Sun Tzu’s Art of Tablet Marketing

Further to my earlier thoughts on tablets, iPads and Kindles (e.g. here and here) and triggered by an article or two on The Register (here and here) I thought that maybe what is needed here is some insight from Sun Tzu (he who wrote the Art of War, see wiki if this is new to you). I don’t think it gives me much more ability to predict the future than the next Cambridge lamp-post themed blog, but it does give me a better framework to organise my thoughts around than I hand before.

Without further ado, here are my thoughts…

What’s the problem?

Nobody wants to buy any tablet except the iPad. It sells in bucketfuls, commands a premium price and nobody really knows why. Previous tablet attempts e.g. Microsoft’s failed abysmally – this may be a coincidence, a reflection of Apple’s genius or the market not being ready.

The problem facing the competition is that Apple have created a requirement that is it’s own solution – people want iPads because they want iPads. If something doesn’t meet any clear market needs you can’t compete; you can’t offer similar or better niche fulfilment of some requirements at a better price. People think they understand but they don’t else the netbook could compete or so could the £200 Android web browsing device. Once we decompose the iPad the parts don’t make sense – people don’t want web browsing for £200 they want the iPad at £400+

What’s the answer?

Sun Tzu says many things; one of the is about fighting battles on the territory determined by the enemy. Not a good idea. Count the number of already failed iPad alternatives in summer 2011. The battle looks lost.

Move to a new battleground.

Find a requirement and sell that product.

Shine a light on the iPad and let’s see if the Emperor is wearing any clothes.

One attempt in this direction has been the HTC Flyer; smaller, dearer and with a better display. Sadly it is competing on to many unclear fronts IMHO – until Apple release the iPad mini then the small form factor isn’t established. Android also lags (currently) in terms of the application space.

Amazon and the Kindle

As you will have spotted I believe Amazon will succeed with the next Kindle, and now I know why; the battleground is already theirs, the e-reader with the e-book behemoth that is the Amazon website. Barring a miscalculation on price / features this will be the device with a purpose. This can be the iPad challenger. It already has a lot of guaranteed sales from people in the market for a newer Kindle.

We shall see how this pans out!


About Tony Jones
Big Finish writer, reviewer and blogger, I'm interested in science fiction and Doctor Who. I review for CultBox, The Doctor Who Companion and others. I am also Lead Writer for Starburst Magazine, and write the occasional piece for Vortex, the BSFA critical magazine.

2 Responses to Sun Tzu’s Art of Tablet Marketing

  1. Pingback: More Kindle news… « Reality Checkpoint

  2. Pingback: The problem(s) with tablets… « Reality Checkpoint

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