If we consider the core Tablet Functions i.e.
- Surfing the Internet
- Checking Email
- Reading Books
- Stalking people on Facebook
- Pretending you’re a photographer on Instagram
- Twittering on Twitter.
- Watching Movies
- Listening to Music
- Using Apps for some core services because websites aren’t yet good enough.
- Playing Games.
It’s interesting to note that most of the ‘amazing hardware features’ being used to market Tablets are irrelevant.
- If Retina Displays and HD Displays are so important, then why is iPad Mini selling so well?
- If processors are so important, then why is Nexus 7 selling less than not just iPad Mini, but also other Android Tablets. Note: Both Chitika and Localytics surveys put Nexus 7 at the 3rd or 4th slot amongst Android Tablets.
- If speed is so important, then why are slow $99 Android Tablets selling relatively well?
- If branding is so important, then why isn’t everyone buying Google and Apple Tablets?
- If having the ‘latest version of the hardware’ and owning the ‘latest model of the Tablet’ are so important, then why are older iPads and old Android Tablets selling so well?
It’s even more interesting to note that companies seem to be ignoring the $99 Rule i.e.
- Demand when a device hits $99 will probably be 2 to 5 times the demand of when the device was at $199.
Let’s consider the Key Question.
Why are companies releasing ‘Advanced Hardware Versions’ for $199 when they could be releasing ‘Improved Software Versions’ for $99?
All Tablet Companies (Amazon, B&N, Google, Apple) are pushing for ‘new advanced hardware versions’ of their Tablets which are at the same price point as the previous generation.
- Amazon is focused on Kindle Fire HD which is $199 and has hardware improvements over the Kindle Fire 1.
- B&N is focused on Nook HD which is $199 and has hardware improvements over Nook Tablet and Nook Color.
- Apple is continuously releasing new models that add more GB or new screens.
- Google is going with prices higher than Amazon and B&N.
It’s as if every Tablet company is blind to the REAL USE CASES of Tablets. More importantly, every company seems absolutely blind to the next big game-changer.
A $99 Tablet is going to be the next BIG Game-Changer
What have been the game-changers in the Tablet Space?
- iPad, for showing the Market exists. Note: The $499 iPad was a LOT cheaper than most high quality laptops. That’s the BIGGEST reason it did well.
- Nook Color and Kindle Fire, for showing and then confirming that the $199 Tablet Market exists. Again, the price was the big differentiator.
- iPad Mini, for showing that even Apple users prefer a $329 8″ Tablet over a $499 10″ Tablet.
What’s the common thread here?
Users were able to get the CORE TABLET USE CASES at a LOWER PRICE POINT.
It’s not Rocket Science.
The device that was able to provide the core functions users need from a computing device, at a lower price point and with more convenience, won. It’s actually exceedingly simple. Let’s just go over that again –
- The cheaper, easier to use iPad stole market share from Laptops.
- The cheaper Nook and Kindle Fire stole market share from iPads (Note: It was an exploding market, so sales went up – However, market share was still taken from iPads).
- The cheaper iPad Mini stole market share from iPads.
It’s a SUPER CLEAR TREND.
Providing the Core Computing Features (Core Tablet Use Cases) in a Cheaper Package = Winning!
You don’t need to have Tiger Blood or Adonis DNA. Just a willingness to provide users the core computing features for a better price.
Note: Computing Features are Not processing power. They are Not screen density. Just the CORE TABLET USE CASES in a fast enough and convenient enough package.
People forget that computers took off and software took off because it replaced enormously expensive tasks. That $300 Office Software was saving people tens of thousands of dollars.
It’s the same with the rise of Tablets. There’s no big genius idea here.
If someone comes to a user and says – Hey, here’s a device that lets you do 80% of what you mostly do with a Computer, and it’s half the price.
She’ll take that offer.
Which brings us to the next NATURAL step in the evolution of Tablets.
A $99 Tablet that is GREAT at the Core Tablet Use Cases
While everyone is running to try and add features that aren’t really needed (super retina display that you can read clearly even when your eyeball is touching the screen) while keeping the cost to customers the same, we need some super smart (or, depending on how you look at it, super dumb) company to say –
Wait a minute, Mr Postman. Are you telling me that these quad core, super retina display, 512 GB RAM Tablets with vulcan technology from Outer Space are being used primarily to check hotmail, Facebook, and read books?
Surely, you couldn’t seriously mean that we are giving users the equivalent of a Cray Supercomputer of the 1980s in their hands and instead of forecasting global weather trends and calculating the preicse location of the Higgs Boson, they just want to know what their grandmother made for supper?
This is ludicrous.
Actually, it’s real life.
People just want a device that will let them do what they want to do – easily, conveniently, well, and cheaply.
There’s absolutely nothing among the Top 10 Core Tablet Use Cases that needs a quad core processor, or a Retina Display, or any other new hardware over what existed in Nook Color and Kindle Fire.
Think about it. Why do we need a quad core processor to check Email?
Actually, let’s write it out –
- Surfing the Internet – What are we going to improve here? Most websites are text and images. They aren’t DNA strands you have to decipher in real time.
- Checking Email – Email. Even 1983 computers could handle email.
- Reading Books – If the eInk Kindle can handle reading books then no reason a Kindle Fire can’t.
- Stalking people on Facebook – Well, there’s definitely room for improvement here. Who wouldn’t like a ‘Who’s stalking you back’ feature.
- Pretending you’re a photographer on Instagram – The worse the screen here, the better.
- Twittering on Twitter – 140 characters (or is it 148). Perhaps we need new technology that changes LMAO into actual English and smacks the user on the side of the head as a bonus.
- Watching Movies – Screens are important here. However, SD vs HD vs HDX is venturing into crazy territory.
- Listening to Music – No idea what magical improvements there can be here.
- Using Apps for some core services because websites aren’t yet good enough – Most devices already work fine for this.
- Playing Games – You don’t need 3D graphics. Most of the bestselling games are 2D and run on even 2 year old devices. Plus, there already are games with 3D graphics.
So, for at least 8 out of the 10 core Tablet Use Cases, we could just use the Kindle Fire 1 or Nook Color. The improvements since then, in terms of how much better the Core Tablet Use Cases are, are incremental.
What Tablet companies should really be doing is figuring out
- How to improve the software – to greatly improve the Top 10 Tablet Use Cases.
- How to squeeze more out of the hardware using software improvements.
- How to get better and better at the core Tablet Use Cases.
- How to reduce prices further.
- How to hit economies of scale.
That would lead to a $99 Tablet that would actually be BETTER for the Top Tablet Use Cases than any Super-Retina Display, 24 Core Processor, $259 Tablet.
The next step in the evolution of Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet, Samsung Tablet should be a $99 device that rules them all.