Yesterday Boy Genius Report ran the results of a survey on tablets. It revealed a few things, not least of which that the tablet market still has plenty of room to grow. But there is one aspect in particular that struck me, and it strikes me as an opportunity for Android tablet makers. As you can see in the image above, there are many manufacturers from which people would buy a tablet. Of the seven listed, five are Android-based tablets (while a sixth, RIM, will soon run Android apps). Yet it’s the data that follows which makes me think that we could see a surge in Android tablet sales later in the year. Of the people who said they planned to buy a tablet, half said they’d buy the iPad. This is unsurprising. It is the sexy tablet out there, the one with all the apps and all the marketing and all the coolness. That’s all fine and good, but these same customers who said they planned to buy a tablet said that low price was the most important consideration. Hmm. We know that the iPad isn’t a low-cost device — the cheapest is $499, and it thy go up and up from there. So what gives? Apparently these people would consider an Android, instead, if it was considerably cheaper. That is, almost 80 percent said they’d buy an Android tablet instead of an iPad if it cost less than $250. Nearly half said they’d go Android if cost less than $300. Clearly, then, there is an opportunity here. There are plenty of cheap tablets for Android, but in most instances it’s a case of you get what you pay for. There are two issues, though, that could move Android tablets into line with people’s desires. First, carrier subsidies could help sway the tides. Of course, with subsidies come new commitments, and that could get tough. But there seems to be some momentum in the direction of data bundles from carriers, that will work towards all mobile devices, whether a smartphone or a tablet. Perhaps carriers could set up subsidies for existing smartphone users who upgrade their data plans to accommodate their new tablet. That might get complicated, but it is one way to reduce up-front cost. The other approach is attainable probably only by Amazon, but considering their favored status among prospective tablet buyers it just might work. Earlier this year we saw Amazon release an ad-subsidized version of the Kindle. They could certainly do this with their Android tablet, to help get it in the $250-$300 range. That would seem to be the sweet spot for them. They’re the most desired, and they can apparently pull from the iPad market if they get their tablet to a low-end price range. If any company can pull it off, it’s Amazon. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them try that with one of the two tablets they’re reportedly manufacturing.
The market for Android tablets
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