Tablet promotions abound: Is desperation setting in?

Tablet promotions abound: Is desperation setting in?

Summary: Another day, another one-day sale for some Android or Windows 8 tablet. Why go for this doorbuster when there'll be one tomorrow? Just a guess, but tablet makers may be starting to sweat.


Is it just me or is the battle to convince you to buy a tablet for the holiday escalating?

Most indicators after Black Friday noted that Apple's iPad appeared to be selling well. And perhaps other tablets fared well after an initial pop. But judging from an inbox of tablet promotions and markdowns I have to wonder if there's some serious buyers fatigue.

These promotions cover a wide range of tablet territory. Consider the Dell Venue 8 Pro door buster on Monday at its Microsoft Stores. Microsoft was offering the Dell Venue Pro 8 for $99 for a brief period.



And then there was Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX 7 sale. Not surprisingly, Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets are among the most popular devices.

kindle 7 doorbuster


Dell is also pushing its 24 hour sales. After all, who isn't?

dell sale


The dogfight on price really appears to be among the Android crowd---at least on Best Buy's popularity list---and Windows 8 devices are also aggressively priced.

Sure, these one-day sales and limited time price cuts juice sales, but after seeing these deals for two weeks, I'm inclined to wait. It may be worth seeing how close to free these tablet makers can get. But here's the rub: I'm already stocked with tablets and don't see much that would entice me to buy. I may not be alone with a hint of tablet fatigue. 

See also:

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Mobility

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  • god guess I think

    The Kindle sale yesterday really surprised me. 2nd sales event in less than two weeks?! Seemed to me that Amazon misjudged the acceptable market price, much like HP did with the TouchPad
    • I feel ripped off now

      I went for the Kindle deal when they had the 15% off FAA promotion - these new deals are better :-(
      • Yes but

        I bought the 32 Gig Kindle HDX on that 15% off sale and yesterday, Amazon only sold the 16 Gig for the 20% off.
    • Why?

      The Fire HDX is considered by far, the best small tablet on the market and it is significantly better than the iPad Mini Retina (I had both at the same time). Even my family even noticed how much quicker the fire was at tasks and how significant the difference was in screen quality with the HDX blowing away the Mini Retina.

      This was nothing more than a sale, like their 15% off FAA sale.
      • How is it better than Nexus 7?

        It's not. Play store alone makes Nexus 7 a far better value.
  • No killer app/feature

    I think part of the problem is there is very little difference between the tablets anymore meaning no one stands out. Apple is standing out due to its name and being the first legitmate tablet out there. Windows Tablets have Office which may pull in the enterprise users..

    The first tablet that can do voice calling with 4g/LTE in the US (not the international phones out there) will take off. You can have a laptop, tablet and phone all in one device.. who wouldnt go for that?
    • Absolutely - Stand out by providing phone service on tablets

      I work from my car and absolutely I want all my phone, data, pictures, etc on the tablet that is beside me.
      • Always a compromise...Jack of all trades, master of none

        A do-everything machine will never be as good as the individual components. Just one example would be cameras; sure they can put s high resolution chip in a tablet, but then you're a bozo carrying around a huge 10" tablet on the hike up to Yosemite falls, and holding it up for the world to see every time you take a photo. The limitations of optics will make performance as a camera poor when going gets tough...low light, selective focus, and more, and it's just not possible to work around it without making a thicker tablet with bigger lens. Laptop and netbook are another example; I have both and there are situations where one or the other is best...if they shrink the laptop to netbook size, it then becomes crippled...smaller screen, smaller keyboard, compromised sound capability, more difficult to do intricate work in Photoshop or CAD (and of course desktops outshine the laptop in that respect. No tablet will ever fill that position, more likely people will lower their expectations until the tablet does all they want. Poke and shoot a lousy picture, use auto-fix to make it a slightly improved lousy picture, post the semi-lousy pic on facebook, annoy your seat neighbor by calling all your friends and yakking over your tablet, crash your car using it as a mediocre GPS, wow your business friends by sliding pie charts across the screen, transfer funds from your bank and hope the lower security doesn't bite you, and watch a movie alone from your lap. Sure, if you're a 'work 24/7' junkie, an all-purpose contraption might be just what you want to hit it big time, but the end result will be the same.
        • Ugh, this cliche again

          Look at how smartphones have replaced almost every other form of handheld electronic on the market for the majority of consumers.

          Similar is happening with SUV/Crossover vehicles in automobiles finding a strong market with people who want more out of their car or truck.

          The point is for some people these are master of all devices. They do everything they want.

          All devices have some sort of compromise when compared against others. However, what you are pointing out as a "master" device is quickly becoming a niche specialty device. Something for high end enthusiasts.

          Sure there are a lot of high end specialty cameras that take great photos and cost a fortune, but for most people the camera is their smart phone is going to be just as good and take great photos. As most people can't properly use a high end camera to its fullest anyhow.

          We need to start looking at these devices for what they are. Most are an equivalent replacement for one specific device (tablet, laptop, whatever) and..... AND... they offer extended functionality of some other device(s).
          • SUV vs. Car

            Do folks really drive SUVs where they cannot drive a car? Do they really use them to haul stuff that they cannot haul with a car. I understand what you are trying to say but I don't think the "Utility" in SUV is why they sell. It think they sell for subjective preference reasons of seeming more spacious, they sit higher off the ground and they are much better grocery getters (contract typical car trunk with a SUV cargo area is usually at waste-level).

            Regarding adding a phone and a nice camera on a tablet -- I suppose there's no harm in that because there are situations where you can take pictures and phone calls on a tablet. However, even a 7 or 8 inch tablet is pretty large to be comfortably mobile for all activities. Heck, depending on the activity even smartphones aren't 100% appropriate for all mobile activities but they are an acceptable compromise. While far better than a laptop and certainly a blessing to "road warriors", I don't see a lot of tablets in restaurant settings but most everyone brings their smart phone.
          • SUV vs Car

            Actually the answer to your questions about SUVs and cars is yes. My wife and I have always been car people. We have two large dogs however, and we got tired of always having to ask friends when anything large needed transporting. Believe it or not, the two large dogs could not fit in our back seat of our cars. We now drive a Hyundai Tucson and the extra space is great! I now have ample space in the back for the dogs, and when folding the back seats down, I have plenty of room to transport larger items such as workout equipment and furniture. We now only have to bother friends or rent a truck when moving very large items, which doesn't happen nearly as often.

            As for driving the SUV where we can't drive a car... that is a rare occasion, but I have had a few instances where I was able to drive over something that I wouldn't have been able to do in a car. A curb is a good example.
            Trent Richards
    • All in one is not a killer feature

      "You can have a laptop, tablet and phone all in one device" - yes, but all three will be compromised. Here in Russia there are such options and they are not skyrocketing. I guess the market is maturing and generic tablets made for everyone are starting to get problems. Even iPads with their one size fits all approach have problems with market share and growth rate. Personally, I have bought Lenovo Yoga Tablet which has been sold here at least $100 overpriced, that is close to the iPad mini level. Unfortunately, it was my type of a device. Based on my own behavior, I guess as soon as producers figure out that they should go for specific kids of users instead of making hundreds of identical models, everything will be fine again.
    • Apps??...

      The best strategy of Apple was to call programs "apps". Now everyone thing apps are only found on a marketplace, Google Play or Apps Store... In fact the "tablet" Dell Pro is in fact a full Windows 8 Computer not a RT version. Is not a gamer computer but you can install any "apps" that can be installed on a regular pc (please don't start saying you cant run 3D Max, SolidWorks or Assassins Creed Black Flag at its peak performance, for that go with a custom build PC)...
    • Not really...

      I'm not going to tote around a 10 inch, 2 pound machine with 7 hours of battery life as my phone.
      Daniel Foerster
    • VOIP

      Dump the telcos use SKYPE
      • Skype is close

        I did a little test, trying to dump my personal cell number for a Skype number.

        Skype number and unlimited calling $8/mo. You can't text though, big problem.

        Voicemail another big problem, unless the desktop version of Skype is running no voicemail, the caller just gets disconnected.

        Also voicemails can't be accessed from apps only desktop version.

        Skype was good though and refunded all my money.
    • Enterprise users are too committed to iPad

      If Microsoft could have given away the Surface for free to enterprise customers rather than take a $900 million write-off, they would have done it in a heartbeat.

      That they couldn't give them away for free doesn't bode well for selling them to anyone. They missed this boat - their enterprise customers went iPad and custom apps; their need for field Office use is WAY down. I am amazed at how my global pharma clients have so thoroughly gone iPad - even their reps calling on doctors and hospitals in Western Brazil are equipped with them. Custom apps make sure reps and field service people provide the head offices with data in a form that is complete and integrated with their CRM software. No more Word reports and Excel spreadsheets that required interpretation and information extraction.

      That's why enterprise laptop sales have stagnated. Not died - some people still need them. But as iOS gets more integrated, and third-party keyboards and Office-like apps get better, the need for laptops will decline again.

      When Apple named the latest tablet the 'iPad Air," I had to laugh - that's what I've been calling my iPad 3 and Zagg keyboard since March 2012. As more and more college graduates go into business with their Macbook Pros, don't be surprised if those who need corporate laptops go BYOD with them...and corporate purchases follow. IT's ability to block Apple is badly hurt as companies discover that "support" for iPad is negligible. When the CEO has an iPhone and an iPad, and the CMO has the same, IT guys who resist them will do so at risk.
      • Ignorance on display.

        "rather than take a $900 million write-off,"


        It was a *write-down* not a write-off. The accounting principle is that they expect a certain profit off of it. When it wasn't selling well enough then they marked the price down, and *that* was the write-down -- they made $900 million *less than expected,* it wasn't they *lost $900 million.*
        Jacob VanWagoner
        • Ha, been posting the same correction

          Every time I see people equating the write down to a loss, I have been noting the same thing. MS might still lose money on Surface, esp. after R&D is considered, but its no where near a billion dollars.
          Rann Xeroxx
        • thanks

          Jacob, Thanks for that explanation.