back to article Memo to iPad mimics: No one wants a $799 knockoff

There's a growing list of would-be iPad killers born each month, but none yet to grok the central message that made Android beat the iPhone: cheapness. Motorola and others may have all sorts of reasons for why their tablets are superior to Apple's iPad, but until the price tag is significantly lower, their devices are going to …

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Yawn

Bored of articles that make vague generalisations about the tablet market...

Lacks depth and does not show evidence of in-depth research. D-

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Welcome

re: Yawn

Maybe don't read what's obviously meant to be an op-ed then? Given the source, it's meant to be an insight into the industry, which it does quite well.

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certainly omits subscription prices

Android tablets are likely to offer those media subscriptins at a significantly lower price than available on Apple products.

And that can make a big difference.

$100 subscription raised to cover the 30% cut for Apple is $142.80.

$100 subscription raised to cover a 10% cut for Android is only $111.11.

That is a $31.69 saving for buying a subscription through Android.

No wonder that Apple tries to illegally control the retail price of media subsciptions by demanding a 30% cut and preventing subscriptions from selling through more efficient markets.

Efficiency in this context means using channels with significantly lower transaction fees.

Android tablets offer significanly lower priced subscriptions compared to iDevices.

Unless Apple acts illegally.

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Re

Agree, research and insight are lacking in this piece.

People won't buy tablets that claim to be better than the iPad but cost the same or more, correct. The reason WHY this is though is different than the article claims. Apple's brand identity is "overpriced" "waste of money" etc. If your tablet is priced the same as the iPad and pitched as a competitor the iPad it will not be purchased because it too then must be overpriced.

Anyone who buys an iPad cares about one thing and one thing only: image. They are buying a piece of garbage technology to prove that they have money to waste on hardware. No other brand conveys this image of overpriced gluttony, so it is pointless to try to compete with the iPad.

Instead these firms should focus on low cost and high productivity. They need to find a way to let tablets actually be useful for something. The first set here should be figuring out a snap on or slide out keyboard that is actually usable.

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Happy

dear oh dear...

nobody made a tablet that anyone wanted, until Apple introduced the iPad. So after X..million sold, it's suddenly a 'piece of garbage technology'....who says? The X...million folk who have bought one? The dozens or more Fortune 500 companies that have/are evaluating it? It may not be 'cutting edge' technology, but....hey it works. Lot's and I mean LOT's of people out there like their technology to just work...like their TV, their radio....like their iPad.

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ok, I'll bite - troll

@Bullseyed: you're obviously trolling, but I'll bite:

By saying that "anyone who buys an iPad cares about one thing....image", you're basically saying that tablets have no function whatsoever. How's that? A year ago, there were no tablets except for the iPad....but even so, they bought it for "image" rather than functionality, right? Yeah - maybe you can give us some of what you're obviously smoking.

About the article: it states the obvious: you can't break into a market that's already dominated by one player by essentially offering the same thing - or even less. You need something to differentiates you from the incumbent in the eyes of the potential buyer. The author is absolutely right that fast 4G connectivity is not such a differentiator - especially when most people who buy tablets will likely just buy them with wi-fi (I would love to see Apple's statistics on how many 3G models they sold - I'd bet that it's less than 10% of total iPads sold).

Sellers of Apple competitor tablets should be much more aggressive in showcasing their ability to handle Flash-based web pages vs. Apple. I can imagine an ad in which both an Android tablet and an iPad go to one of thousands of Flash-heavy web sites - e.g. any of the car web sites - the Android tablet on the left shows the Flash-based content whereas the iPad shows the "Missing Plugin" icon.....repeat for a half dozen web sites.....the customer will get the idea fast.

I have no idea why Android phone and tablet makers haven't done this yet - it's such an obvious differentiator. All I've ever heard is the generic/moronic "Android.....gives you the *whole* Internet..." - like that means anything to the potential buyer.

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Anonymous Coward

Don't want an iPad or "iPad killer"

I keep saying that the people who want an iPad are going to buy an iPad; not many people want a non-Apple iPad.

I want a computer in tablet form and I'm back to thinking it will be a Windows tablet, maybe the Asus models, they are only about $200 more than the Xoom and its a normal computer.

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Windows table?

Ok, hang on.

Before you decide on a Windows tablet, you should try one. Seriously. It's not really a "tablet" experience, it's a "Windows on a touch screen" experience, mostly using the Windows Accessibility tools. If MS put something like Microsoft Surface on a tablet, I'd be first in line, but that's not what Windows on a tablet is, or even close to it.

"non-Apple iPad" is a bit disingenuous. The product is a tablet computer, of which the most popular is currently the ipad. Android, with a comparable interface to iOS, could make a real dent in this market if the manufacturers could get their acts together. The Samsung Galaxy tab is a nice product but too damned expensive. The Dell tablet is a nice product but way overpriced.

It's not a matter of being cheaper than the ipad because of some perception that Android tablets are ipad knock-offs, it's a matter of being cheap enough that someone wanting a tablet would be willing to pay for it.

As in the article, tablets have limited usefulness, and can easily be priced right out of the market. Currently Android tablets are sharply divided into two categories -- sub-$200 junk and wayyyyy too expensive. I suspect the first vendor to find a happy medium will do very well.

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Gates Halo

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

"It's not really a "tablet" experience, it's a "Windows on a touch screen" experience"

I'd more or less agree with that - but it's also precisely why I choose a Windows tablet over an iPad. I've been using Windows tablets since the tc1100 (still use that one even though it's now like 8 years old...). The reason is simple: I want a machine that lets me:

1) use REAL software (I'm into art/web design, so my list is: painter, photoshop, dreamweaver, illustrator, Likno etc.); and

2) lets me draw with pressure sensitivity.

The so-called "drawing" tools for the iPad are OK... ish... if you're not that bothered about using serious drawing software, but the lack of true pressure sensitivity means that the iPad is a non-starter for those who take their art seriously (TO THE HATERS: before you jump on this post, I am not saying that the iPad can't be used to make some pretty decent artwork - I am saying that for higher-range functions, like pressure sensitivity and the ability to run advanced graphics programs, it is simply an inferior tool).

If you want a media consumption/web-browsing tablet, then the iPad is almost certainly the best bet. If you want actual productivity (particularly when it comes to artwork) get a windows tablet. If you're a massive machead and can't stomach handing over your cash to Steve (the other one) then go to axiotron.com. You'll see.

It comes down to choice.

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I've got an iPad, but would really prefer a Windows Tablet

The boss, instead of giving out Christmas bonuses which would nail us hard with a visit from the tax man instead showed up one day with a box of 100 iPads (top config) and said "everyone grab one".

So, I grabbed one and tried it and two months later, am pretty upset that it wasn't thicker because then it would be a decent door stop. I mean really. I have an iPhone 4, I love it too. The iPad is just an iPhone that doesn't fit in your pocket and can't make phone calls.

If I want something that big, I want it to function similar to an iPad when it's on the road but with the ability to sync my iPhone to it. Then when I'm at the office, I want to plug it into a dock and use a keyboard, mouse and respectable sized screen to program or do other work on. The only thing the iPad has done for me so far that I couldn't do on my iPhone was to play the new Back to the Future game from TellTale, but I could play that on a Windows PC, so it's a trade off.

A Windows tablet can play good games, function as a PC, sync my iPhone and all that good stuff. An iPad, so far has been good for little more than keeping coffee rings off my coffee table.

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The best value Android tablet right now is the Nook Color

'Currently Android tablets are sharply divided into two categories -- sub-$200 junk and wayyyyy too expensive. I suspect the first vendor to find a happy medium will do very well.'

Barnes and Noble are this vendor, albeit accidentally. Their Nook Color sells for $250 and once rooted is a very practical and usable Android tablet. You can even run Honeycomb on it. And, indeed, they are selling like hot cakes.

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I'm a sucker for a sweet little toy

"Currently Android tablets are sharply divided into two categories -- sub-$200 junk and wayyyyy too expensive."

I keep pimping this 7" toy I've got here (selective quoting opportunity right there), a Commtiva N700. Also sold as a Linx 7, amongst probably a couple of other names. It has a capacitive screen, Froyo and 512MB RAM. Not the biggest on-board flash ROM at the same 512MB, but you get a micro SD card slot so that's less important.

It's not as snappily responsive as a higher-end tablet like the Tab or Pad, but it's what I would regard as good enough. No Flash because of the 600mhz clock speed, but that hasn't been a big problem. While something like Captain Forever could be nice to try on a toy like that (and if you haven't ever played it, get yourself to www.captainforever.com and have fun), there's still plenty of games in the Android Marketplace that don't depend on Adobe's plugin.

Price-wise, it's £300, as opposed to the Tab's £450 and the iPad's £_shitloads_via_a_contract. Has features like tethering and portable AP functionality without having to root the thing, and £300 is the wifi+3g, SIM-free, no-network-lock, you-actually-own-the-device price.

Plus, at seven inches, it'll fit in a large pocket. The protective wallet you get with it isn't bad either. Find a shop selling this thing and ask to have a play with it, see what you think and whether you like the price in $.

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WTF?

What about Notion Ink's ADAM tablet...

$499 (US) and better specs than th iPad...

http://www.notionink.com/techspecs.php

USB, MicroSD card, and Flash, sounds like a winner to me...

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Tech specs

No one cares about specs. It's the experience that counts.

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Yep...

To boot, it's not an iPad, so it doesn't come with Apple's zany restrictions.

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Yes but

Whenever I look they are sold out...

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$50 for 5GB

How do they keep their prices so low and still make a profit?

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Re

You forgot the joke tag.

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Linux

Been there, done that.

I already have what could be viewed as an "Apple knockoff" that's not exactly cheap. I bought it because I care about the missing features it offers that Apple has chosen to ignore. It's not just about being an Apple knockoff or being cheap. It's about getting what I actually want.

The fanboys are going to try to cast you as some sort of knockoff whatever you do.

Make stuff that's useful, more useful than Apple gear.

...as far as cost goes: real PCs are expensive as tablets. That's why Apple got a lot of mileage out of their approach. They could get away with being cheap. "Being cheap" might not be the best option for everyone.

It's interesting how the tables turn sometimes.

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Archos 70

The Archos 70 is the only tablet worth considering. Great screeen, Great size, Great price. It shows that u can make a great tablet for around 200 quid and that what we all want.

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what we all want?

If it was what we all then Archos would have sold more and be more profitable.

Let me guess, don't tell me: it's all a problem with marketing… nothing wrong with the product?

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Try buying one

They seem to be constantly sold out (at least when I look). So I guess Archos are selling and are profitable.

So more of a problem with supply than specs or marketing.

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Maybe, maybe not

The Archos TV+ was regularly out of stock and that was a POS.

Mine died three times under warranty with power problems (it kept overheating because they hadn't designed it to be always on) and had a drive failure about ten minutes out of warranty that they wanted to charge me ~£140 to get fixed.

They released two OS updates during it's life and after shouting about the brilliant update that would bring slingbox-like features to it for months they quietly binned both the update and the product before it even got to its first birthday.

From the forums I wasn't the only person with problems and I think Archos just wanted it to all go quietly away.

So...It is possible that you can't buy one because it's popular, but it is equally possible that you can't buy one because they're unsupportable rubbish and they're just about to replace it with the next variant.

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Linux

Yeah. Like... advertise.

> Let me guess, don't tell me: it's all a problem with marketing

Well... Are there any Archos stores?

How about Super Bowl Ads?

Regular TV commercials?

Print Ads?

Apple is famous for it's advertising.

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Nope its not the marketing...

Its not the advertising or price either. See, the thing is, Archos just reported record profits, apparently on the back of strong tablet sales...

I don't have an Archos, but I'm considering getting one.

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Linux

Errr..

My android tablet, a POV MobII cost 350 euros and does a very good job of winding the fanbois up whenever it appears.

What I do is ask if anybody has 'some photos on a USB stick' with them.. If that fails I generally try playing 'a HD DivX I downloaded'. All the while complaining loudly that at 350 euros I got ripped off for being on the bleeding edge etc, and to watch as prices tumble during this year.. And that I cant wait to get the upgrade to Gingerbread since this is just running v2.2 and the real OS has yet to arrive.

It works; fanbois don't like it up em.

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I think that might be the problem

The none iPad tablets are only being sold to the very limited number of people who buy a device with the intention of upsetting people who own an iPad whilst the rest of humanity go about their business procreating and generally living life with or without iPads. The problem is they have created a product for a very small and embittered demographic whilst iPads have universal appeal.

Sorry, I have not got nor do intend to get an iPad or any other tablet but buying a device in order to do the "job of winding the fanbois up" is asking to be called sad on a whole new level and boasting about it just gives Register readers a bad name.

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Happy

How's that update working out for you?

Can't wait, Gingerbread came out on December the 6th, that's two & a half months ago. Seems you can wait!

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Grenade

Re: Errr

I suspect you annoy 'fanbois' because you're a dick.

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Happy

Silly

" Sorry, I have not got nor do intend to get an iPad or any other tablet but buying a device in order to do the "job of winding the fanbois up" "

Yes of course; sole reason I brought it. Most fun I've ever had for the money. Now are you -really- sure you don't own an iPad?

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Happy

2.2 works well enough that I am prepared to wait while they polish the release.

The real fun is to come via the community release; this is where having an open(ish) OS on an open(ish) platform really counts.

http://android.modaco.com/content/advent-vega-vega-modaco-com/331467/09-feb-r8-modaco-custom-rom-for-the-advent-vega-with-online-kitchen/

(the POV MobII is a Advent Vega clone).

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Anonymous Coward

AC Say's

Yep! I don't do much computing on the go so why would I need half a laptop?

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Go

"job of winding the fanbois up" is ...

.... as Microsoft says, an undocumented "feature". And a quite desirable one at that.

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Go

So?

What's your point?

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And if you don't ...

... annoy the fanbois according to your logic that makes you a pussy.

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Ooooohhhhh ....

... that stings!

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Alert

Good point

An advantage that some non-IOS devices have is that Apple is starting to be viewed as oppressive while they(Android) are not. Another advantage is that Apple has decided to make a few bucks off of IOS developers presuming that they have the market locked up.

It will be interesting to see how Apple responds to "Honeycomb" as there will be a serious push from non-Apple resellers then. Apple may have to respond with a price cut.

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Re

Starting? Granted, I'm "young" but Apple has been frivolous and oppressive for my lifetime, which mostly covers the "good" years recently.

I've never owned an MP3 player. Know why? Apple DESTROYED the market early on. When I was in the early years of high school there was no iPod. MP3 players came largely from iOmega and Sony. They have vast features such as AM/FM radio tuners, large removable storage and swappable batteries. In comes the iPod with nothing for features and jack for software. But it looks cool man. Take another hit of the weed and look at the COLORS it comes in man.

Suddenly because of "image" the MP3 players with actual features are gone. Only the iPod remains. Like a dog with 3 legs hobbling in a circle, you watch the masses wander around listening to them, feeling sorry for them and wishing someone would put them out of their misery.

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Dude

Uh dude, the Xoom is a Android tablet...

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Yes they are far too expensive...

The Xoom is something I would like to have, but I have no desire for a 3G or 4G version precisely because of the enormous rip-off that are data rates. The Xoom should be priced at $399 - $450 for the wireless b/g/n/3G/4G version, it should be thetherable via blue-tooth to your cell if you so choose, OR you can buy a sim card and a data-only plan. If the service providers want to subsidise sales of devices by piggybacking 3 year contracts on them then let them. The choice should be left to the consumer. An unlocked device is a wonderful thing, much better than a device that is shackled to one service provider.

A question, if I designed and had manufactured a 3G/4G ready device would I need to sell it through a cell provider? I think not. Why not simply sell it on its own and allow the consumer to choose what provider they want (if any). I will not buy a data plan contract to get the device. If Motorola brings the price down to the $400 range (+/- $50.00) I'll buy two, but if they stupidly insist on screwing around and overcharging for their toy then I will buy exactly zero devices.

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3G/4G

Data rates are huge rip-offs, definitely. Unless one is akin to using their Tablet while driving or at a technophobes' home, I can't really see other places that don't have WiFi. (Don't say work, you should be working anyway, right?).

My ideal tablet would be sans-3G/4G. I just can't justify the trickle of data. My email will update when I'm back in a WiFi spot TYVM.

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WTF?

Xoom = Android

Does the author of this piece realise the Xoom is an Android device?

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Stop

Don't believe the hype

"Consumers are bringing their iOS and Android devices to work with them, and enterprise IT is having to live with it." and if they plug the devices in to a network at the firms where I work (take your pick from a big consultancy firm or my clients, currently a Oil and Gas Multinational or National Government) they get warned not to do it and if they do it again they get fired.

Enterprise IT does not have to live with this because there is no business case to support it and masses of downside (i.e. risk), this is a story that RIM and Apple want you to believe so that they can push more consumer products at you. The fact is this is not the case at most companies. Some middle tiers may be taken in by and some stupid senior management may wilfully misunderstand the risks so they can expense the latest shiny thing but every company I have ever worked at has killed this idea stone dead.

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Beat me to it

Enterprise will generally live by the "if we can't control it and it's configuration then it doesn't connect" mantra, and you get sacked for gross misconduct for disobeying.

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WTF?

Too true

I don't know if my max-security workplace would actually shoot an employee for bringing an iPad... wait, it has a camera, right?

Yeah, they would.

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It's coming, it's too trendy to avoid!

I work in a finance trading house, not a PR or trendy ad company and the management are pushing hard to have tablets allowed onto the network for fore remote working, a lot of security research being done to make it happen safely.

Personally I think it's balls, they never bothered when smartphones first came along or personal laptops. You would get fired for even thinking about requesting access for those! Those who drive the company direction have all bought iPads and as usual it's rushed into place! I think the assurance of having verified apps running on non-jailbroken pad is comforting, but no one seems to have considered what happens the first time some pillock plugs in an iPad his kid has jailbroken and it starts causing trouble.

Personally I have no beef with iPads as such, I think they are too clunky for my liking but people seem happy with them, the app store is nice safe place to buy software so good luck to them!

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My former employer's station guards ....

... carried guns, BIG guns, but they didn't shoot IT offenders, they simply had them castrated to prevent future generations from being bad. Of course with the Apple fanbois having already given their souls and glands over to The Sacred J they had to come up with another fix for them. I think they took away their Latte ration or maybe the pink toilet paper.

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Agreed

I'm in agreement, from a consumer point of view, not an expert one. I like the idea of an iPad or similar for sofa based casual web browsing, but not much more. It's a luxury in my view.

But the price of the iPad makes such a luxury unjustifiable, so I was happy to wait for the clones to come along - and that they have, but disappointingly they've all followed Apples pricing (all the real competition, at any rate). Until they come down to a more sensible price I'll continue to wait.

I know Apple will keep a high price point, but I'm fairly sure the others will drop because I can't imagine they'll sell the quantity they're looking for in the immediate future

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Back to front

If all the iPad did was let you surf the web on the sofa then it would be expensive. Apple did have this product in mind when they planned the Safari Pad in 2004-ish. But they scrapped the project.

I think you have unrealistic expectations in the short term. iPad clones won't cost dramatically less without making serious compromises. Of course the pricing will come down eventually, but to build an iPad class tablet and sell it for less than iPad pricing is very, very difficult.

It is the complete opposite of what you think: it is not competitors choosing to following Apple's pricing, it is more competitors struggling to match Apple's low aggressive pricing nearly a year after launch.

Please don't take my word for it, read any good analysis on the same subject and they will tell you exactly the same thing.

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