It’s the Latest Craze

This Forrester report calls it “tablet mania;”the current rush of technology innovators that are developing the next great “pad.” With Apple reporting over 3.27 million iPads sold in a single quarter, it’s no wonder that folks like HP, Toshiba, and Samsung are racing to get a slice of the pie.

Notably, many of the products that have been developed so far are labeled as some sort of “pad.” This is because brand awareness for the iPad is through the roof and climbing. In May, 83% of the respondents to the Forrester survey said that they’d heard of the iPad and that number jumped to 95% in June. Conversely, 25% of consumers said that they’d never heard of Amazon’s Kindle which has been around for over three years. Forrester attributes this market dominance to Apple’s strong social positioning.

So say you’re HP, Toshiba, or Samsung. How do you compete against the extraordinary brand dominance established early (or at least perceived to be held) by Apple? What questions do you need to ask a sample population of potential customers in order to help your customer overcome this challenge? As always, we want to hear your comments, suggestions and stories below.

About Joshua Hoffman

Joshua Hoffman is Technology Specialist at Microsoft and a frequent contributor to Research Access.


  1. Well, this doesn’t speak directly to the issue you’re asking about (brand-name recognition), but is related in-so-far as it pertains to companies making tablets people might actually want to buy. Here is the landscape as I see it:

    A lot of companies want to compete with the iPad by releasing a Windows-based tablet. I struggle to understand how anyone could think this will work. Windows-based tablets have been around for the better part of a decade and most consumers have ignored them, and for good reason: they’re terrible products. You might, for a while, fool the less educated consumers that are suddenly aware of the tablet product category and don’t realize how bad the Windows tablet experience is, but you arent going to trick developers into doing meaningful development on the platform, and eventually even the unwashed masses will wise-up on the folly of that investment. Its going to compete with the iPad about as well as Windows Mobile has fared against the iPhone.

    Android seems somewhat better suited for tablet use, but its still a far cry from the iPad, and the feature fragmentation, carrier bloat-ware, and lack of meaningful curating in the app market we’ve seen on Android phones is starting to make Apple’s walled-garden model more and more appealing. With its market penetration and software maturity, Android should be hitting its stride right about now, but I’m more convinced now that I don’t want any Android devices than I was a year ago. Its marketshare will continue to grow, especially in the cheap phone segment, but I think its credibility with consumers of high-end phones is eroding. You’ll always have the anything-but-Apple tech-nerds to sell to, but thats not really who you cater to for brand awareness.

    Lastly, we have HP, with Palm’s I.P. I think WebOS could make an excellent tablet, and I hope it does. I think the opportunity to use Mark Hurd’s indiscretions as an excuse to oust him is a windfall for an otherwise spineless board that didn’t have the balls to get rid of him for his actual leadership failures. HP used to make awesome products, and if they muster the courage to make Rubenstein or someone else with creative vision in charge, they have the resources to make awesome products again. But thats a big ‘If.’

    So anyway, all that is to say, I’m curious what consumers actually think about this issue. How many people are actually holding off on buying an iPad because they want a tablet with Windows on it? With Android? Does anyone that doesn’t read gizmodo even know what WebOS is or that HP is basing a tablet on it? Do consumers even want a tablet based on existing OSes, or are they hoping for something new to come along that has the polish and shine of iOS?


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