Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tablet Pricing Reminding Me When Calculators Were First Sold

As a kid, I remember getting my first TI (Texas Instruments) Calculator.  It was awesome.  It not only added and subtracted, but offered features that weren't typically available.  I could find the NPV (net present value) or IRR (internal rate of return) and as I recall, it cost a small fortune.  But it was cool and a must have.  Then Casio came in and others and competition erupted.  Prices dropped.  Today, these same features and more are available on very inexpensive calculators.

As we watch the tablet industry roll out, first with expensive models, it was only a matter of time that price points would begin to drop as more models and competitors vie for market share.  So the announcement from Amazon on its new Kindle Fire and all its pricing levels should come as no surprise.  They offer a price point for every type of consumer, from under $80 to $500.  Of course the  Kindle Fire is at the top of the line with new features, better screen, and faster speeds.  It has all the makings of a winner.

Will Apple announce it's mini iPad next week, along with the iPhone, or wait for another date to make that next announcement?  Will the mini iPad impress us as well with a price point that also causes excitement?  For those that wait, it is clear that the price of tablets will only continue to decline and perhaps one day, like the calculator, be so inexpensive we will likely own more than one.

Smartphone Makers Race To Deliver Announcements

The smartphone wars are ramping up and the race to deliver the news first, ahead of others and before the critical fourth quarter, looks a bit chaotic.  How much so, that both Nokia and Motorola, in an attempt to beat Apple to the gate have announced their phones first, but without some critical information.  They missed some details that the consumer would find important to know, such as the cost of the smartphone and which wireless providers would be offering them.  In this rush to beat Apple's iPhone announcement next week, one wonders if they did more damage then good to their brand.  Rather than focus on what makes their unique phones great, the chatter is on the announcement itself.

Apple, on the other hand, follows the same strategy over and over again.  Nothing is formally released early leading to buzz in the market about what if.  As anticipation grows, an announcement of a forthcoming event eludes only to news, but only to add to the speculation. And finally, at the announced date, details are set and revealed with emphasis on the new additions and benefits they derive.  And of course, the announcement includes availability and cost. It is a formula that continues to work.

With more smartphone devices reaching the consumer, the good news is that there is more choice than ever before.  With the coming release of Microsoft's smartphone, Samsung, and of course Blackberry, the field continues to crowd for the race to begin.