By pretty much any standard you prefer, Apple’s iPad has been nothing short of a smash hit. Love it or hate it, the iPad has completely revolutionized the mobile computing market – to the point that it is even hampering the growth of the PC market. What’s more, it’s not just a consumer device. Research has shown that businesses – especially those with “bring your own device” (BYOD) programs – are adopting the iPad in droves.
The competition, though, isn’t necessarily convinced. Speaking to a media and analyst briefing in Sydney, Australia earlier today Joe Kremer, managing director for Dell Australia, knocked the iPad as unsuitable for business use, due in large part to its price. According to Kremer, “[p]eople might be attracted to some of these shiny devices but technology departments can’t afford to support them.” He went on to say that “I don’t think this race has been run yet,” suggesting that the tablet market is still ramping up.
In a sense, Kremer is right: the tablet race hasn’t been run. There never was a tablet race. Apple’s competition was blindsided by the iPad in 2010. Most of their responses in the two years since have been a parade of too-little-too-late. With a few notable exceptions the non-iPad tablet market has consisted of failure after failure. Some tablets sell quite well, like the Samsung’s Galaxy Tab line and Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Many more, like the BlackBerry Playbook, the Motorola Xoom, and every tablet Dell ever made, do not. Tablet makers other than Apple have found themselves squabbling over a distant second place. What’s more, that isn’t likely to change if recent customer satisfaction data is to be believed.
Of course, Kremer’s argument isn’t wholly without merit. The iPad is expensive, even to the point of being cost-prohibitive for some businesses. What’s more, though the tablet market is effectively a one-horse race at this point, it’s still only two years old. While it’s hard to imagine another tablet knocking the iPad from it’s lofty perch, it’s certainly possible. Google is expected to come out with at least one Google-branded tablet this year, maybe more. It’s possible that a Google-branded device built by Google’s own in-house hardware company, the newly-acquired Motorola Mobility, can succeed where other would-be iPad competitors have failed.[Source: Financial Review]