The tablet war is getting hotter
Amazon, Google and Microsoft are ramping up production to challenge Apple, and shoppers will soon see a wide array of devices across a range of prices.
The 7-inch tablet poses little threat to Apple's (AAPL) dominant iPad, analysts say. Instead, it competes directly with Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle Fire and a host of other Android-based tablets. Google's got a pretty slick device in the Nexus 7, setting up the scene for a fierce battle in the $200-$250 range in the next few years.
But Apple isn't exactly floating above the fray here. Yes, the other players are fiercely battling in the lower price range, but it's just a matter of time before they go head to head with the 9.7-inch iPad.
Amazon may be the first contender. The company is getting ready to launch a 10-inch tablet, BGR reports. Amazon is also developing a new version of the Fire. Digitimes is reporting the same thing, saying that the new 7.85-inch Kindle Fire is expected to release in August for $199.
The new versions come as enthusiasm for the Fire seems to be waning. Some observers think Amazon only shipped 750,000 units of the Fire in the first quarter, Digitimes notes. The IDC research firm thinks Amazon's tablet market share dropped to 4% in that quarter.
Microsoft (MSFT) is a new entrant into the field with Surface, a 10.6-inch tablet that won a lot of attention during its reveal earlier this month, particularly for its cool magnetic cover that also doubles as a keyboard. There's no word on price or availability, however, but most expect a release won't happen until next year. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)
Everyone in the industry is focused on Apple's next move. Could the company debut its own 7-inch tablet, perhaps called the iPad Mini, that would cost more than rival versions? People would certainly buy it, even at a higher price point.
Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt recently asked consumers what 7-inch tablet they would buy: a $300 iPad, a $200 Android tablet or a $200 Kindle tablet from Amazon. The iPad won the most votes, getting 26%. About 8.5% said they preferred the Android, and 8% wanted a Kindle. The rest said they only wanted a 10-inch tablet or they didn't want one at all, according to Forbes.
At any rate, it's clear that by the time December rolls around, shoppers will have a number of capable tablet devices across the range of capabilities and prices.
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What about the Samsung Galaxy 10.1, direct enough competition to the iPad that Apple successfully obtained an injunction against Samsung, forcing them to stop selling the device while the two companies wage their patent war in court? How do you mention Google and Amazon but not Samsung (or Asus, or as poster said earlier, BB)?
I am left wondering just how much research you actually did before you produced this piece of work. It had a lot of promise based on the title, but as far as information goes, it was a complete waste of time.
Apple probably goes offensive with the launch of 7" Mini tablet soon. If it priced $249, it may kill most competitors with price at $199. So the rest of competitors have no choice but to price even lower.
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