Remember netbooks? Exactly. Two years ago netbooks could do no wrong. They were the future, a way to get work done on the go on a laptop the size of a paperback book. In the end, manufacturers saw them as a great way to squeeze profit out of a moribund product line.
Sadly, I fear that’s where we’re headed in the tablet market.
For a long time it was a few horse race. Motorola, Apple, and Samsung were pumping out top-of-the-line tablets and selling them at a premium, because that’s what the market could support. However, with the launch of the $ 199 Kindle Fire, and more recently the Nexus 7, the floodgates will soon open, driving down prices, quality, and value.
Here’s the pattern: a product group becomes popular. Major players make comparatively expensive products with good QA and designs. Early adopters gobble them up, then there’s a brief period of popular adoption. Then everyone who was going to buy a tablet has a tablet. Positions are taken regarding the various advantages of each type. Flame wars are fought.
Then people stop caring.
As evidenced by the mediocre reviews of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and the many reports of broken Nexus 7 devices, it’s clear that the tablet segment is losing profitability. Build quality and design dedication are falling and the tablets of yesterday, the tank-like Xoom and the rough and tumble Kindle, are ceding to chintzier, cheaper devices designed to entice bargain buyers. As manufacturers realize they have to hit that magical $ 199 price point, the quality will fall even further as more corners are cut. This spiral will continue until OEMs start shipping barely upgraded devices for under $ 200.
Sure, it’s nice to have low-priced options on the market but low price without intrinsic value is bad for the consumer. Resale value, for example, is an excellent indicator of overall demand and no models in recent memory hold their value over a few months. A new Toshiba Excite costs costs $ 400 while a used one tops out at about $ 250. Similar price drops can be seen in nearly every other “value” tablet.
I don’t think we’re going to see the death of tablets the way we saw the death of netbooks. Netbooks were so wildly niche that they just couldn’t survive. Tablets, on the other hand, will be with us for a long, long time. The problem is that we’re about to see tablet stagnation and the quality and value will go down exponentially. The danger is that as profits fall, tablet makers will build cheaper and cheaper hardware while maintaining premium prices. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting there.
Prognoses like these are tough to take early on in a product life cycle by the tell-tale habits of entrenched products are clearly at work here. Manufacturers can either take a huge hit vs. costs – consider the rumors of a $ 199 Surface – or drive down costs. The tendency, of course, is just to go cheaper and cheaper until the product is irrelevant.Related Posts:
This is a video from a submersible surveying underwater cable routes a half-mile beneath the ocean’s surface when it spots Batman. Well, not Batman himself, probably just the latest Bat-Sub that Lucius Fox designed for him. What’s he doing down there? Your guess is as good as mine. Unless you guessed banging mermaids, in which case yours is better (mine was crabbing).
Hit the jump for the of course it’s not Batman dammit, it’s a comb jelly. Please stop emailing me.
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This is a video of a stretched-out Slinky being dropped in slow motion. Amazingly, the bottom end remains motionless in the air until the top of the Slinky catches up to it. Physicist Rod Cross (the sweet ol’ grandpa looking guy!) explains what’s happening and why it appears that way, but I’m still trying to figure out how Slinky traps air spirits in their toys. Also, one time I dropped a Magic 8 Ball and a wizard came out disguised as purple water. Haha, you can’t fool me wizard! (I drank him to absorb his powers).
Hit the jump for two videos of the experiment, the second one with a tennis ball attached!Related Posts:
I bet it’s a portal to Atlantis!
Is this the sonar image of a crasehd 60-foot UFO, 285-feet deep at the bottom of the Botnia Gulf? HELL NO IT’S NOT, DUMMY. And take that foil hat off, you look ridiculous.
Swedish sea treasure hunters have found something extraordinary: A 60-foot disc sunk in the bottom of the ocean, with what appears to be 985-foot-long impact tracks leading to it.
You see a lot of weird stuff in this job but during my 18 years as a professional I have never seen anything like this. The shape is completely round… a circle.
Those are the words of Peter Lindberg, commander of the Ocean Explorer. He and his team found the strange disc on June 19 2011, at 285 feet below the surface of the Botnia Gulf, which is located somewhere between Finland and Sweden in the Baltic.
Well shit, somebody needs to dive their ass down there and put this mystery to rest! Wait a minute…isn’t this how Michael Crichton’s ‘Sphere’ started? Oh shi-shi, now you got me thinking about ‘Jurassic Park’ again. *taking off pants*
Hit the jump for a video about the finding.Related Posts:
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…up the paper correctly? I keep having to unjam and extra sheet that slips through into the back every time I print 1 page, and I can't tell if it's the paper, the humid climate, or the printer… gdgt – new in gadgetsRelated Posts:
…the original Xbox 360 controller, there was the 2.5mm jack and two prongs. I have one of the old style three prong headsets from Microsoft and I plan on keeping it. However, in all the images of the Onza I've seen, it would appear as though there is only the single 2.5 mm jack. If anyone's seen the prototypes, is this true? Has Razer said anything…
Props to gdgt – new in gadgetsRelated Posts:
We’ve been saying this for months: ereaders are a commodity and they’re going to get worse. Now Farhad at Slate thinks we’ll be seeing Kindles for $99 sooner than later and I’d wager you’ll see a $30 reader around the holidays.
Here’s his money shot:
Before the holidays, Amazon will cut the price of the Wi-Fi Kindle to $99, and the 3G version will go for $150 or less. Amazon will do so, I think, not only to sell a lot of Kindles but also to cement its online store as the iTunes for books—the dominant force in the publishing business for the foreseeable future. A $99 price tag will make the Kindle the hottest gift of the season—much cheaper than the $499 iPad, more useful than an Xbox Kinect, and a lot more fun than a cable-knit sweater.
As I said, I’m willing to go one step further and say someone will release a sub-$50 model and sell it at Wal-Mart. This will be the holiday loss leader, probably in conjunction with a major publisher. This will completely parallel the fall of netbooks and it will get ugly near the end.
What think you?
Props to CrunchGearRelated Posts:
From CrunchGear: You must have heard that the Nook and the Kindle, two of the world’s best-selling e-readers, have dropped their prices to below $200 — down to $149 for the Wi-Fi Nook and $189 for the Kindle. It’s bad news for e-readers that recently placed themselves at low price points to compensate for fewer features (like [...] Read more »
Props to gdgt – new in gadgetsRelated Posts: