Books written by Ray Sullivan

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Can Amazon Overtake Apple in the Tablet Race?

A year ago the answer to this question would have been obvious.  Amazon entered the tablet market a full eighteen months after Apple launched the iPad, they pitched in with a pint sized version of Apple's quart, a size that Steve Jobs had said wouldn't cut it, and they pitched in where others had tried and failed.

And a week after the Kindle Fire launch I'd have still come to the same conclusion.  The initial reviews were lack-lustre, faintly damning.  Probably unfairly as most online reviews were comparing the Amazon product against the full sized iPad.

However consumers look at tech a bit differently to reviewers.  For one thing, they tend to have to buy their own kit themselves.  That makes us mortals compare things in the real world.  Sure, product A may transfer data a millisecond faster internally than product B, but it's 33% cheaper, so I'll hang around for a few more milliseconds, right?

And Steve Jobs was wrong about the screen size, as Apple have belatedly admitted by releasing the iPad mini.

So, a year on and there's been a lot of developments in the tablet world.  First off, not only have Amazon released an improved version of the Kindle Fire, they've released it world-wide.  Also, Google have weighed into the battle with their Nexus range that builds a family ranging from the near five inch mobile phone, through the mini tablet Nexus 7 right up to the iPad challenging Nexus 10.

Now Amazon are wading into that battle with the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 - not quite as large as the iPad, but large enough to matter.

But it's the numbers that tell the bigger story.  First, Apple are still leading the pack, which in case you didn't know, is a race between two operating systems - Apple's iOS and Google's Android.  Sure, Amazon have skinned their Kindle Fire Android OS to make it almost their own, but it's Android at its core.

A year ago Apple had about two thirds of the tablet market to itself - it probably felt more than that because the remaining third was spread across a multitude of manufacturers and devices.  Now it holds just over fifty percent, still highly commendable but steadily going south.  Google are denting the numbers, but it's the Amazon Fire that's making the big difference.  In just under twelve months they've gone from zero to hero, or to 54% of the Android market.  I think they will both increase their Android share and narrow the gap between themselves and Apple over the coming Holidays.  Apple have probably had their sales boost with the iPad mini and will see sales level out, whereas the competition in the Android tablet market coupled with the lower level of brand dominance will lead the late shoppers to lever last minute bargains as they hunt for a neat present for loved ones.

Google will probably nibble a bit more from Apple, too, as will the Nook devices from Barnes & Noble that are struggling to be perceived as more than glorified eReaders due to their affiliation with a bookseller - like that logic works against Amazon!

Will Amazon overtake Apple in the tablet market?  Not in the near future, but possibly they could challenge Apple's dominance in the medium term.  This could be the most interesting development in the short history of tablet computing yet.


I can be followed on Twitter too - @RayASullivan
or on Facebook - use to find me

Why not take a look at my books and read up on my Biog here

Want to see what B L O'Feld is up to?  Take a look at his website here

Worried/Interested in the secretive world of DLFs?  Take a look at this website dedicated to DLFs here, if you dare!

No comments:

Post a Comment