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Apple’s iPad continues to dominate the tablet market, so much so that other tablet manufacturers may be throwing in the towel, according to one report.
TechCrunch has the story, which cites a DigiTimes report that says component suppliers in Asia are seeing smaller orders from the likes of PC companies HP, Dell and Acer, suggesting that they’re having fewer tablets made. DigiTimes writes that the trouble is devices like the iPad, the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet. These devices are performing well in the tablet space, and the PC makers can’t seem to get any traction against them.
As TechCrunch points out, non-Apple tablets are facing the issue of too many competitors in the space. Using Google’s Android operating system doesn’t really set one tablet apart from another, since they all have basically the same content (although fragmentation among Android devices means not every app will work on every device). That means that, while a few devices are getting some brand recognition, like Samsung’s Galaxy Tab line, other devices have trouble distinguishing themselves.
Meanwhile, the iPad continues to offer a huge number of apps and, more than anything, a lot of brand recognition. The Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet, on the other hand, offer alternatives for price-conscious customers.
Apple, Barnes & Noble and Amazon all have the right idea when they’re selling tablets. It’s about what the devices can do and what they offer, rather than the hardware itself. With Android devices, it’s hard to push one tablet over another when they all draw on the same content pool. Apple focuses on the things the iPad can do by showing off great apps for it whenever it goes to market. Remember the announcement of the iPad 2? That event was less about the iPad itself and more about the cool apps that could run on it, including Garage Band and iMovie. They demonstrated just how cool the iPad could be, and those were apps unavailable anywhere eles.
Amazon and Barnes & Noble use their tablets as delivery mechanisms for content like books, movies and music. Where Apple takes a more functional approach with the variety of things the iPad can do, the booksellers are trying to sell lower-cost, less-powerful alternatives, so they focus on the ways those tablets can get you content.
Setting a tablet apart from the pack, as Apple has realized, is all about what it can do and what people want. Since PC manufacturers haven’t determined how to make their entries stand out, it makes sense that those companies might be pulling back until they have a better business plan. But trying to play catch-up to Apple while the tech giant is setting the pace is a losing battle for everyone, and if the rumor is true, some device makers might be starting to realize that, finally.