Tuesday, August 23, 2011

HP's Touchpad Fire Sale Provides Two Key Lessons

Did you manage to buy a Touchpad for $99?  If you did, I truly envy you.  I really do.  It says quite a bit about you.  Okay, you're smart.  Brilliant, really.

I'm sure the mobile device makers already know that.  Some bloggers do too but most generally assume that you aren't too savy when it comes to tech.

And the fire sale of the Touchpad provided two very valuable lessons for those who would try to convince to buy their tablet.  For some like RIM and Motorola, it could already be too late with their current offerings.  They'll make another effort.  But for some just getting ready, like Amazon, learn from this.

First, if you're going to compete at the $499, which is the new $999 as far as tablets are concerned, don't unless you've got a tech that is so much more compelling than the leader.  Right now, that's Apple and its iPad 2.

And if you think by shaving off $50 and that we'll be fooled by that, give up now.  You probably don't have the ecosystem or the attention to detail that the top tiered OS designers have.  Would RIM be where its at now if it had priced the 7" Playbook at $300 instead of $500?  At $300, we would be talking about how RIM is eating into the iPad's market share.

Second, you may want to price it lower by taking out certain features.  We'll know.  Folks, there are already tablets that cost $99 even before the Touchpad dropped to that price.  But they're being compared to the iPad and other Honeycomb-based tablets.

So, don't skimp on features.  There's talks that Amazon may try to do that just with the Kindle Scribe just to keep the price down.  People will know.

See, the typical mobile warrior today are the soccer moms, dad's who buys mobile devices instead of sports cars, savy grandparents who wants to be able to read on their tablets, video chat with their grandkids, and show off how much more they know than their friends, and like my doctor friends who want to use the latest mobile tech in their work.

You device makers who use the boardroom to make decisions instead of trying to make the perfect tablets will probably manage to fool a few folks.  Maybe just once.  But after that, they'll learn.

Keep prices reasonable, be innovative, and absolutely give us no reasons to regret our purchases.

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