For some tech industry analysts, shock and awe from the annual computer industry Computex event in Taiwan has been displaced by disappointment and desire for device makers to take smarter approaches, particularly those companies fixated on competing against Apple’s line of iPads.
“There were over 50 new tablets launched at this show, and they all basically follow a PC model of just creating devices with lower prices and very little innovation,” wrote Tim Bajarin, industry analysts at Creative Strategies, in a recent article for PCMag.com.
“Of the 50 tablets I saw, there was probably only one or two that might even have a chance of selling a modest amount,” he wrote.
Even prior to this year’s Computex, IDC analyst Mario Morales expected to see, “an evolution of where they (companies) have so far failed in the areas of smartphones and tablets. Last year, most companies made a big splash by announcing so many types of different tablets that never saw the light of day.”
CCS Insights analysts John Jackson looked forward to nothing more than “incremental iteration on tablet and mobile computing form factors.”
“I’m a bit skeptical about seeing anything that would cause oohs and ahs,” said Johnson.
These analysts have buttressed their criticism with what they believe is desperately needed to meet tablet sales predictions from research firms, including some that are expecting to see over 200 million tablets sold per year by 2014.
“Where they’re missing the real formula is being able to provide the complete solution where they’re bringing the hardware, software and the content piece together and that’s why I fundamentally believe we’re going to see a shakeout in the tablet space,” said Morales.
“Most companies are making the mistake of going directly at Apple in the consumer space. They are ignoring the clear opportunities to play in areas that are more vertical, in fields such as educational and medical that now underserved.”
Morales points out that HP with their Palm OS and understanding of enterprise markets, and RIM, which can leverage their email technology, are two companies positioned to grow tablets sales in vertical industries.
Bajarin suggests that Apple will dominate tablet sales well into 2012, and warns that tablet makers shouldn’t focus solely on hardware.
“I went by one booth of a key semiconductor company that had nine tablets using its chip, and they all looked pretty much the same,” Baharin continued. “Even worse, it just took a stock version of Android and put it on the tablets with no ties to services or any enhanced UI.”
“Content and services, will become more important in the market,” said Johnson, who says it’s vital for new tablets and smartphones to be designed with a complete ecosystem of hardware, software and services in mind.
According to Johnson, innovations in smartphones could move quickly into tablets, especially context-aware, location-based services that leverage camera, GPS, RF and other technologies built inside mobile devices.
“We will also see companies exploiting the full capabilities of the sensory subsystems that we’re on today’s smartphones. These sensory subsystems are becoming mainstream and I think we have yet to see the full potential of these drawn out or made available to third party developers. That’s going to be a bit of a wow-factor, maybe a subtle one at first, but something that will be pretty obvious in the next two or three years.”