Get Some Popcorn: Tab War Livens Up

Man and child showing iPad

Things have certainly gotten interesting this week in the Tablet world.

  • Less than seven weeks after HP launched its TouchPad, it abruptly announced today that it would abandon the product.
  • Two days ago, a predominantly U.S.-based survey reported that 94 percent of prospective tab buyers were considering the iPad. Multiple responses were allowed, and, interestingly, the second group at 10 percent was looking at HP’s TouchPad. The survey said 93 percent of current owners had an iPad.
  • That looks like tough going for Android. But then, yesterday, India’s two largest mobile operators announced they are bundling Android tabs to promote take up of their data plans.

It has been interesting to watch developments since Apple burst on the market in early 2010. Between its sleek design (a given for Apple), formidable marketing machine and army of fanboys, Apple grabbed the tab market for itself.

Samsung released a smaller, seven-inch model during the year. But it really felt just like a large Galaxy S phone. They brought out a 10.1 inch model not too long ago, but have a lot of ground to catch up. Meanwhile, HP appears to have botched its efforts right from the start. Despite price cuts, poor marketing — including a plan to make “sleazebag” Russell Brand a spokesman — hampered their efforts.

In typical Western style, the news here is about how the iPad dominates the market and seems to have an insurmountable lead over Android, Windows and RIM. And, in typical Western style, the impact of India’s developments are ignored.

But that country has 852 million mobile subscribers. And the carriers are pushing mobile data. And they are offering low-cost devices.

Both India and China are already the source of many reverse innovations that have resulted in low-cost products finding their way back West. The iPad may be winning on the Western Front, but the war is far from over.

Image courtesy of antonemus on Flickr.