Sony tablet effort receives lukewarm reception

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Sony's launch of its first two Android-based tablets on Wednesday fell flat as analysts and bloggers questioned the high price and quality of the devices as compared to Apple's market-leading iPad.



The Japanese electronics giant held a media event in Berlin to unveil the Sony Tablet S and Sony Tablet P devices. The Tablet S sports a unique wedge shape, with the 16GB and 32GB models selling for $499 and $599, respectively, when they go on sale next month.



The dual-screen Tablet P will arrive later this year with two 5.5-inch displays and AT&T 4G connectivity. Sony has yet to announce pricing for the tablet.



"These devices truly represent the best of everything Sony has to offer," Sony Senior Vice President Mike Lucas said. "From hardware to software and services, Sony Tablet devices embody all our innovations rolled into one."



The company acknowledged that it was late to the tablet game, while standing behind its new tablet offerings. "We want to prove it's not who makes it first that counts but who makes it better," Sony CEO Howard Stringer said.



But, analysts and the media weren't so quick to forgive. "Consumers want tablets, but they are not prepared to pay the same amount they'd pay for an iPad for something that's not an iPad," Reuters noted Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi as saying. "Despite the brand and different design, with its pricing so close to the iPad, it will be challenging for Sony."







Meanwhile, research firm Forrester said Sony's pricing "raises a red flag" for the firm. "We?ve been down this road before: Motorola and HP both priced their devices on par with the iPad, and both were unable to sell their devices in volume until they lowered the price significantly," analyst Sarah roman Epps wrote in a blog post



Tech blogs also had issues with the Tablet S. Gizmodo criticized the tablet as having poor build quality: an easily scratched screen, wiggling parts and thinner, cheaper glass. The publication called it the "first Android tablet to feel like it was designed," while noting that it was unable to live up to the designers' dreams.



Engadget found Sony's flagship tablet to be underwhelming. "I honestly don't think this is going to be the tablet that really catapults Sony into the lead on the Android front, which is where it needs to be if it wants to be No. 2 in the tablet market," said Editor-in-Chief Tim Stevens.



The company first unveiled the tablets in April. In January, the company voiced its belief that it will take the No. 2 spot in tablets behind Apple within a year, an assertion that raised eyebrows because Sony will launch its first tablet nine months after making the claim.







Sony hinted on Wednesday that it was open to budging on price. "We'll see and study how the market will react and we'll take any necessary action," said Deputy President Hideyuki Furumi. "But then again, we don't want to do competition simply on prices, because we have a lot of differentiation points."



However, the company will need to be careful to avoid the debacle that rival Hewlett-Packard went through with its TouchPad. After pricing its webOS tablet to match the iPad, HP saw disappointing sales of the device. A month later, HP attempted to compensate by first dropping the price by $100, but then, surprisingly, canceled the device.



HP took a $100 million loss on the tablet, selling the remaining inventory off at the low price of $99. The fire sale earned the tablet the distinction of being the first non-Apple tablet to spark overwhelming demand. The PC maker responded by producing a final batch of the now defunct device.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 125
    OMG I'm soooo surprised!
  • Reply 2 of 125
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    Samsung should learn from Sony, you innovate by creating your own designs, not by blatantly stealing the work of others.
  • Reply 3 of 125
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    Samsung should learn from Sony, you innovate by creating your own designs, not by blatantly stealing the work of others.



    a rounded rectangular tablet...



    or should everyone avoid violating Apples design patent and make circular or triangular tablets...to be safe...?
  • Reply 4 of 125
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ranReloaded View Post


    OMG I'm soooo surprised!



    lol, like I said...Android tablets have a LONG way to go quality/price/experience wise before they can even imagine picking up. As it stands right now it's as if no one is even trying.
  • Reply 5 of 125
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,070member
    The designer had amazing foresight and refrained from a form over function approach. Wedge shape and doorstop, a match made in heaven.
  • Reply 6 of 125
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ranReloaded View Post


    OMG I'm soooo surprised!



    Another tablet to the slaughter!



    They fail to realise that the ONLY differentiator in this market will be price. They cannot compete with Apple on anything other than price.



    Trouble is that they've discovered that Apple have done it with very little margin in the first place and are finding it difficult to undercut on price.
  • Reply 7 of 125
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tinman0 View Post


    Another tablet to the slaughter!



    They fail to realise that the ONLY differentiator in this market will be price. They cannot compete with Apple on anything other than price.



    Trouble is that they've discovered that Apple have done it with very little margin in the first place and are finding it difficult to undercut on price.



    Apple has quite good margins on all of their products including the iPad. The difference is that they are able to produce the iPad cheaper than others can produce their tablets. By ordering parts in massive quantities and with cash up-front they are able to create huge economies of scale that the other tablet makers can't come close to reaching. In some cases their large purchases of limited components drives the price even higher for everyone else. This is why the other tablet makers aren't automatically starting their prices lower than the iPad, because if they do there will be little or no profit for them.
  • Reply 8 of 125
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post


    The designer had amazing foresight and refrained from a form over function approach. Wedge shape and doorstop, a match made in heaven.



    hahahahahaha
  • Reply 9 of 125
    when you use someone else's os, and your competitor has so much better prices in their supply chain (and bulk of course), so you stick components someone else made but are inferior and more expensive, to an os someone else makes, then WHAT THE F. DO WE NEED YOU FOR SONY? It's too late to get off your asses and innovate now...





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tinman0 View Post


    Another tablet to the slaughter!



    They fail to realise that the ONLY differentiator in this market will be price. They cannot compete with Apple on anything other than price.



    Trouble is that they've discovered that Apple have done it with very little margin in the first place and are finding it difficult to undercut on price.



    and not to tout my own horn, but others and myself, said this from day 1 when the ipad's pricing was announced.



    They could of course sell them at a loss to advance os penetration, but whose os? Google's.... Hp should have managed palm better, they are collosal morons, I d sell my devices at a loss as they are doing now, add some design flair to them, be upfornt about it, and start getting some momentum for my app store, so I could recoup the losses there as quickly as I could. Hell, I d give touchpads away to developers. It's not a great way to do it, but it's the only way to get something out of this market from apple. Where they too stupid to think of this. Apparently so. Now they are selling at a loss a device that has obsolete written all over it because they are discontinuing it.

    Webos is a good os, I would take it over android anyday, just get a dedicated developer team from palm and your guys, stand behind it, keep developing and refining it, keep issuing advice and training for developers, sell at a loss your tablets to achieve some market penetration (you ll get that loss back anyway from a decent app store in the future) for a year or two, because you CANNOT period compete in prices nor in the apple app store wealth, and slowly and carve yourself a nice niche of 10% of the market.



    Other ideas for a contender with webos:

    You are free from google so find a model to share the ad profits with actual content providers as opposed to google search. Get bing or yahoo on the boat in some way.

    Get a good in house app development team and make targeted in house apps where there seem to be niches to the apple app store.

    Spent less money paying off ads and pundits on the web and more money to fund small developers. Hell hp has money, they ll be losing 100 million in their ineptness, take 1 million and fund young developers for your platform.

    Be bold, fuck flash as a spec sheet option, embrace html5, and save your battery life.

    Go to windows, there's no one else you can go to, get a team to work with them to integrate your product to xp, 7, an 8 via it's own interface, it doesn't have to be itunes, make it simple and workable.



    Apparently out of all these hp chose to just stick the effing os in a hardware box, as they 've been doing all along, with absolutely no foresight, sad to see people of such idiocy managing such colossal capital.
  • Reply 10 of 125
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post


    The designer had amazing foresight and refrained from a form over function approach. Wedge shape and doorstop, a match made in heaven.



    .



    Once you run out of doorstops you can always use your Sony tablet. You have to admit it is multifunctional. And while it functions as a doorstop it can continue to play some amazing YouTube videos, hence it is fully multitasking.
  • Reply 11 of 125
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post




    Webos is a good os, I would take it over android anyday, just get a dedicated developer team from palm and your guys, stand behind it, keep developing and refining it, keep issuing advice and training for developers, sell at a loss your tablets to achieve some market penetration (you ll get that loss back anyway from a decent app store in the future) for a year or two, because you CANNOT period compete in prices nor in the apple app store wealth, and slowly and carve yourself a nice niche of 10% of the market.




    Apple has claimed on multiple occasions that they really don't profit from the App Store. They claim that their share of the revenue goes to hosting the apps in the store, to marketing, etc. That may not be true, but when you look at their revenue from hardware sales compared to the claim that they have paid out approx. $2 billion to app developers it doesn't look like your model would benefit Sony or HP. $2 billion in distributed revenue for apps means about $1 billion for Apple in the 3 years that the App Store has existed. That is with a current iOS install base of over 200 million units.



    Given the currently available data it doesn't sound remotely possible for any of these other companies to ever turn a profit by selling their hardware at a loss and hoping to recoup and make a profit from app (or even music/video content) sales as you and quite a few others in the forums have proposed.



    Amazon might have been able to make this model work with the Kindle, but books cost about $10 and average app price is not much higher than $0.99. On top of that the Kindle doesn't do much besides allow book reading and a tablet can be used for many functions (including lots of free apps) without ever paying a dime beyond the initial purchase price.
  • Reply 12 of 125
    My model also suggests purchasable in house apps and niche products, perhaps by a dedicated team catering for businesses private requests. Even if they are not able to make money from the app store, and your arguments are perfectly sound, what's better, turning a loss for a year and half and then recouping it on hardware when they have some clout with suppliers, and also having a decent app store to tout, or the current one of going with no plan and making a loss on a soon to be obsolete os and product. And this goes only for hp who own the os, this, for sure, in a world of androids is an advantage that they can leverage, but they haven't even done this. They could have even approached samsung to ditch android, that could have given both of them an advantage, hp having one of the prime manufacturers of screens, chips, rams, and flashes giving them better deals, and samsung of getting free of google and differentiating themselves from the run of the mill manufacturers, and of course ad money.



    They have web ad money too by virtue of not having to use google. There's enough things they could have done to make this a moderate success instead of a colossal failure, that's the crux of what I am saying, although I stand corrected, at least as it seems right now, on the app store.
  • Reply 13 of 125
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    A folding one looks nice but like I said.. who's in their right mind will buy Android tablet NOW. They'll never works seamlessly with Mac. They'll never works seamlessly with Windows. If you hate Apple product then just wait and see what Windows 8 will be. At least you will have a great chance to see MS office on tablet.
  • Reply 14 of 125
    wolwol Posts: 5member
    Good times to be in the market for an Android tablet:



    1) check out the new releases, identify the one you like best

    then either

    2a) wait 6 weeks to pick it up at a $100 discount

    or

    2b) wait 10 weeks to pick it up at a $99 fire sale



  • Reply 15 of 125
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wol View Post


    Good times to be in the market for an Android tablet:



    1) check out the new releases, identify the one you like best

    then either

    2a) wait 6 weeks to pick it up at a $100 discount

    or

    2b) wait 10 weeks to pick it up at a $99 fire sale







    You're thinking of the WebOS powered HP TouchPad.



    Try again.
  • Reply 16 of 125
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,142member
    I predict (going out on a limb here) that it will do as well as Sony's MP3 players that compete with iPods.
  • Reply 17 of 125
    Yeah, you know I had said the TouchPad was intriguing before it hit $99 just because of WebOS. And I actually said I'd be willing to pay $99 for one before the fire sale.



    This? I can't imagine me caring at all. It brings nothing to the table.
  • Reply 18 of 125
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    I agree. These tablets are interesting from a design perspective. However, it seems Sony came up short by not using quality materials and assuring a quality build quality.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    Samsung should learn from Sony, you innovate by creating your own designs, not by blatantly stealing the work of others.



  • Reply 19 of 125
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    "We want to prove it's not who makes it first that counts but who makes it better," Sony CEO Howard Stringer said.



    I'm constantly amazed at competitors who, after whipping something together in 18 months, feel they can beat Apple at it's own game. Apple has spent the past EIGHT YEARS developing the iPad. Sony - along with everybody else - simply cannot compete. That said, I certainly understand their need to beat their own chests and project confidence about their products. But it merely speaks to the challenges the industry faces - but that's what happens when you follow instead of lead.
  • Reply 20 of 125
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post


    a rounded rectangular tablet...



    or should everyone avoid violating Apples design patent and make circular or triangular tablets...to be safe...?



    Samsung already made a triangular tablet. I posted it a few threads about them ago.
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