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Tablets & Smartphones – Good, Bad & Ugly [2011 recap]

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The headline once read: ‘Tablets made news and changed the game in 2011, and they are here to stay’.  With the tablet market almost doubling itself in the last year or so, I have tried to determine a few good, bad & ugly things of some of the leading players in the industry globally & as well as for Indian players who have forayed into Tablet / Smartphone space in recent times.

The Global Players

Samsung

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The Good

  • Definitely The Company of the Moment, with rise to #3 position in market within 2 years.
  • Galaxy nexus being ranked #2 in best gadgets of 2011. Galaxy S II ranked as #1 in Android based smartphone market in India

The Bad

  • Habit of suing Apple over some issue or the other, with the latest being over mathematical coding procedures in processors possibly hurts the image of the company.

The Ugly

  • Fortunately, nothing really bad so far in this year.

Apple

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The Good

The Bad

  • Loss of legend known by the name of Steve Jobs will surely hurt the company in some way or the other, possibly in the near future.
  • Getting into a patent fight with Samsung more often than not. Fact that this time it is just before Christmas may unnecessary hurt the company’s image

The Ugly

  • Fortunately, nothing really bad so far in this year.

Nokia

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The Good

  • Launch of mobile money payment Prepaid wallet services in India expected to make payments faster & less cumbersome as you can make them even without even having a bank account.

The Bad

  • Lukewarm response to Lumia, perhaps the only hope this company on a burning platform has in the near future
  • Partnership with Windows not really making a large impact.

The Ugly

  • Dramatic collapse from the leadership position it once held, in a short time of 2 years
  • Smartphone sales forecasted to fall further by around 30 % from a year ago
  • Symbian based OS losing touch faster than expected.

RIM (Blackberry)

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The Good

The Bad

  • Delay in introducing smartphones powered by its new QNX operating system adding fuel to the fire that the future of RIM, as we know it now, is dim.

The Ugly

  • One of the biggest losers in this US holiday season, with sales expected to decline by another 25% as compared to last year this time.
  • Suggestions that it needs to ditch BB, the product whose introduction actually made everyone take notice of the firm, could spell more danger to its already beaten down share price

I remember the days around 4-5 years back, if someone then asked a question to audience, “How may of you have Nokia cell phones?”, atleast 70-80% of hands used to go up.

Unfortunately the flow of the river has reduced and is on the verge of drying up (Nokia is a river in Finland). Similarly, the future seems black for the company which put the world in continuous motion with enabling its users to have access to emails / chats on the move. The reason for their downfall may be because of no or slow response to changing needs &/or underestimating the pace at which some other players were growing & innovating in this space. As a result others have managed to grab a big share of the apple from them.

It’s a wait & watch game on how & whether these firms fight back their way to the top.

The Indian Players

Reliance

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The Good

  • The tablet/s they have launched have basic functionalities like multi-touch enabled screen, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi with hot spot features, GPS, dual camera, etc present.

The Bad

  • Confused positioning. Instead of spending 13000 on a Reliance tab, one would rather buy a Galaxy tab from a reputed player like Samsung having a proven track record. At the same time, it is not as cheap as Akash, so people who are looking for a cheap tablet may not rank it high on their priority list.
  • Doesn’t score the highest for all the functionalities mentioned

The Ugly

  • Only works with Reliance network ( Remember the same was the case with reliance cell phones in early days) With number portability poised to take off in India, this limitation will surely hurt sales of Reliance tablet in the future.

Aakash (MHRD)

The Good

  • Finally something constructive initiative from our Government, which is in news for bad reasons more often than not.
  • Tata Nano of tablet space, just good enough to be called a tablet and available at really cheap prices

The Bad

  • May not catch the eye of middle / rich class youngsters in cities where in showing off a latest version of the tablet has become a norm.
  • People have transitioned from usage of desktops to laptops and now Smartphones/tablets in cities. With desktops/laptops not yet penetrating the actual needy completely, we are not quite sure how much this “jump” directly to tablet will succeed.

The Ugly

  • Just launched, wait & watch for us as far as its performance, usage & perception are concerned.

The perception of tablets / smartphones from Indian players vis-à-vis those from other global biggies will play a bigger role in determining their success or failure rather than anything else. A consumer must really find value in a Reliance / HCL tablet to persuade him to choose them over an Apple/Samsung product.  They have not yet established a brand name in this segment like that of Apple, RIM or Samsung. With price still being a major differential in India, the point of focus could be on providing all features/applications of a similar capacity phone albeit at a lower price (possibly Reliance strategy currently), providing basic features at lowest price (Aakash) or maximizing the number of features at same price of that of another phone. Again, time will tell which one of these 3 strategies works the best for our Indian players.

[Note: Yes, there are many other players in Tablet / Smartphone market (in India as well as Globally), however, we have covered only the significant ones who have made some kind of inroads with consumers]

[This guest post has been written by Shekhar Lele – He is a Banker by profession, blogger & writer by passion &
choice. To know more about my belief in “Power of simplicity”, visit shekharlele.wordpress.com
]

  1. Mobile Locator says

    Aakash Tablet is really a great invention. I have Samsung Galaxy SII and I can say that this is the best phone ever.

  2. Roses Gifts says

    I appreciate these comments. visit rosesandgifts dot com.(send gifts, flowers and cakes to India.).

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