Lets not kid ourselves, the iPad was kicking the snot out of every tablet out there, it didn’t matter what category or what reason you
needed wanted a tablet, the iPad was the answer. Very few people could argue otherwise. With the first version of the iPad, and for a lack of a better term, it was essentially a consumer ‘blitzkrieg’, Apple owned the segment, from price point, to advertising, to apps, to OS, hardware performance, and beyond. But a peculiar thing happened, for some reason, a tablet no one was paying any attention to, has had everyone’s attention for the last 2 weeks. At $499 and even $399 this tablet was frowned upon but at $99 (16GB base model) it is something that everyone who wants one should have. It has also opened the door to discussion that if a tablet has flash, one does not need apps. The HP TouchPad (if you didn’t figure it out by now) has changed the tablet landscape forever.
Since the price drop roughly two weeks ago, the TouchPads have made some appearances in limited quantity, but for the most part they have been completely sold out, HP has decided to produce additional units, and with the news more TouchPads are on the way and due to this fire sale, one can safely assume that not very many $500 tablets are being sold right now. It was okay to buy a tablet for 500 dollars if it had the Apple logo on it, and it was okay to want an Android tablet at that price point because it was an acceptable alternative to some but even if you want to assume that the TouchPad only has 80% of the capacity of the iPad 2 and the best Android tablet, at 80% off the price it becomes a great tablet to own. There are still many reasons why the iPad 2 is still better, and if you visit many forums the debate rages on! What many people don’t realize is that history will remember this time differently, it will be remembered for the time people will stop buying tablets at their current pace and the market will have finally saturated. Bold words I know, first realize that I wrote when the BlackBerry PlayBook came out, they would regret not starting the 16GB version at $399. You can read about that here. I felt that at $399 an average consumer could feel justified in buying the PlayBook. Those with extra disposable income to spend and who already had the iPad 2 could also pick up the PlayBook, as having flash support for some web surfing is required and the experience on the BlackBerry was quite pleasant as well as its convenient form factor. Realistically, not too many are willing to carry or even purchase two tablets just so then can have flash and full app support. Depending on what I am doing, I always find some way to need one when I have the other. But back to what I was talking about when I said it was the end of the era of tablets.
I think I’ve caught on to something before anyone else has, a shift in the consciousness of the consumer, all of a sudden when presented with a tablet that a manufacturer thought that the average consumer would buy at $499 (16GB Base Model) and then no one did, only to have it sell for $99 6 or 7 short weeks later has or will have changed the ‘psyche’ of every tablet buying consumer. Now, I don’t have a crystal ball, and the only thing I may have caught was a cold, but hear me out on and lets see how it plays out together. To further this theory (I did not base it on the graph) take a look at this graph,
Now it would be easy to dissect the information and make it say what I want you to believe, rather, I think it is trying to tell a story, and that story is people like having a portable ‘computing’ device that surfs the web and allows them to use social media, share their photos, to waste some time on either playing games or watching a movie, and they want all of this to run flawlessly with no issues. Now I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds exactly like the HP TouchPad, the Motorola Xoom, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the BlackBerry Playbook, and the Apple iPad 2. The only difference is, one of these is 400 dollars less then the rest. Case closed. (Hahah, just kidding, I know it can never be that easy) So, after the dust settles and the market is saturated with another couple hundred thousand TouchPads, what will remain? I can’t say with certainty, but I suspect that we will not have a complete sellout of the iPad 3 at release, and other tablets that come out to the market will either have a cheap price point or superior specification but not both. Keep in mind that tablets are only in their infancy and that many changes and advancements are still to come, however people will pause before making that next tablet purchase. That will be the first sign to the public and the manufacturer’s that the era of tablets is really over. Really think about it, will you buy an iPad 3 and if you answer yes, then in 1.5 years from now will you buy the iPad 4? We won’t really know what the widespread repercussions of the HP TouchPad fire sale will have until the iPad 3 is released, and it may affect everyone but Apple. Only time will tell, but consider yourself informed or at the very least amused, it will be interesting to come back to this blog 1 year from now and see how everything played out. So its a date, I will see you all on September 5th, 2012 and we will see how this prediction turned out!