayBook versus 256MB iPad), and RIM also included in two cameras (5MP back, 3MP front). I think this is useful for BalackBerry users like me and will guaranteed a minimum adoption. Great, now I’ve got one more thing to add to my briefcase.
Idris Mootee is the CEO of idea couture, a strategic innovation and experience design firm. He is the author of four books, tens of published articles, and a frequent speaker at business conferences and executive retreats.