Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Xoom Sales Really That Bad?

Just about everyone is jumping in on Deutsche Bank's 100K Xoom sale estimate.  Albeit, it's not the millions of iPad 2s that Apple probably have sold through but I would have expected their numbers to be higher.  It's hard to believe the number is this low especially since it's the most hyped tablet of 2011.

And it's running freakin' Honeycomb!  

I think at the end of the day, when Motorola reports their numbers, my guess is that the actual figure will be higher.  Here's why.  Analysts from Wall Street tend to low-ball figures.  Conservative to a fall when they are not outright being idiots.

Having said that, even at 200K or 250K, it's lower than I would have hoped.  

There is good news and bad news in all of this.  First the good news.  The Xoom is the first of many dozens of tablets that will eventually be okay'ed by Google to run Android 3, Honeycomb.  The T-Mobile G-Slate is up next.  I think it'll do better than expected in terms of it being limited to just T-Mobile.

And certainly, I hope LG and T-Mobile are watching how the Xoom drama is being played out.  $799 is not a good number to position a tablet against the iPad and still have to sign up for data contracts.  

Another good news is that the Xoom was pushed out prematurely by Google and Motorola.  Future Android tablets will not suffer similar mistakes.  I'm sure Google is putting a lot of energy into polishing up Honeycomb and beefing up the number of tablet apps.  

Oh, and as a mobile warrior, I think $800 is a bit much to pay for a tablet.  I can get an iPad 2 for $630.  And I've bought a few on behalf of friends and family already.  No one has asked me to help get the Xoom.  Only one has heard about it and apparently, they heard about the price and the lack of apps.

So I think we could be looking at Google and friends market Honeycomb tablets at a much lower prices going forward.  I figure a 16GB Honeycomb tablet with 10" screen should charge only $399-$450 just to stay competitive with the iPad 2.  And regardless how you feel about the iPad 2, it's a great competitive pressure on the market.  And that's good for the consumers.

At the end of the day, we need both Apple and Google fighting it out - pushing mobile boundaries further out and competing.  We'll see HP, RIM, and Microsoft join the fight soon.  I'm sure they're watching what's going on with Android.  And that is good news.

Bad news?  Well, it's not that bad.  Hardware makers need to understand what it is about the tablet market that is so different from the PC market.  Apple's iPad 2 will continue to dominate in 2011.  So any meaningful competition will have to wait until 2012.  

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