One trend that is obvious in the market is that consumers in western countries want goods cheaper, and preferably free. Eventually this will catch up with other nations but it is most apparent in places such as the US and Canada where options are too abundant and branding is no longer a strong point.
Apple and Samsung dominate the tablet market and will mostly likely do so for a long time aside from in China where local vendors may eventually get access to enough high-end components such as panels that other supply chains cannot provide. Local panel makers are expected to unfold massive quantities of high-end LTPS TFT LCD and OLED panels from 2015-2017, and may surpass LG and Samsung both in technology and capacity. Knowing China, it will not be unlikely the display makers in the nation strike deals with local brands for exclusive rights to the technology or gain access to the capacity. Both scenarios either way point to a dominative China and potential for brands to compete in the global market.
If China brands were to get branded more properly to fit western audiences, which may be likely given how many expats are going over there to work due to increased prospects, then market shares for other vendors including Amazon may have to give away their tablets in order to get them into the market.
In fact doing so may not even be a bad idea given how much a company like Amazon has established an ecosystem that ranges from purchasing food, music and all sorts of goods. Tablet vendors are going to have to provide tablets like shopping carts are provided in the west in that they are the basic necessity for allowing you the experience to shop and deposit money. Trying to make money from the shopping cart would be ridiculous and would turn customers away. Therefore, stores provide the carts for free and do so in an organized manner as to attract the customers back. Tablets should do no different.
Offering tablets for free may be just the answer for companies to get a head start in developing their ecosystems as well. If you consider giving away something away for free, think of what could potentially be built around it. This scenario reminds me of an ice cream shop giving out free samples in order to attract customers in the door. Initially there may be come costs to cover but over time they will be paid back due to increased traffic and brand awareness. Otherwise, if the shop just opened or is struggling, what incentives do customers have to come through the door when there are so many other ice cream shops to choose from? It may sound backwards, but given the economic structure we live in today the value of a company will not come from a set product, rather the experience and overall “ecosystem” or environment it either creates or brings.
For tablet vendors that already have a niche in the market and are maintaining strong profits via other business such as Samsung and its TV/mobile segments, providing one device that follows this trend wouldn’t hurt the company if it put up the initial costs and took a hit. The same goes for smartphones. Most vendors in fact sell smartphones nearly at production cost and make their money instead through Apps, advertising and telecom/internet services that are paid monthly. Tablets could do the same and are more than likely to make enough profits back given the right structure is in place.
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