Forrester boldly asserts that the expected rash of new tablets won’t really challenge the iPad. The BlackBerry PlayBook expected soon, the HP TouchPad, and even new Honeycomb tablets from Motorola and others are too expensive to threaten the iPad and they lack an elegant App Store.
Apple will keep at least 80 percent of the U.S. tablet market in 2011. Just look at what happens at retail. “Compare the experience of walking into an Apple Store, where the iPad is front and center, to walking into a Verizon store where the Samsung Galaxy Tab is collecting dust at the back of the store and the sales reps don’t quite know what to make of it. Or walking into a Best Buy store, whose shelves will soon be lined with similar-looking tablets with similar functionality,” said a blog by Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps.
Also, the carrier subsidies that Motorola, Samsung, Dell and others rely on to lower the tablet price won’t work. Consumers are tired of being locked in to one carrier. “Forrester’s data shows that consumers want flexibility with their mobile broadband contracts on tablets.”
Amazon, however, could mount a credible challenge with an Android or Linux tablet. It can afford to subsidize the tablet because it can make up the cost in eBook sales. It already has an elegant one-click-purchase online store and it has the brand name clout.
Forrester also believes that “Sony, Microsoft, and Vizio could disrupt the tablet market too,” as it outlines in a new report.
Forrester concludes, “It’s not a foregone conclusion that Android tablets are worth the investment this year.” It’s better for some suppliers to wait for the market to settle, says Epps.