Apple vs. Android tablets: Don't discount iPad's distribution power

Apple vs. Android tablets: Don't discount iPad's distribution power

Summary: Apple has made a lot of great moves with its iPad launch, but perhaps the most important one is retail distribution. Simply put, Apple has first mover advantage in the tablet market and is sealing the deal with distribution with a capital "D".

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Apple has made a lot of great moves with its iPad launch, but perhaps the most important one is retail distribution. Simply put, Apple has first mover advantage in the tablet market and is sealing the deal with distribution with a capital "D".

On Friday, Wal-Mart will begin selling the iPad to its masses. The iPad is already set for Amazon, Best Buy and Target as well as Apple's own stores of course. That distribution will play a critical role as Samsung and a bevy of others launch tablets.

In smartphones, Apple went with the exclusive retail strategy---its stores and AT&T as the sole carrier---and the iPhone was eclipsed in market share by an onslaught of Android devices.

But Apple is showing that the iPad is indeed the Mac for the masses. In fact, the iPad is more iPod when it comes to distribution than iPhone. If pricing becomes an issue, Apple now has the scale to move the needle lower if need be. From the looks of things though, Android tablets aren't going to really battle too hard on price.

Also: Screenshots: 20 apps that play to the iPad's strengths

By my rough estimate, Android tablets---from Samsung or whoever---will have to be about $150 cheaper at the retail point of sale. Let's say you're at Target. You have a Samsung Galaxy Tab vs. the iPad. You're going for the cheapest Wi-Fi version. If the Samsung is $399 and the iPad is $499 the consumer is likely to pay the premium. Millions of people already own the iPad so it's a proven commodity. Here's where distribution comes in: The iPad will be next to any rival at major retailers.

If the Galaxy Tab---or any other comparable rival---comes in at $299 then you have a tougher decision. At $100, you're talking roughly two cases of Harp---or Guinness or whatever. If you can justify a price differential by cases of beer or a dinner out, Apple's pricing is good enough. That's why Android tablets have to be cheaper by a decent margin. Apple set the low end of the tablet market with a $499 price point.

Those predicting that there will be an Android tablet repeat of what's happening in the smartphone market may be mistaken. Apple has its distribution game down.

Topics: Samsung, Android, Apple, Hardware, iPad, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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  • Nah,not realistic...

    I don't know that we even know how much memory is going to be in the Galaxy tab but even that aside I think the smaller screen demanded a lower price point... Unfortunately, it might be too late when Samsung figures that out.

    As for the memory though, if it is 16 Gig with an additional 16 Gig card then you've put the 7" 3G tablet roughly $329 behind the price of the Apple 32 Gig 3G... The only thing that might kill this would be a 7" iPad launching for the Holiday season.
    slickjim
    • RE: Apple vs. Android tablets: Don't discount iPad's distribution power

      h t t p : / / 0 8 4 5 . c o m / I n r


      I tide fashion
      hbfjh
      • RE: Apple vs. Android tablets: Don't discount iPad's distribution power

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        gorians
    • RE: Apple vs. Android tablets: Don't discount iPad's distribution power

      would be worth it. Since evo runs flash on this os.. The pad should as well. For I have an ipad and it is worthless for anything other than reading books on. For 90% of all websites I go to are flash based. IE Best buy, Walmart Ads, My FI website etc
      rparker009
      • RE: Apple vs. Android tablets: Don't discount iPad's distribution power

        @rparker009 Your comment "For 90% of all websites I go to are flash based." is the differentiator here. That statement might be true but doesn't make it true for everyone. That is something that the more techno people such as on here don't get, their complaints about Apple are not usually an issue for most consumers and the average consumers are the ones buying these devices.
        non-biased
    • RE: Apple vs. Android tablets: Don't discount iPad's distribution power

      @Peter Perry There is also the issue that the iPad has no camera. For the general consumer, that's a biggie and they will expect it on this type of device.

      And there is the issue of also having true GPS on the Samsung which is also only available on the higher end iPad.
      mrxxxman
    • nuclear bombs

      @Peter Perry <br>most people here, especially the usual clueless pundits and analysts are still struggling with the nuclear impact the ipad had on the industry. it is the fastest selling electronic device in the history of mankind. a 10 billion dollar business within the first 9 months of its existence. no one ever before had pulled that off. it is an historic event. <br><br>on top of that, apple hit the industry so hard, that even 9 months after they introduced it, not one competitor came up with something that comes close. they will even have the christmas quarter for themselves. when the first competitive devices will be released in q1 2011 (or more likely in q2 2011) the ipad 2.0 will already be on the market. <br><br>there are a few game changing ingredients that competitors won't be able to match for years to come and that pundits failed and still fail to understand, some of them are as a feature in the device or ecosystem (thousands of optimized apps from the start and more than 30.000 after a few months, a killer battery life, instant on, light, and most of all a price no one will be able to match for a long time), but a big part of the impact of the device is behind the scenes: in the supply chain, the distribution and the relocation of profits at an unprecedented pace.

      ever wondered why the galaxy tab or the playbook go with a 7" screen? because they think it is a better size for a tablet? hardly. i guess it is because a) there are no 10" capacitive displays available (because apple had already secured them all for their ipad production), b) a 10" display will further reduce the already much weaker battery life and c) it will be much more expensive. the galaxy tab with a weaker battery and a smaller screen is already more expensive, how much more expensive would it be with a 10" screen?<br><br>the ipad has one of the fastest rollouts in retail history. after a few months it is already available at more than 5.000 pos all over the world. a few thousand coming online at target and walmart within the next few weeks and all over europe and asia. it will be coming to 800 additional stores in germany alone at the beginning of november.<br><br>the ipad is already reducing the number of netbooks and notebooks sold, cannibalizing only pc sales. before the ipad apple had already secured 35% of the whole profits of the worldwide pc business, with the coming quarters that amount will grow much higher, making it harder and harder for razor thin margin pc box assemblers to turn a profit and have the means to compete in this emerging tablet device category. <br><br>the same is true with smartphones. while pundits are still discussing the rise of android, none of them seems to realize that almost no one makes any money with it, while apple already has 50% of the whole profit of the whole phone market within three years in the busienss (not only smartphone profits but from the whole worldwide phone market!). how long will motorola, sony ericsson or even lg survive in this space with ongoing losses or razor thin margins?<br><br>apple is a monstrous juggernaut throwing one atom bomb after another at totally unprepared industries, turning one business after another up side down. <br><br>but relax, readers of zdnet will be the last to know, because the pundits here have - as always - not the slightest clue what is going on.
      banned from zdnet
      • RE: Apple vs. Android tablets: Don't discount iPad's distribution power

        @banned from zdnet
        Hey, I don't care. Enjoy the POS. George Bush got elected twice too.
        hoaxoner
      • Right on, on many points

        Well said.
        @banned from zdnet
        GoPower
      • RE: Apple vs. Android tablets: Don't discount iPad's distribution power

        @hoaxoner

        An polls show they would rather have Bush back in office now. Guess your saying people don't realize it yet but they will end up being happier with the iPad :-)
        non-biased
  • I've been watching for the Cruz Tablet..

    http://www.cruzreader.com/tablet-specsmain.php
    I've had a chance to play with the Cruz Reader, (Borders bookstores, 7" tablet with resistive screen) and at $199 it's not too shabby. Add $25 to the mix for a 32 gig SD card any you have a nice 32 gig tablet. The Cruz tablet is supposed to drop in the next 2 weeks with a slightly higher resolution and capacitive touch screen for $299. If the screen & touch is $100 better, I'll be getting one. I've played with my neighbor's iPad and will admit it's pretty cool, but for $275 less with the added bonus of no chains to iTunes the Cruz tablet looks pretty compelling.
    Scubajrr
    • RE: Apple vs. Android tablets: Don't discount iPad's distribution power

      @Scubajrr If only it had BlueTooth...
      Real World
      • RE: Apple vs. Android tablets: Don't discount iPad's distribution power

        @Real World Yup
        bobjones2007
    • RE: Apple vs. Android tablets: Don't discount iPad's distribution power

      @Scubajrr

      I completely agree. The Cruz tablet is so appealing in its offer of the Android OS along with the ease and tactile elegance of a capacitive screen. The iPad is wonderful but a 7" screen is much more portable...I don't know anyone who can pocket an iPad.
      I plan on buyin a cruz tablet as soon as they come out. Then I have all that my Android phone has in a larger format, especially useful for reading textbooks and doing coursework on the go.
      jdechrist
  • RE: Apple vs. Android tablets: Don't discount iPad's distribution power

    What Android tablets? I keep hearing about all these iPad competitors, but last I've personally seen, they are all "coming soon". Let's not speculate on could, would, should, when there is really only one player in the market.
    mrgoodall
    • RE: Apple vs. Android tablets: Don't discount iPad's distribution power

      @mrgoodall Archos had theirs on the market before the iPad. Their pad isn't all that great though. If you want one comparable I'd look at some of the direct imports from China.
      snoop0x7b
    • RE: Apple vs. Android tablets: Don't discount iPad's distribution power

      @mrgoodall The Dell Streak has been out for a couple of months.
      mrxxxman
  • The Galaxy tab costs too much.

    You can get an iPad for $499 without any further payments.
    You have to pay $399 for the Galaxy pad PLUS $50 a month for 24 months. Thus it ends up costing nearly $1600. That is a huge disparity in price.
    jameskatt
    • RE: Apple vs. Android tablets: Don't discount iPad's distribution power

      @jameskatt The only fair way to compare a 3g tablet is to another 3g tablet. If you buy an iPad 3g, same deal.
      snoop0x7b
      • RE: Apple vs. Android tablets: Don't discount iPad's distribution power

        @snoop0x7b <br><br>The difference being you're tied to a contract with the Galaxy Tab. Spending $50 - $60 a month whether you use the device's 3G much that month or not.<br><br>The iPad no contract 3G is $15 - $25. You can pay as you need it, and stop when you don't.
        dave95.