back to article Memo to iPad mimics: No one wants a $799 knockoff

There's a growing list of would-be iPad killers born each month, but none yet to grok the central message that made Android beat the iPhone: cheapness. Motorola and others may have all sorts of reasons for why their tablets are superior to Apple's iPad, but until the price tag is significantly lower, their devices are going to …


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  1. semprance


    Bored of articles that make vague generalisations about the tablet market...

    Lacks depth and does not show evidence of in-depth research. D-

    1. Annihilator

      re: Yawn

      Maybe don't read what's obviously meant to be an op-ed then? Given the source, it's meant to be an insight into the industry, which it does quite well.

    2. Lewis Mettler

      certainly omits subscription prices

      Android tablets are likely to offer those media subscriptins at a significantly lower price than available on Apple products.

      And that can make a big difference.

      $100 subscription raised to cover the 30% cut for Apple is $142.80.

      $100 subscription raised to cover a 10% cut for Android is only $111.11.

      That is a $31.69 saving for buying a subscription through Android.

      No wonder that Apple tries to illegally control the retail price of media subsciptions by demanding a 30% cut and preventing subscriptions from selling through more efficient markets.

      Efficiency in this context means using channels with significantly lower transaction fees.

      Android tablets offer significanly lower priced subscriptions compared to iDevices.

      Unless Apple acts illegally.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Agree, research and insight are lacking in this piece.

      People won't buy tablets that claim to be better than the iPad but cost the same or more, correct. The reason WHY this is though is different than the article claims. Apple's brand identity is "overpriced" "waste of money" etc. If your tablet is priced the same as the iPad and pitched as a competitor the iPad it will not be purchased because it too then must be overpriced.

      Anyone who buys an iPad cares about one thing and one thing only: image. They are buying a piece of garbage technology to prove that they have money to waste on hardware. No other brand conveys this image of overpriced gluttony, so it is pointless to try to compete with the iPad.

      Instead these firms should focus on low cost and high productivity. They need to find a way to let tablets actually be useful for something. The first set here should be figuring out a snap on or slide out keyboard that is actually usable.

      1. johnnymotel

        dear oh dear...

        nobody made a tablet that anyone wanted, until Apple introduced the iPad. So after X..million sold, it's suddenly a 'piece of garbage technology'....who says? The X...million folk who have bought one? The dozens or more Fortune 500 companies that have/are evaluating it? It may not be 'cutting edge' technology, but....hey it works. Lot's and I mean LOT's of people out there like their technology to just their TV, their their iPad.

      2. Thomas Wolf

        ok, I'll bite - troll

        @Bullseyed: you're obviously trolling, but I'll bite:

        By saying that "anyone who buys an iPad cares about one thing....image", you're basically saying that tablets have no function whatsoever. How's that? A year ago, there were no tablets except for the iPad....but even so, they bought it for "image" rather than functionality, right? Yeah - maybe you can give us some of what you're obviously smoking.

        About the article: it states the obvious: you can't break into a market that's already dominated by one player by essentially offering the same thing - or even less. You need something to differentiates you from the incumbent in the eyes of the potential buyer. The author is absolutely right that fast 4G connectivity is not such a differentiator - especially when most people who buy tablets will likely just buy them with wi-fi (I would love to see Apple's statistics on how many 3G models they sold - I'd bet that it's less than 10% of total iPads sold).

        Sellers of Apple competitor tablets should be much more aggressive in showcasing their ability to handle Flash-based web pages vs. Apple. I can imagine an ad in which both an Android tablet and an iPad go to one of thousands of Flash-heavy web sites - e.g. any of the car web sites - the Android tablet on the left shows the Flash-based content whereas the iPad shows the "Missing Plugin" icon.....repeat for a half dozen web sites.....the customer will get the idea fast.

        I have no idea why Android phone and tablet makers haven't done this yet - it's such an obvious differentiator. All I've ever heard is the generic/moronic " you the *whole* Internet..." - like that means anything to the potential buyer.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't want an iPad or "iPad killer"

    I keep saying that the people who want an iPad are going to buy an iPad; not many people want a non-Apple iPad.

    I want a computer in tablet form and I'm back to thinking it will be a Windows tablet, maybe the Asus models, they are only about $200 more than the Xoom and its a normal computer.

    1. Ron Christian

      Windows table?

      Ok, hang on.

      Before you decide on a Windows tablet, you should try one. Seriously. It's not really a "tablet" experience, it's a "Windows on a touch screen" experience, mostly using the Windows Accessibility tools. If MS put something like Microsoft Surface on a tablet, I'd be first in line, but that's not what Windows on a tablet is, or even close to it.

      "non-Apple iPad" is a bit disingenuous. The product is a tablet computer, of which the most popular is currently the ipad. Android, with a comparable interface to iOS, could make a real dent in this market if the manufacturers could get their acts together. The Samsung Galaxy tab is a nice product but too damned expensive. The Dell tablet is a nice product but way overpriced.

      It's not a matter of being cheaper than the ipad because of some perception that Android tablets are ipad knock-offs, it's a matter of being cheap enough that someone wanting a tablet would be willing to pay for it.

      As in the article, tablets have limited usefulness, and can easily be priced right out of the market. Currently Android tablets are sharply divided into two categories -- sub-$200 junk and wayyyyy too expensive. I suspect the first vendor to find a happy medium will do very well.

      1. whiteafrican
        Gates Halo

        The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

        "It's not really a "tablet" experience, it's a "Windows on a touch screen" experience"

        I'd more or less agree with that - but it's also precisely why I choose a Windows tablet over an iPad. I've been using Windows tablets since the tc1100 (still use that one even though it's now like 8 years old...). The reason is simple: I want a machine that lets me:

        1) use REAL software (I'm into art/web design, so my list is: painter, photoshop, dreamweaver, illustrator, Likno etc.); and

        2) lets me draw with pressure sensitivity.

        The so-called "drawing" tools for the iPad are OK... ish... if you're not that bothered about using serious drawing software, but the lack of true pressure sensitivity means that the iPad is a non-starter for those who take their art seriously (TO THE HATERS: before you jump on this post, I am not saying that the iPad can't be used to make some pretty decent artwork - I am saying that for higher-range functions, like pressure sensitivity and the ability to run advanced graphics programs, it is simply an inferior tool).

        If you want a media consumption/web-browsing tablet, then the iPad is almost certainly the best bet. If you want actual productivity (particularly when it comes to artwork) get a windows tablet. If you're a massive machead and can't stomach handing over your cash to Steve (the other one) then go to You'll see.

        It comes down to choice.

        1. CheesyTheClown
          Thumb Up

          I've got an iPad, but would really prefer a Windows Tablet

          The boss, instead of giving out Christmas bonuses which would nail us hard with a visit from the tax man instead showed up one day with a box of 100 iPads (top config) and said "everyone grab one".

          So, I grabbed one and tried it and two months later, am pretty upset that it wasn't thicker because then it would be a decent door stop. I mean really. I have an iPhone 4, I love it too. The iPad is just an iPhone that doesn't fit in your pocket and can't make phone calls.

          If I want something that big, I want it to function similar to an iPad when it's on the road but with the ability to sync my iPhone to it. Then when I'm at the office, I want to plug it into a dock and use a keyboard, mouse and respectable sized screen to program or do other work on. The only thing the iPad has done for me so far that I couldn't do on my iPhone was to play the new Back to the Future game from TellTale, but I could play that on a Windows PC, so it's a trade off.

          A Windows tablet can play good games, function as a PC, sync my iPhone and all that good stuff. An iPad, so far has been good for little more than keeping coffee rings off my coffee table.

      2. jotheberlock

        The best value Android tablet right now is the Nook Color

        'Currently Android tablets are sharply divided into two categories -- sub-$200 junk and wayyyyy too expensive. I suspect the first vendor to find a happy medium will do very well.'

        Barnes and Noble are this vendor, albeit accidentally. Their Nook Color sells for $250 and once rooted is a very practical and usable Android tablet. You can even run Honeycomb on it. And, indeed, they are selling like hot cakes.

      3. M Gale

        I'm a sucker for a sweet little toy

        "Currently Android tablets are sharply divided into two categories -- sub-$200 junk and wayyyyy too expensive."

        I keep pimping this 7" toy I've got here (selective quoting opportunity right there), a Commtiva N700. Also sold as a Linx 7, amongst probably a couple of other names. It has a capacitive screen, Froyo and 512MB RAM. Not the biggest on-board flash ROM at the same 512MB, but you get a micro SD card slot so that's less important.

        It's not as snappily responsive as a higher-end tablet like the Tab or Pad, but it's what I would regard as good enough. No Flash because of the 600mhz clock speed, but that hasn't been a big problem. While something like Captain Forever could be nice to try on a toy like that (and if you haven't ever played it, get yourself to and have fun), there's still plenty of games in the Android Marketplace that don't depend on Adobe's plugin.

        Price-wise, it's £300, as opposed to the Tab's £450 and the iPad's £_shitloads_via_a_contract. Has features like tethering and portable AP functionality without having to root the thing, and £300 is the wifi+3g, SIM-free, no-network-lock, you-actually-own-the-device price.

        Plus, at seven inches, it'll fit in a large pocket. The protective wallet you get with it isn't bad either. Find a shop selling this thing and ask to have a play with it, see what you think and whether you like the price in $.

  3. Ray 2

    What about Notion Ink's ADAM tablet...

    $499 (US) and better specs than th iPad...

    USB, MicroSD card, and Flash, sounds like a winner to me...

    1. Rolf Howarth

      Tech specs

      No one cares about specs. It's the experience that counts.

    2. Tim Bates


      To boot, it's not an iPad, so it doesn't come with Apple's zany restrictions.

    3. Robert E A Harvey
      Thumb Down

      Yes but

      Whenever I look they are sold out...

  4. DrXym

    $50 for 5GB

    How do they keep their prices so low and still make a profit?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You forgot the joke tag.


    Been there, done that.

    I already have what could be viewed as an "Apple knockoff" that's not exactly cheap. I bought it because I care about the missing features it offers that Apple has chosen to ignore. It's not just about being an Apple knockoff or being cheap. It's about getting what I actually want.

    The fanboys are going to try to cast you as some sort of knockoff whatever you do.

    Make stuff that's useful, more useful than Apple gear. far as cost goes: real PCs are expensive as tablets. That's why Apple got a lot of mileage out of their approach. They could get away with being cheap. "Being cheap" might not be the best option for everyone.

    It's interesting how the tables turn sometimes.

  6. Brian 6
    Thumb Up

    Archos 70

    The Archos 70 is the only tablet worth considering. Great screeen, Great size, Great price. It shows that u can make a great tablet for around 200 quid and that what we all want.

    1. aThingOrTwo

      what we all want?

      If it was what we all then Archos would have sold more and be more profitable.

      Let me guess, don't tell me: it's all a problem with marketing… nothing wrong with the product?

      1. James Hughes 1

        Try buying one

        They seem to be constantly sold out (at least when I look). So I guess Archos are selling and are profitable.

        So more of a problem with supply than specs or marketing.

        1. chr0m4t1c

          Maybe, maybe not

          The Archos TV+ was regularly out of stock and that was a POS.

          Mine died three times under warranty with power problems (it kept overheating because they hadn't designed it to be always on) and had a drive failure about ten minutes out of warranty that they wanted to charge me ~£140 to get fixed.

          They released two OS updates during it's life and after shouting about the brilliant update that would bring slingbox-like features to it for months they quietly binned both the update and the product before it even got to its first birthday.

          From the forums I wasn't the only person with problems and I think Archos just wanted it to all go quietly away.

          So...It is possible that you can't buy one because it's popular, but it is equally possible that you can't buy one because they're unsupportable rubbish and they're just about to replace it with the next variant.

      2. JEDIDIAH

        Yeah. Like... advertise.

        > Let me guess, don't tell me: it's all a problem with marketing

        Well... Are there any Archos stores?

        How about Super Bowl Ads?

        Regular TV commercials?

        Print Ads?

        Apple is famous for it's advertising.

      3. Ocular Sinister
        Thumb Up

        Nope its not the marketing...

        Its not the advertising or price either. See, the thing is, Archos just reported record profits, apparently on the back of strong tablet sales...

        I don't have an Archos, but I'm considering getting one.

  7. Owen Carter


    My android tablet, a POV MobII cost 350 euros and does a very good job of winding the fanbois up whenever it appears.

    What I do is ask if anybody has 'some photos on a USB stick' with them.. If that fails I generally try playing 'a HD DivX I downloaded'. All the while complaining loudly that at 350 euros I got ripped off for being on the bleeding edge etc, and to watch as prices tumble during this year.. And that I cant wait to get the upgrade to Gingerbread since this is just running v2.2 and the real OS has yet to arrive.

    It works; fanbois don't like it up em.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I think that might be the problem

      The none iPad tablets are only being sold to the very limited number of people who buy a device with the intention of upsetting people who own an iPad whilst the rest of humanity go about their business procreating and generally living life with or without iPads. The problem is they have created a product for a very small and embittered demographic whilst iPads have universal appeal.

      Sorry, I have not got nor do intend to get an iPad or any other tablet but buying a device in order to do the "job of winding the fanbois up" is asking to be called sad on a whole new level and boasting about it just gives Register readers a bad name.

      1. Owen Carter


        " Sorry, I have not got nor do intend to get an iPad or any other tablet but buying a device in order to do the "job of winding the fanbois up" "

        Yes of course; sole reason I brought it. Most fun I've ever had for the money. Now are you -really- sure you don't own an iPad?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          AC Say's

          Yep! I don't do much computing on the go so why would I need half a laptop?

        2. Doug Glass

          Ooooohhhhh ....

          ... that stings!

      2. Doug Glass

        "job of winding the fanbois up" is ...

        .... as Microsoft says, an undocumented "feature". And a quite desirable one at that.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      How's that update working out for you?

      Can't wait, Gingerbread came out on December the 6th, that's two & a half months ago. Seems you can wait!

      1. Owen Carter

        2.2 works well enough that I am prepared to wait while they polish the release.

        The real fun is to come via the community release; this is where having an open(ish) OS on an open(ish) platform really counts.

        (the POV MobII is a Advent Vega clone).

    3. RichyS

      Re: Errr

      I suspect you annoy 'fanbois' because you're a dick.

      1. Doug Glass


        What's your point?

      2. Doug Glass

        And if you don't ...

        ... annoy the fanbois according to your logic that makes you a pussy.

  8. Eduard Coli

    Good point

    An advantage that some non-IOS devices have is that Apple is starting to be viewed as oppressive while they(Android) are not. Another advantage is that Apple has decided to make a few bucks off of IOS developers presuming that they have the market locked up.

    It will be interesting to see how Apple responds to "Honeycomb" as there will be a serious push from non-Apple resellers then. Apple may have to respond with a price cut.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Starting? Granted, I'm "young" but Apple has been frivolous and oppressive for my lifetime, which mostly covers the "good" years recently.

      I've never owned an MP3 player. Know why? Apple DESTROYED the market early on. When I was in the early years of high school there was no iPod. MP3 players came largely from iOmega and Sony. They have vast features such as AM/FM radio tuners, large removable storage and swappable batteries. In comes the iPod with nothing for features and jack for software. But it looks cool man. Take another hit of the weed and look at the COLORS it comes in man.

      Suddenly because of "image" the MP3 players with actual features are gone. Only the iPod remains. Like a dog with 3 legs hobbling in a circle, you watch the masses wander around listening to them, feeling sorry for them and wishing someone would put them out of their misery.

  9. smokeeater218


    Uh dude, the Xoom is a Android tablet...

  10. Stephen Bungay

    Yes they are far too expensive...

    The Xoom is something I would like to have, but I have no desire for a 3G or 4G version precisely because of the enormous rip-off that are data rates. The Xoom should be priced at $399 - $450 for the wireless b/g/n/3G/4G version, it should be thetherable via blue-tooth to your cell if you so choose, OR you can buy a sim card and a data-only plan. If the service providers want to subsidise sales of devices by piggybacking 3 year contracts on them then let them. The choice should be left to the consumer. An unlocked device is a wonderful thing, much better than a device that is shackled to one service provider.

    A question, if I designed and had manufactured a 3G/4G ready device would I need to sell it through a cell provider? I think not. Why not simply sell it on its own and allow the consumer to choose what provider they want (if any). I will not buy a data plan contract to get the device. If Motorola brings the price down to the $400 range (+/- $50.00) I'll buy two, but if they stupidly insist on screwing around and overcharging for their toy then I will buy exactly zero devices.

    1. Ammaross Danan


      Data rates are huge rip-offs, definitely. Unless one is akin to using their Tablet while driving or at a technophobes' home, I can't really see other places that don't have WiFi. (Don't say work, you should be working anyway, right?).

      My ideal tablet would be sans-3G/4G. I just can't justify the trickle of data. My email will update when I'm back in a WiFi spot TYVM.

  11. Alex 68

    Xoom = Android

    Does the author of this piece realise the Xoom is an Android device?

  12. fatchap

    Don't believe the hype

    "Consumers are bringing their iOS and Android devices to work with them, and enterprise IT is having to live with it." and if they plug the devices in to a network at the firms where I work (take your pick from a big consultancy firm or my clients, currently a Oil and Gas Multinational or National Government) they get warned not to do it and if they do it again they get fired.

    Enterprise IT does not have to live with this because there is no business case to support it and masses of downside (i.e. risk), this is a story that RIM and Apple want you to believe so that they can push more consumer products at you. The fact is this is not the case at most companies. Some middle tiers may be taken in by and some stupid senior management may wilfully misunderstand the risks so they can expense the latest shiny thing but every company I have ever worked at has killed this idea stone dead.

    1. Mark 65

      Beat me to it

      Enterprise will generally live by the "if we can't control it and it's configuration then it doesn't connect" mantra, and you get sacked for gross misconduct for disobeying.

      1. dogged

        Too true

        I don't know if my max-security workplace would actually shoot an employee for bringing an iPad... wait, it has a camera, right?

        Yeah, they would.

        1. Doug Glass

          My former employer's station guards ....

          ... carried guns, BIG guns, but they didn't shoot IT offenders, they simply had them castrated to prevent future generations from being bad. Of course with the Apple fanbois having already given their souls and glands over to The Sacred J they had to come up with another fix for them. I think they took away their Latte ration or maybe the pink toilet paper.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      It's coming, it's too trendy to avoid!

      I work in a finance trading house, not a PR or trendy ad company and the management are pushing hard to have tablets allowed onto the network for fore remote working, a lot of security research being done to make it happen safely.

      Personally I think it's balls, they never bothered when smartphones first came along or personal laptops. You would get fired for even thinking about requesting access for those! Those who drive the company direction have all bought iPads and as usual it's rushed into place! I think the assurance of having verified apps running on non-jailbroken pad is comforting, but no one seems to have considered what happens the first time some pillock plugs in an iPad his kid has jailbroken and it starts causing trouble.

      Personally I have no beef with iPads as such, I think they are too clunky for my liking but people seem happy with them, the app store is nice safe place to buy software so good luck to them!

  13. eddyr
    Thumb Up


    I'm in agreement, from a consumer point of view, not an expert one. I like the idea of an iPad or similar for sofa based casual web browsing, but not much more. It's a luxury in my view.

    But the price of the iPad makes such a luxury unjustifiable, so I was happy to wait for the clones to come along - and that they have, but disappointingly they've all followed Apples pricing (all the real competition, at any rate). Until they come down to a more sensible price I'll continue to wait.

    I know Apple will keep a high price point, but I'm fairly sure the others will drop because I can't imagine they'll sell the quantity they're looking for in the immediate future

    1. aThingOrTwo

      Back to front

      If all the iPad did was let you surf the web on the sofa then it would be expensive. Apple did have this product in mind when they planned the Safari Pad in 2004-ish. But they scrapped the project.

      I think you have unrealistic expectations in the short term. iPad clones won't cost dramatically less without making serious compromises. Of course the pricing will come down eventually, but to build an iPad class tablet and sell it for less than iPad pricing is very, very difficult.

      It is the complete opposite of what you think: it is not competitors choosing to following Apple's pricing, it is more competitors struggling to match Apple's low aggressive pricing nearly a year after launch.

      Please don't take my word for it, read any good analysis on the same subject and they will tell you exactly the same thing.

      1. Gordon 10

        Two words

        Advent Vega - £250 very very comparable functionally to an iPad.

        Also note that there is a huge difference between the hardware cost of an iPad compared to retail. Apple ARE making a very good markup on each one.

        I do tend to agree that most of the usual suspects will/ are overpricing their tablets though. Whether this is through belief in their brands or completely misjudging the market remains to be seen.

        1. aThingOrTwo

          Re: Advent Vega

          This device has none of the appeal or quality of the iPad. It is also lacking in quite a few important specs as well. I completely disagree it is anyway functionally comparable to Cupertino's offering. Far from very, very close, the two devices couldn't be further apart.

          The Vega trades quality build materials for cheap ones, base 16GB of flash storage for 512MB and a SD card, LED backlit IPS Screen for a lower resolution screen without IPS, a 10 hour battery for a 6 hour one, 802.11n for 802.11g etc. etc. etc.

          It doesn't take much digging to see where the costs have been saved. Reviews also found problems with interaction — the edges of the screen not being as responsive as the middle, not picking up touches etc. And I haven't even mentioned it's running an OS which Google doesn't even recommend for tablets. Advent barely did any customisations like Samsung did with the Tab. No Android Marketplace either.

          Look, I don't doubt or dispute Apple are making good profit on every device, but that it more to do with their operations, end to end integration and buying power. For their competitors is is a different story and it is very hard for them to hit Apple's prices, let alone undercut and still make money. Again, read any other analysis on this. I'm not saying anything remotely controversial here.

  14. Danny 14


    if it works in a business environment. Apple still isnt fantastic integrating into a windows domain as a GPO'able device.

  15. aThingOrTwo

    Don't read it the same.

    > “Android has a great brand on it's own”

    No it doesn't.

    > "People are discovering that tablets really don't do many things particularly well, and hence can't justify a hefty price tag. For this majority crowd, prices will continue to fall, and Android is likely to win."

    If that is the case then why do you assume so many will be sold?

    Most people need a phone, you don't need a tablet.

    I could see a scenario with not everyone choosing to buy a tablet and those who do choose to own one choosing iPad. And Apple would have 60-70% of the market, like they do with media players today.

  16. RachelG
    Jobs Halo

    Could it be...

    So they can't undercut. Could it be the iPad is an Apple device that isn't <shock/> overpriced? :-P

    1. Big_Ted
      Jobs Halo

      Its simple............

      Apple can sell for the price they do as they know they will make a fortune from itunes apps music etc.

      Others with Android on them can't as they don't control the software etc source.

      It will be hard to undercut Apple with a piece of kit that is as desirable unless like RIM you have your own ap store.

      Apple will be the device of choice for many until someone comes out with something that feels as good in the hand and is much cheaper, otherwise a lot will pay the extra say £50 because its an iPad.

      1. Walt French

        Follow this much?

        “Apple can sell for the price they do as they know they will make a fortune from itunes apps music etc.”

        You really don't follow this business much, do you?

        Apple makes a fortune from its iTunes stores for exactly one reason: it helps them move more gear. Customers know that they can watch actual TV programs (unlike the Google TV fiasco), so they get an AppleTV or iPad. That they can get almost any music they want (unlike Microsoft's PlaysForSure disaster) and play it as long as they like on their iPod. That they can get the same Chinese dictionary as their friend has on her iPhone, so they buy an iPad.

        The store revenues are indeed big bucks but they pale in comparison to the profit margins on the hardware. If Apple reduced its 30% or whatever share to 10%, their company profits wouldn't notice it and stock price would drop only if it suggested a competitor was halfway close.

      2. Tim Bates


        >otherwise a lot will pay the extra say £50 because its an iPad.

        And other people will pay the extra $50 because it's NOT an iPad. I wouldn't pay $300 for an iPad/iPhone (if they were that price), but have already bought an Adam for $US600.

        Why? Because I can do what I want with it, not just what a loony CEO says I might like to do.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I think the stats on the iPad were something along the lines of a 60% markup over cost. Shouldn't be a problem to undercut it.

      What are the rules on something like that anyway? If I bought and assembled essentially the exact same parts but put it in a different case and sold it at 20% margin, would there be a problem? It's not like Apple invented anything about it, it's all tech they buy from other people, the same as I would be doing.

      1. nation of stupid


        Not a problem assembling exactly the same parts in a different case to undercut Apple.

        Just a couple of problems though, you'll have to develop your own OS to run on it, develop and maintain an online app shop to support it, then create the infrastructure to allow developers to create the apps you need for the app shop.

        Can't really compete with the iPad unless you have the whole experience, not just the hardware.

  17. Giles Jones Gold badge


    It must show that the iPad isn't all that overpriced as the competitors come in at around the same price. Competitors are either profiting from the hype or that is how much it costs to design and build one plus make a worthwhile profit.

    The main problem with the iPad competition is quality or lack of it. Each one seems to have a downside in the design or software.

    Some might say that laptops are cheaper and more complex but laptops are different, few have touch screen, they can weight more as they're not hand held much. Laptop batteries don't run to 7-10 hours usually. There's more room in a laptop for everything.

  18. Mark Broadhurst

    Fanbaiting ?

    My personal feeling is that the Ipad and the Android Tablets all suffer from the same thing.

    Its phone software on something which isnt a phone.

    I hope the next generation acctually take a proper OS and shrink it so it works with a touch interface rather than upscaling a phone.

    1. RichyS


      Really? Because that's been so successful in the past?

  19. Anton Ivanov


    RIM or Cisco can ask 1000$ for a tablet and it will still sell to corporates exactly because it is not Apple. Your average MCSE has no idea how to administer OS X and how to make it fit into the already set in stone corporate IT policies. They know that where iPhone and iPad goes the MacBooks will follow and they do not want that. So they will quite happily pay a premium over the iDevice price for something familiar that fits their picture of the universe.

    So RIM will sell. So will someone like Cisco. Similarly, cheap as chips Chinese and Taiwanese Android tablets based on the Wonder MediaVia chipset will sell as well.

    It is the like of Motorola, Toshiba and Samsung which have a problem here. They are neither fish nor fowl. Too expensive to go for the consumer part and not sufficiently business oriented and with no supporting infra to go after business.

    1. Walt French

      The Times They Are A'Changin'

      “Your average MCSE has no idea how to administer OS X…”

      Whoever they are. Your average MSCE has no clue how to administer WebOS; Android versions 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 or 3.0; or QNX (which they have never seen and for which there is not even a native dev kit).

      Probably clueless about the Windows 8 Tablets, as well.

      My organization's IT is also exceptionally closed to new technology. But the iPad and iPhone are coming in from both the top — CEO's who wonder why their competition has all the sexy customer-facing apps and the competition's marketing people all have slick-as-snot info-sharing devices — and from the bottom, employees who happily bring functional hardware in their pocket when making service calls, going into meetings, etc. In these days of high demand for productivity and zero budget for costly, one-trick-pony mobile workstations, Times will change.

      1. Robert E A Harvey

        Average MCSE

        Most of the ones I have to deal with have no idea how to administer Windows...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Costly one trick ponies?

        Surely you mean iPads not workstations.

        There's no way you could be that daft and still be employed.

  20. Chas
    Jobs Halo

    And another thing...

    Please show me the apps on RIM's Playbook or on any Android device that are certified by the FDA for use as a remote diagnostic imaging tool ( or have FAA approval for use as an alternative to paper flight charts (

    Oh, that'll be zero, then. I suppose I'd better not mention the 80% of Fortune 100 companies that are adopting the iPad in the enterprise. Where's Android? Nowhere!

    1. Anonymous Coward


      What's the FAA?

      And is the 'Fortune 100' some kind of lottery?

  21. NoneSuch Silver badge


    Nicely written article.

    "People are discovering that tablets really don't do many things particularly well." which would make them the Hula Hoop of the first decade.

    1. Doug Glass

      Naaww, not Hula Hoop ...

      ... pet rock.

  22. Brian Gannon

    Couldn't agree more

    As a consumer I just want a half decent Android tablet around the £200 / £250 mark. I just cant see value in a tablet costing more.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Another revenue stream

    Next thing you know Apple will want a 30% cut of any iPad like device sold...

  24. Badwolf

    Cheap as chips

    Android is Cheap?

    Crappy handsets are cheap, stuff comparable with the Apple build quality are not cheap

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Tablets are ridiculously overpriced..

    Doesn't matter if it's Apple or not I'm not interested in buying a tablet until it's ~$350. Not sure why anyone is contemplating the device for $799. Note I bought an android one for that (350) off ebay from viewsonic (replaced it rom with custom) and it's ok (1Ghz cpu etc) so it ploughs along nicely however I can tell you once u get over the gimmick factor it's a rather pointless device in *general*. I prefer taking my laptop outside while relaxing than have to hold the tablet with one hand and type with the other.

    When they invent a laptop with a remove-able tablet for $799 I'll be interested.

    1. Robert E A Harvey


      It's a laptop with no keyboard, hinge, optical drive, hard drive, or M$ tax.

      I can get one of they laptop thingies for 300 beer tokens. Why does leaving chunks off add 500 b.t. to the price?

    2. Rainer

      You should have...

      ...bought an iPad.

      It's only the ViewSonic device that is pointless ;-)

    3. CarlC

      Like this you mean.......

      Check out the Asus Eee pad transformer halfway down this page.....

  26. Keith Doyle

    Cheap price to compensate for...

    ... the lack of an app store with a few hundred thousand apps. Thats a significant feature, even if 99% of those apps are crap. And as someone else observed, Apple's piece of that action allows for smaller margins on the hardware if necessary. Apple has a good thing going, and may be as hard to unseat as eBay, and for similar reasons.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. Walt French

    All About Margin?

    “Apple is all about margin, which means maintaining a healthy price premium for its products.”

    Pardon me, but did some gremlin introduce a sentence that entirely contradicts the rest of the article? And ignores the fact that lower-priced tablets announced to date are fugly hodgepodges of chips and crapware?

    There was an interesting comment in 2004 in Newsweek, criticizing Apple's pricing policies that went for “obscene” profits instead of going for market share. Speaking to Dan Lyons was… Steve Jobs.

    Apple may have forgotten the idea — it was a shot at marketing types, leaping from Mr. Sculley to one Mr. Ballmer, after all — but the apparent reason why Apple's prices are so high is simply that they have no incentive to reduce the price until they can make more of them.

    Once they can quintuple capacity, their profits would probably maximize at something like 2/3 of today's equivalent pricing. There will be other tablets and phones, but as costs are unbundled from the carriers and can be compared, Apple's huge volumes are going to make it hard to produce a similar quality ecosystem.

  28. JaitcH

    Diesel or Gas/Petrol: Do Consumers really know the difference between OS?

    Many consumers don't actually know what goes on 'under the hood' - they simply buy the name on the box which is, essentially, what iPhans do. If you produced an Android handset with a fruit logo most could tell the difference, at first glance.

    The most the average consumer knows is the equivalent of whether a car runs on gas/petrol or diesel.

    Later they would discover the freedom to use it for practically anything.

    Only techies rant and rave about OS and what percentile of the market do they represent?

    1. aThingOrTwo

      I agree

      Many consumers don't actually know what goes on 'under the hood' - they simply buy the cheapest iPhone lookalike which is, essentially, what Android users do.

      If you produced an iPhone with Google's might see an update, probably won't policy and general lack of fit and finish most could not tell the difference, at first glance.

      Later they would discover they have freedom to use their device with the biggest range of accessories and the freedom to choose from the biggest application marketplace in the world…

  29. Jean-Paul

    Personal media player

    It seem that many are still looking at it from a personal media player perspective with a bit of email and online browsing perspective.

    My iPad is the from which I hook up a projector, edit the PowerPoint, do the presentation, create a visio workflow or process prototype. Review and annotate key documents. Update expenses spreadsheet. Share an always on me project plan which I can view anywich way I like.

    And also watch a movie on my way home that I bought legally instead of some divx knock off. And sort my emails etc.

    My point is, it is about the apps. The android Market, yes I do have a desire hd phone, is severely lacking in serious applications that allows someone to do their job. Please do point me in the direction on how to create/edit visio files, or ms project, or even something as simple as reviewing a PDF and embed the annotations, highlight sections etc. If you can and do by all means vote me down others just think why you do.

    I think the rim playbook will work in the corporate world but purely because of the ease of integration with existing bes services and handheld bb devices. Still needs some business grade apps though.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      If creating PowerPoint, SpreadSheets, MS Project and Viso charts count as work, you need a proper job.


      The joys of monopoly

      > And also watch a movie on my way home that I

      > bought legally instead of some divx knock off.

      Here goes the "piracy accusation".

      Unless you only buy through the platform monopolist, ANY movie you have on the iThing is going to look like some "divx knock off".

      The problem with "apps" on a tablet is that you are stuck with the tablet interface. This is especially true for a closed platform like PhoneOS. That is where more PC-like tablets can have a considerable advantage.

  30. Anonymous Coward



    1. Ilgaz


      Sony/Ericsson does sell a lot of older Os androids because of the name Sony made for excellent mp3/aac audio decompression.

      As an ex Sony P1i (symbian uiq3) owner, I agree to them.

  31. yella

    its not a pc or a laptop

    working in a very apple encentric job i can confirm that most people buying the ipad are buying it thinking it is mucj more than it actually is.

    I can honestly say upto 50% of the people I speak with are disappointed in the ability of the device.

    Flash, a mobile browser, and the way that setting up mail on the wifi 3g versions are just messed up, works on wifi fails on 3g, works on 3g fails on wifi.

    Overall most people will not actually complain and look the fool when they realise it isnt a laptop.

    These devices are way over priced and need to be at least halved. They are just glorified netbooks locked into the apple garden.

    Pads will take off when :-

    1 - they are as powerful as a current laptop (then you can justify the price at around 500-600 euros)

    2 - they are recognised for what they are, glorified netbooks, that should be priced around 200-300 euros.

    How many people are outwardly going to say they spent 800 euros on a ipad to find out it doesnt do what they thought it would........ Hense the lack of bad comments methinks.

  32. Wang N Staines

    My requirements

    1. Flash

    2. Freedom to install apps from any stores

    I will pay extra for those.

  33. Andyroid5

    Ipads ?? tunes ??

    Could never get my head around why anyone would let themselves get tied in with one particular vendor...

    Methinks its down to base tribalism which is the root kit used by most company's.

    Spotify anyone ?? ;)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Probably because most people don't understand the concept.

      They go into the nice shiny shop that sells 'PCs/phones/pads/laptops/etc' and ask the nice smiley man for a nice shiny device.

  34. Daniel 36

    Umm yeah Archos 101 cost €$329

    I have one of these and will never go after an ipad or the samsung galaxy tab.(Stupidly priced) It may not have 3G built in but it tethers like no-ones business.

    May want to think about it. What is really a shame is that companies such as Zinio and a few others only make software available for the Samsung. But people have already hacked it and now I read my magazines just fine.

    Nice toy cheap and works fantastic. No thanks Apple or Samsung

  35. Biomech
    Jobs Horns

    Poorly Made

    It's funny to think that Apple continue to release products that require people to "break" them in order to get any useful functionality from them. They are excessively overpriced and really don't do anything. Steve Jobs knows that the army of fanbois will buy what he tells them to, and then buy the same thing 6 months later with half the features that should have been in the first release.

    I'm a photographer, I wanted a 10" tab that I could use on location as a stand out viewing device for clients to see work and make selections. The iPad just can't do this without having all sorts of crap hanging out the side. And even if it could, I wouldn't pay such an extortionate price for what is essentially a netbook with the screen snapped off.

    I bought an Advent Vega for £230. 10" capacitive multipoint touchscreen on Android. USB port, android market, HD divx support and flash enabled out of the box. And the battery life is great. I use it for client work or laying in bed reading. When I was willing to spend £600, I bought a substantially powered laptop.

  36. Ilgaz

    4G is the comedy factor

    Does those devices with 4G come with a list of suggested sites that makes use of such bandwidth and battery waste? FYI, loosely compressed h264 of blu ray with uncompressed 7.1 audio is 25mbit and it is designed for a high end screen with high end audio.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      I wondered about that.

      A device may be capable of downloading 5 gigabytes of data in hours or less on mobile service, but why would you do that? It doesn't make sense unless a user is actually consuming data. High definition video yes, or a copy of a DVD such as a Linux distro, but otherwise... are your ears and eyeballs wide enough to consume data at that rate?

      Then again, I only have mobile broadband, and I have almost maxed a 5 GB limit one month.

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Bandwidth? This is 2011 already.

        > A device may be capable of downloading

        > 5 gigabytes of data in hours or less on mobile

        > service, but why would you do that?

        What? You don't have Amazon streaming over there?

        It's not really that hard to exceed a mobile bandwidth cap even without using your mobile device as a telly. Some mobile devices have a nasty habit of just plain being "chatty", even without someone "at the console".

  37. david 63

    Windup article

    I can't believe the author really wants to see a monopoly on the tablet market. i'm currently hovering over the samsung galaxy.

    Therefore article is a troll an needs to be ignored

  38. gerryg
    Thumb Up


    Still use mine four years on

    wifi, browser, skype, streaming radio, media player, video, FM radio, clock, alarm, GPS (with gadget), maps, pdf reader, notepad thingy for drafting, chess, tetris, some other game I've never played, other stuff I've never used, no app store, no cachet, fits in pocket, drops on floor safely.

  39. wraith404

    apple is crap for morons

    I don't associate anything with apple except a high price tag on worthless garbage. Garbage that can't integrate, garbage that can't communicate, garbage that is locked down and under functioned just so it can appeal to a fanbase with an average IQ at about 4. They build toys for morons who want to appear tech savvy without actually needing to know how to turn on a computer.

    The xoom is actually worth it's cost, because it can do 10 times what the ipad 2 is going to be able to.

  40. Tigra 07
    Thumb Down

    Bad Reg...

    I don't agree that Android outsells simply because it's cheaper.

    It is modifyable hardware-wise, has a comparable amount of apps, more functions, more features, more brands, more networks available.

    There's a lot of reasons why they outsell apple

  41. BorkedAgain

    I thought of an analogy the other day...

    Android is like Katie Price's attractive, intelligent cousin; working hard at the orphanage when she isn't developing renewable energy solutions and cancer cures. And yet, for some reason, the media are all full of stories about Jordan...

  42. Mark .

    Re: Windows table?

    "It's not really a "tablet" experience, it's a "Windows on a touch screen" experience"

    Can you explain the difference?

    Windows (like Linux) is at least a real OS, not one designed for phones - why I'd rather a netbook any day over these tablets.

    "The product is a tablet computer, of which the most popular is currently the ipad."

    Only if you contrive a market just to make Apple number one. Why is this a separate market to netbooks (especially as you get touch screen netbooks)? We don't separate phones by whether they have keyboard or touchscreen.

    Or if your criterion is a hand-held computer, then why aren't smartphones included? The market leaders of tablets are Nokia and Android, not Apple. Apple just make one that's bigger than most other tablets, that's all.

    "the lack of an app store with a few hundred thousand apps."

    Most of which are website-wrappers - if the browser's so good, why do you need an app for it?

    You don't need an app store, when you just download from wherever you like. Would you say that Windows has fewer apps, simply because there's not a centre official app store at all?


    Fewer devices to lug around, not more.

    When I buy another Android device it will be because it does all of those things that an iPad does not do. I will buy it to avoid the annoyance factor of Apple's tablet, not so I can get some "cheap apple clone".

  44. Xtreame96

    More annoying generalisations from Fan Boys Comparing Next Gen Pricing to Old Gen Products

    Normally I expect this level of piss poor insight from Gawker not from The Reg.

    The Xoom is to be compared to the Ipad 2 not the Ipad. When the Ipad 2 comes out compare prices, but comparing new kit prices to 2 year old kit is stupid.

    Compare the Galaxy Tab 1 price to the Ipad if you must.

    I could go on but really like I said this is the kinda piss poor reporting I expect at apple pays my bills dot com aka gizmodo.

  45. IsJustabloke

    I refuse to enoble a simple forum post!

    "overage charges"


    Good grief! would it have killed you to say charges for going over their limit?

  46. David Barr

    Load of nonsense

    For Android to beat IOS there needs to be phones that beat the snot out of iPhones at a similar (higher or lower) price, as well as mid range, capable phones.

    People read reviews of the high end stuff and buy the mid end stuff. It's the same all over with cars, cpus, phones, whatever.

    So Android need both this tablet pissing all over iPads but they also need a poor mans iPad which does most of what an iPad does, almost as fast for a fraction of the price.

  47. kdd
    Thumb Up

    Most critics really don't know what it can do...

    I too was a skeptic. But I recently bought an iPod Touch. I didn't need an mp3 player, and not only is that not why I bought it, I don't even use it for that. I found that it excells at a whole laundry list of things that I had been using other devices for, that weren't anywhere as easy to use or as flexible. I'll not go into them all, if you can't think of what they are I'll wager you just aren't very aware of what these things can do or you just don't have many mobile, automation or remote-control needs (the Touch or iPad makes a really super remote-controller and display device for whole-house audio-video-phone-security systems, for ex).

    And one factor that now would be impossible to live without, I don't know if Android machines do as well-- the sensitivity of the touch screen. My phone is an LG Dare, which looks approximately like an iPhone, but the touch screen sensitivity is LIGHT YEARS behind the Apple devices. Scrolling and selecting on the iPod is completely effortless, almost to the point of being too-sensitive, though after using it I'd much prefer too sensitive to not sensitive enough. I can hardly use the Dare anymore, because I've become so accustomed to a light touch on the iPod, trying the same on the Dare produces nothing at all-- I have to really crunch down on the Dare (and it doesn't have a glass front, so it really does tend to 'crunch' probably more than it should), to get it to recognize a touch or a scroll at all. Before I'd even CONSIDER an Android machine I'd have to spend some time with the touch to see if it is anything like the iPod, because if it's not, it's toast.

    Not meaning to be an advert for the iPod, but there are so many claims here regarding the uselessness of such devices, when I have recently found that it eliminated a whole series of devices I had or needed with an ease that has turned out to make all the other solutions a complete joke. The iPod Touch is a brilliant device, and if I wanted a bigger screen with it I'd get an iPad without a thought, because the same apps run. It IS about the apps, after all, I didn't buy it because it was Apple (I'm a linux and PC guy, mostly), but because of the various apps that did exactly what I needed. There really are several hundred thousand apps in the Apple store, though a lot are simple-minded (bring up the latest PBS Newshour vid, for ex., is a free app by itself), which is why there are so many, and a lot of crappy ones no doubt, but the available add-ons are legion, and if that isn't enough, I could jailbreak it and get even more (though there's nothing so far I want to do that requires jailbreaking, it is comforting to know it's an option)...

    Sure, there's probably stuff it doesn't do that I'd like it to-- but what it does do replaced an array of devices that in total are more expensive, some nonexistent (I'd have to roll-my own with an Arduino or something), and/or don't work as well. Get used to it-- they work, they are useful.

    1. Xtreame96

      Have you tried :)

      The LG is not a good example, give the touch screen on the Galaxy S a whirl, in my country the LG is the cheapest device you can buy. I agree it has a horrible touch screen its ancient in its tech.

      Try the galaxy or any of the comparably priced ones you will find that it works even better than the apple ;)

    2. Biomech

      RE: Most critics really don't know what it can do...

      "Most critics really don't know what it can do..."

      It's not just what it "can" do, it's whether it does what I want it to. I don't care if mty tablet could fly and aeroplane or run diagnostics on the space station. I have a £230 Advent Vega that I use to show clients photos, read ebooks, check email and keep a digital photographic portfolio on. While I appreciate that the iPad will have better grade capacitors and what not, my Vega works very very well. So tell me, why should I pay £600 to do what my £230 tab does?

  48. Graham 25


    Dear Everyone,

    Buy what you want and stop trying to justify your purchase to everyone else.

    We don't care.

    Its each to their own.


    Bored (stupid) of Tunbridge Wells

  49. Wpgwill

    How times change....

    Before the iPad was released you would of read here they'll never sell any, now that Android tablets are coming out its suddenly a good idea ;)

    Oh well, at least we can go back to the endless chatter of Apple users being sheeple.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still waiting

    I'm still waiting until tablets hit the sweetspot (£130-£180). There is absolutely no hardware reason why this price isn't possible - UMPCs with a hard disk, bundled keyboard, USB ports etc were less than the iPad is now. Unfortunately they were largely unusable due to Windows 15min start up time and rubbish 800x480 screen (hint to tablet makers...)

    Apart from the fashionsucker price, the other reason for not going iPad is Apple's slow paywalling-in of the internet. Many apps are just wrapped up bits of websites. Slowly what is now free will become paid-for wrapped in App package. Apple have already done this to music with iTunes. It's like turkeys voting for Christmas.

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