What Are People Doing On All Those Cheap Tablets?

I saw this chart on our favorite analyst's blog this morning:

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 10.42.10 pm

And I thought "that's a shitload of cheap android tablets." 30mm cheap Android tablets in the first six months of 2013?

And of course Benedict was asking the same question I was thinking:

Why are people buying these? What are they being used for? They're mostly in China (that’s the pink bar above) and emerging markets and in lower income groups in the west. And it seems that they're being used for a little bit of web, and a  bit of free gaming. Perhaps some book reading. And a LOT of video consumption. In fact, one might argue that for many buyers, these compete with TVs, not iPads, Nexuses and Tabs. But regardless of what they’re being used for, they’re not being used the way iPads are used. In effect, they are the featurephones of tablets. 

I use the Nexus7 (the thin yellow line). I have a bunch of them. One on my bedstand at home. One on my bedstand at my beach house. I use them for remotes in our family rooms and I use them as recipe stands in our kitchens. I may make up that entire yellow band. I love the Nexus7.

But clearly most folks like me use the iPad. The people who are buying the cheap Androids are using it for something very different.

But how long will that last? I was at a school the other day. The school had laptop carts full of macbooks and the Principal was talking about getting iPad Minis for the kids. I suggested laptop carts of Chromebooks and Nexus tablets instead. It will save the school hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Education, Healthcare, etc, etc. These industries need commodity mobile devices but in volume price matters a lot. I think cheap Android tablets have a lot of room to grow and the use cases will widen and this chart will change. At least that's my bet.


Comments (Archived):

  1. LIAD

    sold.so what’s the wilson play?

    1. fredwilson

      i think this blogging thing has legs 🙂

  2. Dave W Baldwin

    Glad you made your suggestion. I was battling that way over here, except recommending against the Surface. I was worried the school was thinking too much “Micro walled garden”. Luckily, we came out at about 60% of planned cost with Asus T100TA on the first round purchase moving into 1:1 this January.

  3. William Mougayar

    Judging by people around me, these new tablets are being used by a whole new category of people that never owned a PC, and never would have. It’s a whole new segment that’s probably larger than the PC population, and closer to the world population, potentially.My 6 year old niece has one, my aunt too, the video producer that showed-up yesterday at Albert’s event was using one to setup, my mom wants one, my wife uses mine, etc… I wouldn’t be surprised if the dog asked for one soon.

    1. awaldstein

      Sam has no interest btw.I’m puzzled by who this category of people is you mention. It can only be the people to young to have owned one before. Who else?

      1. William Mougayar

        for the young or the older, it’s a liberating tool that empowers the individual to do whatever they want.if you asked me today which 1 device i could keep, if i had no choice, i would keep a tablet, and ditch the smartphone and PC.

        1. awaldstein

          Be my guest on that one William.

          1. William Mougayar

            curious what would be your choice, if you could only keep 1 device?

          2. awaldstein

            13 Macbook Air.With wifi everywhere it just works.But–this conversation and your passion has made me want to go and buy a new small format iPad. Should I?I have the big, heavy first one and simply don’t carry it around.

          3. William Mougayar

            i think you would feel liberated at times when you wished you didn’t have to log your macbook air. btw- there’s a keyboard accessory to an ipad.

          4. awaldstein

            I’m being convinced.Let me know what you suggest for the pad and I’ll try it.Curious about how you manage syncing if you do.

          5. William Mougayar

            i don’t have a mini. but you sync with icloud, gmail, dropbox, google docs, etc. let’s email for more on this.

          6. pointsnfigures

            the new iPad is the first one that could make me jump. Everyone else in the family has one. I need a keyboard-and like Arnie I have a Mac Air which I love.

          7. panterosa,

            I love an iPad w keyboard.

    2. jason wright

      i can see no sense in a comsumer (not a typo) coming to computers for the first time and buying a desktop. with the birth of mini tablets i’m not even convinced of the need for smartphones. i use a dirt cheap featureless phone for random and infrequent voice calls, and i will soon buy a mini tablet for web on the hoof.n.b. i have an old desktop, which die hard.

      1. awaldstein

        You are suggesting that the world can write without a keyboard. Spreadsheets without one?Desktops dead I agree but my most used alongside my phone is not a tablet but my Macbook Air.

        1. jason wright

          what % of consumers have need of a spreadsheet Arnold?in a consumer centric world applications must evolve to ‘fit’.

          1. awaldstein

            If you work, communications is a large part of your job.Cooks with recipe’s. Programmers with code and annotations. Marketers with stuff. And on and on.Maybe only 1 to a few people in every business in the country have to do the books.I get your point of course but the big change is being able to do all of these things w/o a keyboard.I can’t.

          2. Cam MacRae

            Just about everyone I know with an iPad has a Bluetooth keyboard. They’re used as light notebooks.A desktop is something you use at work.

          3. awaldstein

            by desktop you mean laptop I presume?

          4. Cam MacRae

            Nope. Desktop. As in boxy thing on a desk.

          5. awaldstein

            had one once…not in 10 years probably.beside artists and video editors honestly don’t see them much at my accounts.

          6. Cam MacRae

            We move in different circles. Desktops as far as the eye can see here.

          7. awaldstein

            That’s exactly why I stop by here to see and hear what I don’t in my world.Enjoy the banter. Thanks!

          8. panterosa,

            I totally agree

          9. jason wright

            i was a little bit disappointed with the Apple presentation on Tuesday. i was expecting the announcement of a super thin keyboard that does double duty as a screen cover. missed opportunity imho. i don’t like the look of the Belkin class of tablet keyboard (thick and bulky).

          10. Dave Pinsen

            You mean a laptop?

          11. jason wright

            you know, those keyboard bases that tablets slot in to to make it look and behave like a mini laptop. i’ve looked at Belkin ones that work for the ipad mini, but when the two halves close together it becomes one big fat sandwich to have to haul around. me no like so much.

          12. pointsnfigures

            I am seeing Web 3.0 companies that are trying to move people off Excel, and into dedicated software apps that solve problems. So, no more spreadsheets.

          13. William Mougayar


          14. awaldstein

            I would love never to use excel again. Bring it on.

          15. panterosa,

            PLEASE SAY THER WILL BE A DAY!I am a shadow of my normal self when I must ‘excel’.

          16. pointsnfigures

            depends on the industry. I haven’t done a ton of research, except in healthcare and fin tech companies. But, it’s happening.

          17. awaldstein

            What startup doesn’t start with a spreadsheet? And stays there too long as well.They all do.What larger company doesn’t build it’s budgets around it? All of them.There is no one who works in marketing anywhere that I’ve ever met that doesn’t.Sure, it you don’t need to model, price, project or account for anything you don’t.Most people who are working adults do.

        2. William Mougayar

          but you are a professional, and describing a knowledge worker’s usage. most people on earth don’t need a spreadsheet, and if they need anything with financial data, the apps let you input data and generate reports without touching a spreadsheet.

        3. ErikSchwartz

          I for one do not understand how anyone can write code with fewer than two monitors.

      2. William Mougayar

        yup. you will feel liberated with the tablet.

        1. jason wright

          looking forward to it with high hopes 🙂

    3. JimHirshfield

      Arf arf

      1. William Mougayar

        There are apps for dogs apparentlyhttp://appman.tv/are-there-…

  4. charlessmith

    My kids school (Brooklyn Heights Montessori) went the chromebook route and I expect it will choose Nexus tablets when they make that move- not only is it cheaper, it encourages a freedom of use that the kids love- there are no carts, they don’t have to sign them out and they are not individually assigned. If they need one, they just go grab one- the school has very different expectations when the hardware is cheaper. Ubiquity and freedom decreases the pressure for teachers to control them constantly- it definitely encourages creativity.

    1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      Indian govt planned for a $35 tablet with the similar idea to have tablets for every kid…but we know what happens to the government initiatives 🙂 and on top that INDIAN govt.

    2. ShanaC

      Yes – but I hope they have a recycling program in place

    3. Henry Sztul

      Charles, I am very curious how they use those devices and how it integrates into the workflow of the students (and teachers)!

  5. jason wright

    i can imagine a tech data archaeologist coming along 500 years from now, and digging down s/he will find a thin yellow layer, and it will be classified ‘Wilsonian’.Does the Nexus 7 have cellular network capability?

  6. William Mougayar

    How is the quality of these cheap Android tablets? Will they show their age in 2-3 years and need to be replaced? Then it puts the financial equation into question, if you need to replace them eventually.What’s the expected lifetime? I’m willing to bet an Apple iPad will outlast other tablets in durability and quality.If the iPad is the Mercedes, which are the Android Honda and Toyota?

    1. jason wright

      ipads have high resale value, no?i sense that commodity tablets depreciate in value at an alarming speed and bottom out at ‘junk’ too soon.Trabant.Fred likes Nexus because it’s open. Consumers are not investors, they are consumers. they don’t care about open verses walled garden. some care about price, and some do not need to care about price. the charts illustrate this.

      1. William Mougayar


      2. fltron


      3. Ricardo Diz

        Agreed, but would that despite the fact that consumers “don’t care about open verses walled garden”, they do care about ecosystems.A person with an Android phone is more likely to go for the Nexus, that one with an iphone. And people caring Macs are probably more prone to other Apple stuff as well…

      4. JamesHRH

        THey also like no hassles.Fred wants to get inside his gadgets – the rest of us just want them to work & be easy to own.

    2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      The people who buy cheap (whatever) don’t plan to own it more than 2-3 years… I have seen that in cellphone market … they keep changing their phone every 3-years (some every year)….because the previous one had 1MP less camera (5MP vs 6MP).But ultimately who made the money? the carriers and nokia story we know.

      1. William Mougayar

        true. low prices are attractive. Consumers don’t think about the cost of ownership. They think about the purchase price. But businesses should think about cost of ownership.

        1. Ivan Vecchiato

          The cheap tablets I have tried (about 10 different <100$) have a very low quality, and their expected lifetime is much less than 2 years. The best I tried give a more solid felling, but when you use them you simply do not have to compare them to a Nexus 7 or an iPad. They are something else. Period. They can be used for other things (like I said before, for instance a single application specific use, like the ones I sell) and still they make sense in this case.But do not compare them based on touch feelings, responsiveness, reliability. It is not simply their job.Do you want to choose the car you will love to drive? You’re welcome, there’s a good choice out there. Do you want just to reach a place? You can go by bus, too. Here’s the difference (in terms of feeling) to me.

    3. pointsnfigures

      Exactly, Apple is a luxury brand. Check out the prices on Ubid.com for resale.

      1. JamesHRH

        I disagree with this – owning Apple is a high value experience.

    4. JimHirshfield

      However, the people that buy Apple products are the same people that need the _latest_ Apple products. So, they’re buying new iPads every two years just to keep up with the Joneses.

      1. William Mougayar

        i would say some do, not all. i have a first generation iPad that i haven’t upgraded. it works great. i have a 3-year old iPhone 4 that I’m still happy with. putting iOS 7 on it felt almost like getting a new phone.

        1. andydavies

          I’ve got an iPad 2 and switching apps in iOS7 is quite a painful experience as generally the one I switch to is reloaded from scratch

          1. William Mougayar

            Really. I haven’t experienced that. Even with backups?

          2. andydavies

            Other people have reported they don’t see the same behaviour too.In browsers it at least still has the same pages loaded (if not in the same state) but in many other apps they restart from scratch.iOS6 had similar behaviour to a limited degree – if I was completing a webform e.g. replying in a forum, it wasn’t unusual to lose the contents of the form if I switched apps or even tabs sometimes.I’ve largely got used to iOS7’s behaviour on iPad 2 but still find it a little frustrating, biggest issue I have with iOS is the lack of interaction between apps (Android style intents) and lack of swipe like keyboard.I see the iPad being replaced by a Nexus 7 sooner or later – there’s a few apps I’ll miss but not that many I hope!

      2. PhilipSugar

        I would not agree. I am not an Apple fanboy. I do not need the latest and greatest. I have every single Apple I bought in the last decade still working. I replaced the iMac Hard Drive but that is it.My wife and kids treat the iPads and MacBook’s like shit. You can see the dents in their metal cases. Still running.We have had a BYOD to work policy with a monthly stipend for laptops and phones. I got tired of replacing my Dell notebook every year.The way it works in my family is I buy a new version and the old ones still get used (not fair, but what can I say)

        1. JimHirshfield

          I guess my experience is unique. I’ve been riding the commuter train into NYC for years and have observed the transition from newspapers to tablets…from gen1 iPads to latest iPads. Lots more Android and Kindle tablets now. But in first year, just iPads mostly. Now lots of ipad minis. I guess my sample population is affluent. So, not scientific.

          1. PhilipSugar

            My experience is watching a bus come down to DE Apple Store from Chinatown NYC, and every single person lining up and buying several iPads to ship back to China. (no Tax here in DE) It happens several times a week and they have a whole process for it including a State Trooper that manages the line.Go into an Apple Store with an old MacBook they will support, try that with a one year old HP from Best Buy.

          2. Jesse Ingram

            I’ve taken my ’07 MacBook to the Genius bar and without a second glance they go to work solving the problem.

          3. LE

            Yeah they are also good at the “we aren’t supposed to do this but let me ask my manager” and then they make you feel special.

          4. JimHirshfield

            Odd. Isn’t the cost of transportation from NYC to DE greater than the tax?

          5. LE

            Well the entire mall is tax free so I would assume they are buying all sorts of things (not just ipads) to ship back to China. Not to mention the fact that people love a bargain and to feel they are getting away with something.I saw some poor trashy guy in the luggage store who had a suitcase he bought that was stuffed with all of his purchases from the mall.By the way if you are going to buy apple make sure you take advantage of the education discount which is 5% or something like that.

          6. PhilipSugar

            Ah the joy of living the hipster life in NY. 🙂 Not everybody rides MetroNorthA bus ride from NYC down here from Chinatown is less than $20. http://www.chinatown-bus.org/At sales tax of 8.75% breakeven is $225. Not much you can buy at the store is less than that wouldn’t you say? Especially two laptops or unlocked phones.

          7. LE

            Apple limits you to something like x devices per person per time period.But I would think that some Udel students could figure out a way to work this to their advantage since they also can get the education discount. Of course anyone can get the education discount for that matter but not everyone knows that (so that’s an additional x percent margin).So you get a bunch of your friends to go and buy products and you are the conduit to the Chinese and ship overseas. Obviously people are already doing this. But the small $$ made are much better for a student than working in fast food.By the way at the Apple store here in NJ there was a line of Asians outside the store with a rope on the day that the iphone came out. (No trooper though.)

          8. JamesHRH

            They have extended their product user experience philosophy into the stores….they are gaining real traction with a strong product ownership experience.

      3. SubstrateUndertow

        I ‘m still using a 1st generation iPad because I can’t find a compelling reason to upgrade !

        1. JimHirshfield

          Awesome. That’s my style too.

      4. LE

        So, they’re buying new iPads every two years just to keep up with the Joneses.I don’t know why people feel that way about Apple. While I’m sure there are people that do that I somehow don’t feel that is the case with a large majority or most of their buyers. All those older middle age people buying Apple at the Apple stores aren’t caring about that shit. They just want something that works easily for them.What you are talking about relates more to something that is changed but doesn’t provide any additional tangible features or benefits.Perhaps sneakers are a good example of this.Why some kid wants the latest Nike.I’m not saying that doesn’t happen with Apple but the new ipad was truly lighter than the older one and the newer Macbooks were truly better than the older ones. The products advance and that to me is what drives the majority of the buying decisions.

        1. JimHirshfield

          Yeah, see my reply in this same thread.

    5. Elia Freedman

      The previous generation Nexus 7 didn’t make it a year, from accounts I have read. The batteries died.

      1. William Mougayar

        I have a friend who had a month-old google tablet screen splinter from movement in his backpack, and in its case.You got to give credit to Apple for building a durable tablet. Mine is a first generation iPad from the first week of production probably, and still very happy with it without the dandy features of the new ones.

      2. fredwilson

        all of mine are still running fine.

    6. LE

      If the iPad is the MercedesAlong the lines of what I said before regarding “total cost of ownership” another important thing to keep in mind with Apple is that it actually has resale value.I can buy pretty much any Apple product and be assured that I can resell it on craigslist or ebay for a really good price relative to the amount of time I’ve had it and what I originally paid.Re read the above because it is rarely given consideration by most people.So for example if I am leaving for a trip and decide I want to get an extra 13″ Macbook air I can buy that product and sell it in two months or 1 year or 2 years and get a fair amount of money (relative to what I spent) because there is a ready market of people who are looking for that product.That simply doesn’t happen with any of the many non apple products. There is not a ready market of people looking and shopping for those products in any significant number to keep the price you would get decent.

      1. William Mougayar

        yup. agreed. the apple brand is worth something. android doesn’t have a brand power like apple does, except at the high end of the android market, which somewhat proves apple’s point of staying at the high end of the market if you want to compare apples to apples.

  7. Damian Thompson

    I live and work in Southeast Asia and they are being sold here as “cheap ipads” going so far as to actually come bundled with covers that make them look like ipads.

    1. Cam MacRae

      I see that a lot too.

  8. tsella

    To your point about saving a lot of money to the school – I posted this earlier today on FB:So everybody is so “how Apple has handed Microsoft a huge blow by innovating with a free OS and productivity tools model”.. How about “how Apple spinned it to obfuscate yet another ‘follow’ move to combat a bigger enemy”?

    1. tsella

      I would further argue that people prefer the full keyboard and cheaper price. MS could have done well if it had priced Surface Pro properly.I am also happy that all naysayers who originally argued Apple will indefinitely lead this market as “there are no distribution models for Android tablets” are proven wrong. Android is good enough (dare I say better), and being accessible to different vendors allows for a much necessary competition and accessible pricing MAKES the distribution.

    2. fltron

      You do realize Apple doesn’t care about this segment of the market, right? If they did, they’d put their Apple logo on cheap crappy phones and laptops and make 2% margin on huge volumes.Apple wasn’t here first (they usually aren’t!) but this was an attack on Microsoft, not Google.

      1. tsella

        That is the common wisdom. I dispute it. Apple *does not know* how to deal with this segment, and it is the fastest growing one. Android is killing it in the phone market. Android is killing it in the tablet market. ChromeOS+Drive is doing well in the laptop market.Apple is struggling with the concept and is repeatedly doing “follower” moves. This one is no exception.

        1. fltron

          I love you man, you’re so misguided. Let’s look at the facts (not beliefs):- Apple sells hardware at 30%+ margins (50% in the case of iPhones)- Those cheap options are sold at minimal profit, some are sold at a lossHow can Apple compete int his market? They can sell their latest iPhone 5s for half the price at $300 without contract. Boom. Done. Seeya. They’d have the same margin as the Samsung chromebook, and they’d be selling a fantastic product at nothing prices.They’d sell the iPad mini for much less. $230 for last year’s model. That be break-even for them, or maybe with a slight loss.If Apple wanted this market, they could have it. They’re out to make profit, and they’re going for consumers that spend dollars on apps, music, and videos.ChromeOS+Drive is going after the same market that purchased $400 17″ screen laptops. Good on them. Apple never competed in that market.If you do choose to reply, please use facts, not fiction.

          1. tsella

            Facts are post-mortem. Beliefs are forward looking. I prefer to be a believer. :)You are just restating what I said, in an obnoxious way. Apple does not know how to deal with this market. It (you say “does not want to”) cannot sell or compete at those margins. The graph in this post shows huge growth of a market they won’t compete in. Look at a same graph for phones. Android entered both when Apple was a practically only wunderchild.

          2. fltron

            There’s a big difference between ‘can’t’ and ‘doesn’t want to.’ You’re making it sound like a trivial misconception that we’re having.If Apple wants to compete in that market, it can. I showed you how it can. They make 30-50% profit on their products. If they decided to go for a break-even business, or a small margin business (As those other companies are doing), they would be competing on that market. I don’t know how else to restate this. That’s proof positive they can, if they want to, compete in that market.You’re simplifying something that’s not so simple.When you say huge growth, you mean low-margin unprofitable growth. I’m not arguing that selling products at little or now margin will give you growth. It does.What I’m saying is, for a developers community, low margin sales are irrelevant to a paycheque situation. Stats continue to show that Apple users are worth far more in dollars then the quantity on the other side.If you’re simply cheering on Android because they have more numbers, good on you. Yes, yes, Android outsells Apple. That’s great. It’s one stat. Google isn’t making money on these sales. Most manufacturers aren’t making money on these sales. Only Samsung is making a profit.(When I say Google isn’t making money on these sales, I do understand that they’re making some money, but they’re still making far more dollars on iOS devices then all the Android devices combined. That’s telling).Android isn’t open, either. It’s quite closed. Carriers and manufacturers can’t work with companies that fork Android. Amazon needs to get desperate just to find someone to make their tablets, and most carriers legally can’t subsidize forked Android phones on their networks without breaking their contract with Google.OPEN! Yeah right.

          3. tsella

            If anything, you’re oversimplifying when saying with certainty “they can”. As a company: culture, shareholder perspective, consumer perspective, R&D spender, and many more aspects THEY CANNOT. They may be able to spin some aspects of it, as they do in other respects with media and customers, but I don’t believe they can seriously “drop prices and keep it going”.Like it or not, by-volume wins and more-so where one of the parties is in a “my way or the highway” modus operandi. Google is earning plenty from Android, even not in direct $$. Don’t forget its a company dealing with/in data. One needs to use Google Now to realize how well they understand (and in turn monetize) you.For developers I’m sure it will resolve eventually – even if because of sheer volume.I have a lot of thoughts on how App market will change very soon, and the interaction with the device home page (Launcher in Android lingo) has a lot to do with that. Apple does not support that interaction. Android does. Developers will profit significantly from that.On that last part of Android not being open – happy you read that arstechnica article. It is very, very true.

          4. fltron

            Ah! tsella, I really feel we’re getting somewhere here. You make a fantastic point.They can, but they won’t, because… -> “culture, shareholder perspective, consumer perspective, R&D spender, and many more aspects THEY CANNOT.”You are getting there! All that is true. They can’t.. because…It would be REALLY STUPID.They’re one of the most profitable companies in the world. Why would they compete in this market and loose margins? They could, if they wanted to, but it would be bloody stupid because they’d be leaving profit on the table.Most of those companies in the top 10 sales would love to sell those laptops at a 40% margin, but they can’t. Because no one would buy them.Apple can.Now that we’ve reached (hopefully) this level of agreement, let me blow your mind for a moment. If market factors ever change to the point where cheap tablets are really a winning category, and Apple needed to make cheap tablets to maintain their revenue numbers… they can go there.If, ever, business factors brought that about. If next year Apple only sold 6 million iPhones on the launch weekend, they could always cut the price by $150 and completely underprice Samsung, and sell more iPhones at lesser margin and still make 25% profit.I do apologize for being obnoxious in my tone. It’s just.. we’re not comparing apples and apples. Apple doesn’t want this cheap tablet marketplace. If market factors ever change where they need to go into this market, they will.Beliefs are great! There’s substantiated beliefs and unsubstantiated beliefs.

          5. tsella

            Facts you say. Interesting.So Samsung (whom name you put on the table, and also happens to be my employer) sells 8″ tablets that retail at $20 less than Apple.Samsung, who is not the vendor of cheap tablets Fred brought up, but rather very comparable tablets, in feature and price, has had a YoY growth of 123%, vs Apple’s 0.6%. Apple dipped below 30% market share in tablets this past quarter. Samsung passed 20% for the first time.Samsung’s best selling phone, the S4, is not a cheap phone. It is slightly cheaper than the iPhone. It is a premium feature wise, if not more. It also beat Apple in shipments this past quarter. Till the release of the 5S, it has beat Apple at every carrier except AT&T in the US.Samsung’s profit margin is not as low as you paint it and in fact, their operating margin just beat or is vary close to Apple’s.In a market Apple basically owned, with these numbers, I would suggest it fast learn some new tricks, which you seem to think it can. It cannot.Oh, and by the way, Samsung also happens to make the memory and SoCs across the board for Apple mobile equipment, and soon also reportedly will supply glass for the new iPad Mini with Retina.You think Apple can under-price Samsung and remain profitable? Facts? You have been zapped by the reality distortion field a time too many perhaps.

          6. fltron

            Hilarious. You work for Samsung. It would have been good to start this debate identifying your employer. Who do you think has more likely to have a clouded viewpoint? You.. the employee of Samsung.. or me… a person that doesn’t profit one way or another from this debate.Leaving that aside, Apple earns more profit in its iPhone business then all of Samsung across all of its electronic divisions. Samsung has always outsold Apple in phones. Always. Like. Big deal. Every major cell phone manufacturer (including Nokia, I’m pretty sure) outsells Apple. Yet Apple makes more profit then all of its competitors combined (mostly because, with the exception of Samsung, the rest of the competition is either losing money or barely breaking even).Samsung is doing awesome, though. Beyond its poor business practices, and copying everywhere, their a company that knows how to make money. Apple couldn’t have succeeded without Samsung’s manufacturing abilities. Since the original iPhone, it was Samsung providing the most important components for the phone. And each time Apple tries shifting away to other companies, they seem to be coming back to Samsung because no one manufacturers as well as Samsung.However, the rest of your argument is all trickery. Yes, the S4 outsold the iPhone 5 for a quarter on a few carriers because the iPhone was EOL and the S4 was just released. Apple sells half the smartphones for most carriers these days. Samsung continues to outsell in total phones, because Samsung sells 3 or 4 times the number of phones compared to Apple. Who. Cares. Not me. Apple, as mentioned earlier, makes a ton more profit then all of Samsung, across all divisions.I never painted Samsung’s profit margins as low. They are, however, low on the chromebook. That’s all I said. This debate, in fact, had nothing to do with Samsung (the company you work for). Samsung is the only profitable Android manufacturer.This debate is about cheap tablets, which as you noted, Samsung doesn’t even participate in (At least not in North America).I’m sure Samsung will continue to do well, and if Apple ever releases a smart watch, they’ll have a better idea of how to make a good smart watch. And TVs. Or whatever else Apple takes an interest in. And Samsung will continue to make wonderful profits.However, this discussion was about how Apple can’t compete with cheap products. And you lost that debate ages ago, and tried to flip it around on a Samsung vs Apple debate. Ironic, since according to you, Samsung also doesn’t compete in that marketplace. Are they unable to?

          7. fltron

            Add to that, it’s fairly amazing that Apple manages to keep ahead of Samsung on such things as tablet thinness, battery life, and processor capability when Apple is so dependent on Samsung on all those components. It’s as though Apple’s innovative nature is keeping them ahead.Samsung has innovated in cheating benchmark tests, so you’ll always have that to hold onto.

          8. fltron

            Oh tsella… continuing to be so wrong.Bloomberg on Samsung – “the company, which overtook Apple Inc. (AAPL) in smartphones, has used sales of cheaper handsets in emerging markets to stoke earnings in mobiles as growth in high-end devices slows amid market saturation.”Later “total shipments [of smartphones were] up QoQ led by increased sales of mass-market models,” but “high-end model shipments stayed at similar level QoQ.”In other words, high-end smartphones did not outsell the iPhone. The business is flat. While Apple’s iPhone growth is still 25%+.Oops. Sorry man. Wrong again.

          9. fltron

            Your original argument that “Apple *does not know* how to deal with this segment” is ludicrous. Everyone is able to make cheap (price and hardware) tablets. Seriously. Everyone makes them. Every company in the world that wants to make them, makes them. HP, ASUS, Dell, I won’t waste my time naming the rest.Apple knows how to make cheap tablets. Everybody does. They don’t want to make them.Maybe this clarifies my argument in a less wordy way.When you look at as to why they don’t want to make them, it’s clearly because they’re making an incredible amount of profit on making high-end devices. Why? Because this is the market where the profit is.When it comes to the development community.. who would you rather develop for, the low commodity guys, or for the company that makes high end products?

          10. SubstrateUndertow

            Google like Apple is a giant corporate profit machine !Open dosen’t enter into it except as a marketing slogan.EDIT:Apple can continue its high end profit strategy as long as it is able to innovate around its vision of where the puck is going to intercept with things like iBeacon.iBeacon brings the network-effect back home to a hardware-lockable private-ecosystem array of personally owned and controlled local or distal devices.I think the iWatch will be the monitor/remote front-end used to manage that personal-netwok-effect local hardware array.Inovation still has a lot of open space to run from the jaws of commoditization.

          11. LE

            Apple does not know how to deal with this market.They do. They choose not to.Keep in mind that dealing at a different price point also brings in an entire set of customer service issues.More customers more support needed. It’s a vicious cycle (or circle whatever).If volume goes up you will then have more people showing up at the highly valuable Apple store (or calling or posting questions) being noodniks or whiners trying to get their low priced product to work.You can’t just ramp up production, lower prices and expect to not be able to ramp up support to keep up your standards for the high priced products you also sell.People often forget this. It’s not all just sell sell sell.One of the things that making obscene profits allows you to do is in theory give a good total experience to your customer because there is so much money floating around.

          12. SubstrateUndertow

            “Facts are post-mortem. Beliefs are forward looking.”Maybe if your beliefs are based on a well founded set of leading indicators.Is your argument that Apple hasn’t got the chops to own the low end market if that market segment were their top priority ?There is a big difference between Apple not knowing how to deal with a market and choosing for strategic reason not to engage that market!

  9. reece

    IF iPhone == low end disrupter to PC’sTHEN iPad == low end disrupter to TV’s

    1. reece

      theory, not fact obviously

    2. John Revay

      We live in CT and have Cablevision as our cable provider….We have several cablevision set top boxes……We have several tablets (iPad, Nexus 7, Kindle Fire, and at least 3 iphones) with the cablevision app to watch TV programming. One year ago, we did not use any of these screens for TV

      1. reece

        sounds about right…

  10. leapy

    Uk based. My invalid mother is now unable to use her desktop. Has bought herself the new tesco hudl (budget android) for shopping grocery deliveries, email, video chat and watching bbc news.Before anyone shouts ‘edge case’, 6 of her friends already have android tablets vs 1 with iPad (who is scared to carry it out and about because it cost so much).

    1. pointsnfigures

      Old people love tablets/iPads. Easy to use. Touch. Kind of like 3 year olds.

  11. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    Who should look at the graph more carefully and how it is going to change in couple of year? & Who should look at what they are using it for??Users NO (Does it matter whether i am in yellow, green or …).The app developers. YES. Numbers is they game you play…. not quality of the device or pricey or cheap.More the download better for you and your app.The answer is first Android then others 🙂

    1. fltron

      I’m really curious… How do justify that stance when iOS users outspend Android users 4 to 1 despite not being the market leader?

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        I believe ….things will change (in couple of years) when you see the graph changes to mostly green and purple and little light-blue.

        1. fltron

          So.. .why not develop for Android first when things change?Fred and others have been preaching Android first for the past 3+ years. They’ve been wrong. Every. Single. Year.Why not say ‘Hey, Apple is the way to develop now, but I see this changing in the next few years.’ Alright, I can jump on board that, as at least being better then wishful thinking.Saying Android first right now, in today’s market, ignores the facts.10 years ago you needed to know what platform to code for. It took 2+ years to develop a successful commercial product, and if you weren’t developing it on the right platform, it was going to hurt your sales.Today, it takes 2 to 6 months to develop an app. All you need to know is where the market is going to be 6 months to a year from now.Do you think Android is going to drastically even equal Apple’s payments to developers in a years time? Nope. Not likely. Not even int he best case scenario.Apple first. Then Android.

          1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            I would be happy if i can make a decent app in 6-months and make it popular within next 6-months.

  12. pointsnfigures

    $AAPL has become a luxury brand. Begin to look at it that way. Just like Louis Vuitton. Last night on the news, the Chicago mayor released a budget. They raised cable television taxes again among other things. There is a $600 million dollar pension shortfall that they need to cover-and the state isn’t helping yet. Next year, if nothing is done they will have to raise taxes significantly again-including cable taxes. Why do I mention that?If cities use cable taxes to raise revenue and assume that it’s a good like gasoline, water or cigarettes, something we can not live without (with inelastic demand curves)-how soon will the world switch away from cable and to tablets for their entire television experience?When will $GOOG and $AAPL start mass producing wireless/cell tablet devices in a 40″ format and higher?Government and aggressive taxation of goods may drive behavior quicker than technology.

    1. Ricardo Diz

      I don’t agree that Apple has become a luxury brand. If it was, it wouldn’t sell as many devices.

      1. pointsnfigures

        We disagree. Apple has gone upmarket. There is social status in owning an Apple product versus a commoditized Android product. It’s priced at a price point where people will stretch to afford it to project an image. Their marketing takes care of any confirmation bias post purchase, and makes it “cool” to own one (attracting new customers. They have intentionally refused to go downmarket on tablets and phones, leaving it to the Android market. They don’t see the future $35 phone as a good investment given the marginal revenue and costs associated with it. (How many $35 phone buyers will PURCHASE apps in an app store?)My gut is the next step for Apple will be to continue to develop really really good apps that work well on mobile platforms at higher prices. There will be social status in having some of these apps.

        1. Ricardo Diz

          Let’s agree to disagree then :)It might come down to what one means by luxury brand. According to Google (just search Google for “Luxury”), Luxury is “the state of great comfort and extravagant living”. IMO, that’s not the case with Apple products. Apple is not aiming at affluent segments only either. (yes, I do understand the “trending up” trend).I do agree that Apple brings an emotional effect on consumers creating a “cool living style narrative” that people generally like to relate to, but’s that’s part of creating a brand.

          1. Ricardo Diz

            I meant “trading up” instead of “trending up”. Damn automatic dictionaries 😛

          2. Tyler Hayes

            “Affordable luxury.”You might enjoy this particular piece by John Gruber: http://daringfireball.net/2…cc @pointsnfigures:disqus

      2. ErikSchwartz

        They sell a gold phone.QED

        1. Ricardo Diz

          Samsung is supposedly about to do the same thing…

          1. ErikSchwartz

            Samsung is also a luxury brand.Those millions of Chinese tablets are sold by brands that are never seen in the US.

          2. Ricardo Diz

            Gold in this case is just a color. I’m sure there will be gold Chinese tablets pretty soon.But point taken on most items in the US / Europe being seen as luxury in China.

        2. LE

          Edit: (Yeah I know the gold is priced the same as the others..)Bracketing prices is a great way to get people to take the middle choice. Something I observed years ago that I believe is now common knowledge.Attached illustrates the point.This is off the top obviously I don’t know that this was Apple’s intent.When buying is done on an emotional basis it’s fairly easy to manipulate people to make a certain decision or force them in a direction that you want them to take.

    2. LE

      $AAPL has become a luxury brand. Begin to look at it that way. Just like Louis Vuitton.LV is 95% in your brain and 5% actual benefit (vs. another brand meaning I’m sure the quality of construction is good and has value but not that much value).Apple is expensive but provides value. The hardware and construction is excellent the user experience is excellent the stuff works and save time and aggravation. Even buying is easier (less choices and things to think about and you get a much better grade of sales person in the Apple store). [1]So while LV might be brain smoke and mirrors Apple (despite what Kid Mercury thinks) is most certainly not. You get something for your money.Ever remove the cover off an Apple tower vs. a PC tower? Take a look inside. It’s well constructed. A typical PC tower is shit inside with shitty components.This is the same with many products. I have Sun servers that are still running 10 years after being deployed without a hitch. I bought some new Supermicro servers (against my better judgement) and already had a power supply failure.[1] I’ve bought Apple branded hard drives and paid more than for the same drive by the same manufacturer on the open market in some cases on the assumption that the supply chain gives the better inventory to Apple than to other vendors who matter less.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Maybe LV was a bad example. Apple is upmarket. The tablet market is segmenting. Everyone can’t be everything to all people. Apple has chosen the upper market, and is actively going after it.Apple has the things that upmarket people value. Coolness, uniqueness, social status, and great craftsmanship. Like an exclusive club, and their customer service reflects it.

  13. mikenolan99

    “Compete with TVs” is an interesting thought – and now that I think about my iPad use, it is probably 30% of what I do… set it up and stream stuff while on my laptop – even when there is a TV in the same room.Samsung and other TV manufacturers (and broadcast TV!) must be worried about this. I toured the Samsung plant in Slovakia – in 2007 the lifespan of a specific model TV off of the hundreds-per-hour TV assembly line was about 9 months. Six years later I’m guessing that it is even less.I asked my son if he wanted a TV for his dorm room – he just looked at me funny. He didn’t even bring his desktop gaming computer. His laptop and iPhone are all he needs.I doubt he will ever invest in a “home theater”…

    1. panterosa,

      will he invest in a mini projector? that’s my next toy.

      1. mikenolan99

        Maybe – especially the new LED projectors – Here’s David Pogue’s article on them – very cool indeed.http://www.nytimes.com/2013…BTW – Pogue is leaving the New York Times! Headline today.

        1. panterosa,

          Yes, I am debating which one….

          1. mikenolan99

            I’m looking forward to more Pogue – he’s go a great wit:”Above all, you’d never have to replace the bulb. The LED projectors in this roundup are rated at 20,000 hours or more… That’s long enough for you to watch a different movie every night for 27 years, or the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy twice.”

  14. Rohan

    this might sound obvious but it’s amazing how technologically advanced China is, Fred. I’ve been in shanghai/beijing over the past few weeks and it’s way more advanced here than most first world countries i’ve been to. i’ve been super impressed – one part of me feels a bit sad as india as china used to be talked about in similar breath.. that’s long gone but still hearing in the news is something and seeing it live is something else.i’ve noticed many android devices, many ios devices – this trend is growing as they population gets richer – but for the near future, the android segment is only going to grow..only wish there was a technological fix for the smog/pollution here!

    1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      You cannot have the cake and eat it too…. they do most of the polluting manufacturing for the rest of the world.

  15. Elia Freedman

    A few quick thoughts as I head out for a flight east:- The previous generation Nexus 7 had some horrible issues that, by many accounts, made them unusable within a year. I am certain Google will fix the problem and doubt it has impacted their sales much.- Tim Cook showed a slide Tue claiming that iPad usage is 81%. Not certain where that data came from but if true means that people are buying but not using non-iPad tablets. I have five non-iPad tablets here but don’t use any of them except when testing on Android. I’m probably very odd though.- Many school districts have deals with Apple, including an IT staff trained on Apple. Buying non-Apple gear isn’t really an option for these schools. Plus schools need devices to last 5-6 years. 2-3 is unreasonably short.

    1. B12N

      I don’t think you’re very odd. I bought a first-generation Nexus 7 to play around with Android. It’s just on my nightstand and I barely use it vs. my iPad. I really want to like it, but there’s just something missing. It isn’t as snappy. The battery doesn’t last as long. It doesn’t feel as enjoyable to use. Somehow.I have screen size envy every time someone whips out there Galaxy S4 or Note, but my experience with the Nexus 7 makes me wait on switching to Android.

      1. tsella

        I have both the first and second gen N7. The latter is *so* much better it is surprising. You should try in some store.Personally I don’t really use either much. An HTC One screen size meets most of my needs, including reading and video consumption.

        1. B12N

          How’s the battery life vs. your first-gen N7? The biggest problem I found with the first-gen N7 was the idle battery life. It just didn’t last more than a couple days even if I hadn’t touched it, while the iPad’s battery life barely budged. I had to install an app to handle idle/sleep mode on the N7 just to make sure it lasted longer.Would be interested on your take.

    2. Salt Shaker

      The tablet market, just like Mac/PC’s, smartphones, etc., operate in a classic price segmentation environment. Apple has never viewed itself as a “mass” brand, and if there was any doubt they were going to pivot and vacate the upmarket segment, even for emerging markets, pricing strat on the 5C and 5S generally has laid that rumor to rest. The bottom line: Consumers are willing to pay a price premium for perceived quality. The latest iPad mini with a retina screen, enhanced processing and stronger battery life, is going to be hugely successful this holiday season, not to suggest lower priced tabs won’t also have a good run. Tim Cook isn’t the lightweight many people made him out to be, including leading WS analysts. It think Apple’s stock will hit 600 by year’s end.

    3. cant-login-with-disqus

      > The previous generation Nexus 7 had some horrible issues that, by many accounts, made them unusable within a year. I am certain Google will fix the problem and doubt it has impacted their sales much.What issues are you referring to? I have the first generation N7 and I love it. I use it for video, reading, browsing and email. And when I was travelling without a computer, it was an excellent device for helping me around.I don’t use many apps though, but that’s mostly because I don’t feel like the Android ecosystem has that many useful things for tablets and/or I don’t need them.I’m curious to know what tablet-specific apps people use with the N7.

      1. Walt French

        The issue was that as delivered, the systems didn’t (properly) implement TRIM which meant that after the memory had been used a bunch, writing info, including temp files, got very slow. Most people with light usage patterns (total and/or only one or two apps at a time) never saw an issue.Fixed now but heavy users had a very slow machine for many months.

    4. fredwilson

      i own at least a half dozen of the V1 nexus7s and all of them are doing fine. not saying there aren’t problems. just saying i don’t have any.

  16. Ivan Vecchiato

    My little experience: I tried a lot of low cost Android tablets, importing samples from China, because my business is to sell professional applications to be used on cheap tablets that my clients do not treat as their own “toy”. I develop restaurant order application for waiters, POS system and interactive menu, and the owners of the restaurant not always can afford to buy a dozen iPads to be used by customers; those are going to be work goods, just as pots and dishes.Then I need the tablets I sell with the system and the application to be a lot cheaper than an iPad or a Samsung 10″.As long as a tablet is not used for one person’s business, 100$ tablets make sense to me.

  17. kenberger

    They sure seem to use them as cameras a lot.I was in Italy last couple weeks, and especially in places like Venice, a large percentage of the photo-taking hordes were using only Android tabs, rather than phones or iPad mini’s, especially tourists from Asia.

  18. John Best

    Nexus 7 too. I’ve never had any problems with it, and other than the obvious ecosystem tie-ins, no real concerns.

  19. Matt A. Myers

    Whomever first builds sustainable “reusable” mobile devices including that aren’t designed for obsolescence will start to beat the market.

  20. Andrew Kennedy

    “The school had laptop carts full of macbooks and the Principal was talking about getting iPad Minis for the kids.”– Guessing this school is private and highly competitive and so funding w tuition not a problem (for the school), but it speaks to an ever critical issue of spending on the wrong things. It simply amazes me how resources can be misallocated (to be euphemistic) on “fancy libraries” and country club type amenities which are justified as a medium for attracting new students to the school.

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      Not necessarily. Many schools may have those that think turning on a computer is a challenge. They are more likely to think all things Apple and all resources used will be via Apple. When you add needed firewalls and so on, a district can become trapped looking forward.

      1. Andrew Kennedy

        Thanks for response. An interesting point.

    2. LE

      which are justified as a medium for attracting new students to the school.So are you saying that the things they are buying don’t make a difference in terms of students and parents making a decision to attend a particular school?Or that they do make a difference but shouldn’t make a difference because people should care about only the education? [1] Good luck with that. [2]They do make a difference. People like to have amenities and be in a nice environment. No it’s not going to make someone choose a grade b school over an IVY or top shelf school but for the rest of the cry babies it will make a difference to have nice facilities. For both the parents and the students.[1] Seems that startups are really big on all of those amenities as well.[2] People like to be in a nice environment. Period. My dad used to say (while sitting in his crappy wholesaler office) that it didn’t matter. But he was wrong. Most people want to work and learn in a nice place among nice people. Not everyone but most.

      1. Andrew Kennedy

        I am not saying they don’t make a difference in purchasing behavior. I am also not saying that they shouldn’t make a difference. So no to both [1] and [2]. It’s the degree to which this is happening that is a shame in my mind. My initial comment was triggered by the ipad mini part. It’s like having a Porsche for your first car. Yeah, it’s awesome, but if you have 30 years of payments to pay it back it sucks or if your parents bought it for you it also sucks, but for different reasons. I think we are at the tail end of the guilded age of education here in the states.

        1. LE

          My initial comment was triggered by the ipad mini part. It’s like having a Porsche for your first car.Wow. Totally don’t agree with that.That said while I probably wouldn’t buy my kids a nice car like that it’s not like I think it’s out of the question or totally off the table either. Or doesn’t make sense in certain circumstances.Why?I remember being back in high school (a long time ago when cars mattered) and some kids got to drive around in their parents nice cars or in some cases their parents bought them nice cars. And you know those kids were treated differently then the other kids. Guys wanted to hang with them because they thought they would get girls iirc.Maybe it was for the wrong reasons and maybe it was because the other kids were succubus but it gave those kids plenty of confidence and made them feel (whether justified or not doesn’t matter it’s in their brain, the party you know) good about themselves.My point is simply that there are many non obvious factors to take into account when making a buying decision. Buying ipads may be the wrong decision but it’s not off the table simply because there are cheaper versions of what appears to be the same thing.

  21. Benedict Evans

    GetTaxi is using $100 Android tablets as an acquisition tool – giving them to cabbies. Lots of interesting use cases on those lines.To your education point: one has to think about what is going to be done with the thing. What OS updates does it get? Warrantee? Management tools? And, of course, what education apps are available? Right now, buying Android tablets for education could be like buying desktop Linux for a corporate – fine, so long as no-one needs to run Office, but they probably do.Fraser Speirs blogs about tablets in eduction – he wrote this last year on the Android question. http://speirs.org/blog/2012

    1. ShanaC

      how are they using them – aren’t they supposed to be driving?

      1. matthughes


    2. Matt Candler

      Benedict,http://mschools.org/ is learning tons about these issues now. and getting state funding through new Louisiana Course Choice law. Thanks for Fraser tip.

      1. Elliot Sanchez

        Thanks Matt. In fact, we recently did an interview with Google for their Enterprise blog about how the management features of Chrome OS made our work in classrooms so much easier than a lot of the alternatives, including most mobile OS’s. We’ve got several hundred students spread out over a pretty large area, and it’s made the whole process much simpler.

    3. William Mougayar

      Right. People forget about cost of ownership, cost of repairs/replacements, cost of limitations, and cost of dead-ends.

    4. fredwilson

      ooh, great blog. thanks for the link Benedict

  22. Nick Terzo

    Checked on the Play store yesterday and it seems the new Chromebook is on back order. As a 20+ year Apple guy I am excited to try either the Chromebook or Nexus7

  23. whatever

    ” The people who are buying the cheap Androids are using it for something very different.”I have one in my bathroom for myfitnesspal + some other health apps + uh, the grocery list + well, surfing the newsI have one in my kitchen for the grocery list and for use as a remote and for recipesI am not sure why you think it’s needed for a nexus 7 to fill those roles, I am actually using android 2.2 tablets, yeah, those horrible things, that I picked up for $60 just fine.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s even better

      1. whatever

        FWIW, and this is not why I do it, considering studies of how much fecal bacteria is on a smartphone, it may be the wise and healthy thing to do to have separate tablets for bathroom, kitchen, and the rest of the world.I do it because I had a bunch of tablets lying around, but it sure beats carrying my phone or nexus 10 everywhere, and the appropriate app are always open.I would pay extra for a tablet designed to be a bedroom clock radio first and foremost with other uses secondary. I find that the lighting and backlighting on most tablets precludes their use. In the dark, the backlighting often can’t be turned off and just swamps the display I want to see and lights up the entire room intolerably. It would also be nice to have more voice recognition in such a device. “a/c on”, “a/c off” to control my radiothermostat thermostat — I’d love that.

  24. LE

    I suggested laptop carts of Chromebooks and Nexus tablets instead. It will save the school hundreds of thousands of dollars.The cost of the device is only one of the costs. The other costs are managing the devices, durability, software, keeping free of viruses, software migration and other things.Microsoft was such a CF [1] [2] that it took/takes an army (the IT dept.) to keep it working in corporate america. Of course that was part of the plan more or less what Microsoft learned from how IBM made money (of course IBM had to do it that way because the product was larger and more complex.)[1] And it persists to this day. I have a few machines running Windows 8 and you know you can’t even power it down without it trying to install updates before it actualls goes dark. Did it ever occur to the person who set up that user experience that someone might need to leave immediately and not want to leave the machine in that state of “I’m not done”?[2] Nobody has ever calculated the cost on society and productivity for all the aggravating things that Windows does and did to people. Way way more than when using Mac OS or OSX.

  25. Matt Candler

    We’re finding more promise in cheap non-apple hardware, too.http://mschools.org/ ran pilot on cheap androids, went to market with chromebooks.and amen on nexus 7, i’m running as a dashboard on next electric motorcycle build at http://nightshiftelectrics….

  26. Richard

    I’m concerned about the drop off in laptops. No real work gets done on a tablet, paticulry in the STEMs. How can you go through high school and/or college without a laptop? Particularly in the STEMs?

    1. panterosa,

      That is something I am solving!Sorry to not provide further info at the moment. Soon.

      1. Richard

        Keep in touch. I have some ideas on this.

    2. Peter

      People where saying the same thing when gui came along… Now if someone could just build a touch based “IDE”. Typing will be viewed as a waste on time in the future….

      1. Richard

        GUI has been a blessing and a curse. If high schooler’s had to use Terminal Commands vs the GUI, my hunch is that they would have a easier path (and reason for exploring) a computer science degree.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Xerox PARC invented GUIs for theUI for office machines. And a welldesigned GUI can work well for, say,a microwave oven.For computing, GUIs are a pain todrive with scripts and, thus, automate.Bummer. Each ‘native’ GUI could betoo different and, thus, take too longto learn to use, another bummer. Andnative GUIs were a pain to program,even if the GUI was poorly designed.It is true that the GUIs of HTML aremuch more effective than characteroriented bulletin boards. HTML GUIsare so much alike that the learning iseasier. And HTML GUIs are much easierto develop than ‘native’ GUIs. And ifone will work one level deeper, e.g., atthe level of the string that goes back tothe server with a post back, then there’shope for automating the operation of an HTML GUI.But, right, GUIs have been a blessingand a curse. Indeed, it remains: Themain way to communicate is with justtyping characters in the Roman alphabet.

          1. ShanaC

            well, i wonder about the days of voice and video

          2. sigmaalgebra

            As is clear from my posts about art and music, including in this thread,I like music, voice, and video.Still, those ‘data types’ are much moredifficult to work with than just text –more difficult to edit, search, etc.So, Disqus concentrates on processingjust text with occasionally someURLs. Mostly user input of informationis just text. Heavily the Google searchinput and output are just text.

          3. laurie kalmanson

            these are the days of miracles and wonder

    3. ShanaC

      why do you say that no work gets done on a tablet

    4. fredwilson

      a chromebook is a laptop. all the apps are in the cloud.

    5. candice

      Spend an afternoon in your local state school’s student union building one day. Lots of our students have all their textbooks on android tablets, some have keyboards for them. Some have iphones/ipads, often with cracked screens….Tablets are also great for following the lecture notes in class without killing trees.

  27. andyidsinga

    turning them off and then back on again ;)http://www.youtube.com/watc…#itcrowd

    1. mikenolan99

      I told my class the other day that I invented the reboot in 1983 when working in the computer lab at the University of Wisconsin – I fear some of them believed me…

      1. laurie kalmanson

        from the jargon fileTom Knight and the Lisp MachineA novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on.Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly: “You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong.”Knight turned the machine off and on.The machine worked.

  28. baba12

    You mention Android as a low cost solution on devices. I think you will find that MSFT will be the one that will take over the mantle of providing low cost devices with a well integrated Windows platform. For that to happen is a big gamble but I think it will happen.The way I see it, there are billions to be made at the bottom of the pyramid.Apple and its eco system caters to those who may have a higher purchasing power.Android being fragmented and lacking a single ecosystem is going to be there but with vendor specific forks i.e. Amazon and Kindle most likely Samsung with its fork and everybody else just on what Google is able to deliver which is more google specific interest as opposed to vendors such as LG and HTC specific. Sure they can add their own skins which then dilutes the single platform voice.MSFT if they execute effectively with help of Nokia can deliver a low priced tablet and smartphone with Windows running on it. People claim there is a dearth of apps for the windows platform and that maybe the case. For MSFT to succeed they need to build a set of native apps that are the 10-15 essential apps everyone needs and uses.Deploy a sub $50 smartphone (Asha http://goo.gl/rP2BT6 ) and a sub $250 tablet which they shall and they will be where they were back in the 1990’s.What MSFT will loose in unit pricing they will make up in volume and this is where they will make the billions.Most people in the developing world skipped landlines for cellphones, will skip broadband for 4 and 5G wireless broadband and will skip desktops and laptops for tablets.Delivering value and a brand recognition is something MSFT can use to recapture some of their sparkle.Open source shall be something they will thwart by simply delivering quality at a price that will be hard to beat.

  29. sigmaalgebra

    Cute. I would have, did, miss anticipatingthat.E.g., get a cheap tablet, a NetFlixaccount, a sofa, some popcorn, twopillows, and a girlfriend and watch somemovies together. Of course, to see themovie, the two have to sit close. Ah, tobe 15 again with that girl 13 I knew then!Find a movie with a lot of romantickissing!Or listen to the “Prelude” to Lohengrin’,e.g., at http://www.youtube.com/watc…with a lot of ‘pre-Raphaelite’ stillimages, especially from Edmund Blair Leightone.g., ‘God Speed’ as at http://www.art.com/products…Likely the poor guy won’t come back.Ah, the teenagers don’t know half of howgood they have it!Or, if she has more than the usualintellectual curiosity, get the librettoin German and English to ‘Die Walküre’,say, on a second tablet, go to YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watc…and listen to the whole opera (thank you,YouTube!), actually with some unusuallygood singing for that opera along with alot of really ‘dramatic’ music.Get her started with something easy, say,the nice cello solo from 6:49 — 8:03.Much, MUCH better yet if she already playsa string instrument in an orchestra,especially cello.Also the overture at the beginning is oneof the best musical presentations of’heavy stuff about to be going down’!Some of the music in ‘Die Walküre’ is goodbeyond belief but, right, ‘Lohengrin’,Puccini, Verdi, Mozart, Richard Strauss,etc. are easier to like on a firsthearing. My wife, brilliant beyond beliefand just excellent in both music anddrama, had a tough time liking ‘DieWalküre’ at Lincoln Center.Ah, go for some lunch, get back, restartthe opera, and get some of my old TCP/IPcode working between one of my Web pagesand my Compute Server that returns theresults for the user!The Compute Server and the TCP/IP codehave long since been ready for production.The TCP/IP code I wrote for communicationsbetween Web pages and my Session StateServer code, also long since ready forproduction. So I just need to modify theTCP/IP code a little; I’ve had tounderstand it again; it’s nice code; itwas a good day when I wrote it!From my timings, the Session State Servercode, basically just two collectionclasses, on a 3.0 GHz single core shouldbe able to do its work needed for sendingto users 2000+ Web pages a second!Let’s see: Assume sending one result to auser requires sending the users, onaverage, 4 Web pages. So, one SessionState Server could do the work of sendinga peak of 1000 results a second. Assumea time average of 500 results a second;take Mary Meeker’s KPCB CPM data, roundeddown to $2; assume 4 ads per page; thenget revenue of4 * 4 * 2 * 500 * 3600 * 24 * 30 / 1000 =41,472,000dollars a month. Moore’s law and theInternet are amazing, no?Note: Here we get a factor of 2 betterperformance from the Session State Storeby using a tricky ASP.NET feature thatlets a page get data directly from thememory of the previous page on the sameserver.Let’s see: That would be 500 * 3600 * 24 * 30 = 1,296,000,000results a month! Good that my site can beused around the world, even with users whodon’t know English and are looking forresults not in English. Hope they likethe results!So, looks like the Session State Servercode won’t be a bottleneck for a while!Yes, the other code is remarkably fastbut, still, slower but can be ‘scaled’ tokeep up! E.g., the code for the ComputeServer supports large scale ‘sharding’,and with the way I’ve written the Webpages and with the Session State Store theWeb servers don’t need ‘session affinity’and, thus, scale easily (some loadleveling, Cisco?).Let’s see, for a peak of 1500 results asecond, 4 pages per result, 400,000 bitsper page, that would be upload bandwidthof1500 * 4 * 400,000 = 2,400,000,000bits per second, so a 10 GbE connectionwould do it easily. My local colo offersusers dual 10 GbE connections!The results Web page is working but justneeds the results and those copied into atable. Then looks like the software willall be running for an alpha test, withessentially all of the code ready forproduction (I wrote no prototype code)!Then load some data and give it a criticalreview. Get and load some more data andgo live, get publicity, users, ads,revenue, a new Corvette, tickets toLincoln Center, phone number of a womanwho likes French provincial food, red andwhite Burgundy wine, and opera!

  30. Carl Rahn Griffith

    It’s fascinating. A major UK supermarket here – Tesco – has launched a great spec one for £100. I planned to blog about the intrigue of the demographics as per your question and Benedict’s data. Tipping-point time.Anyway, pots n pans beckon. Another time…

  31. Dwayne Graves Online

    When customers are concerned with price, they buy the cheapest product. When they are concerned about quality, they buy the product with the best perceived quality. I think all products have benefits for the markets they serve. If I were to recommend tablets for a school, I would say iPad Minis without Retina but I’m probably biased. I own the iPad 2 and considered upgrading to the iPad Air but the iPad 2 meets my current needs.

  32. Henry Sztul

    Whats missing from a lot of these school programs is the accountability of what they are being used for in the classroom. Technology in the classroom is great, but if its for the sake of technology in the classroom itself, students suffer.That being said, the Chromebook + Android tablet route in the classroom should be a no brainer from a cost perspective.

  33. panterosa,

    YAY! for tablets in schools!Especially for younger kids and for the non traditional learners. I’m all for laptops too. But I do see a massive time suck in schools time choosing platforms and devices. That time suck is usually leaving a big hole behind it for what content to actually put on the device.I sat thru a hangout yesterday of very reputable org talking what games middle schoolers should be playing. Over 60% is crap, and it’s super dumbed down.My educational app is coded for iPad*. We have not touched coding for the other tablets mentioned here for our immediate road map. Not even as ed app company have we looked much at amplify. Why? Besides money, we are not sure about usage of each format tablet and whether anyone will bother as much out of customer behavior to look for an ed game as they would on iPad so naturally. We’ll hang back a few quarters.Perhaps the cheap tablets which are now ‘mini tv’s’ for some will have more reach into games.*launching after we wrap up our kickstarter

  34. howardlindzon

    I cant see it being as simple as this. But fun to speculate as I own both stocks at the moment.I just think the pie is exploding and epeople need to get used to more gynormous numbers from both companies as the $trillion dollar winner emerges.

    1. fredwilson

      “gynormous”i like the sound of that

  35. Will Sommers

    If you visit one link from any comment here today, visit this one.http://www.meetup.com/hack-…Hack and Tell is New York’s homebrew computer club. Your portfolio company’s should be hiring from the people in that sidebar.Think about coming to the next one, I think you’d find it quite fun.

    1. fredwilson

      you are right

  36. Mike

    Aspirational brand. Thats apple. Doesn’t matter if you make a great $20 tablet, the moment you can afford an Apple, youre getting an Apple.

  37. mcbeese

    The #1 company on the 2013 Inc 5000 list is a company that sells cheap custom tablets designed for kids. Their execution is excellent. Just like Apple, they focus on ecosystem: tablets, curated content, and accessories.http://www.inc.com/inc5000/

  38. Pete Griffiths

    It won’t last. Lower prices at equivalent functionality wins the mass market. It has been clear for years that Apple would lose market share in phones and tablets. Their challenge is whether they can continue to innovate to create gigantic markets, price skim and move on. It’s a tough gig. Wearables next?

    1. Benedict Evans

      No, the challenge is whether Android tablets will deliver equivalent functionality. At the moment they’re stuck in the same ‘no apps therefore no users that want apps’ cycle as Windows Mobile

      1. Pete Griffiths

        No. Think about desktops. Macs and PCs didn’t have ‘equivalent functionality.’ For years Macs had better software and some killer apps for a wealthy market segment – creative professionals. But those advantages didn’t stop PCs crushing Mac on the desktop. For many users it’s not about ‘equivalent functionality.’ Lots of users don’t need power features. What they want is good functionality at a good price point. And btw, these aren’t users that ‘don’t want apps’ any more than users who buy a Pinto because they can’t afford a Mercedes don’t want a working car. They get enough apps that work well enough for their affordable needs.

      2. fredwilson

        what? i have a bunch of nexus7s. including one new version which is my primary tablet. i can’t think of one app that i would want to have on my tablet that i don’t have. i should screenshot my tablet front screen (don’t have it with me in my home office right now). all the good apps are on it.

  39. Dan G

    most people use just a handful of apps- mostly from Google, Facebook, and games. Don’t need an iPad for that

  40. Darren Herman

    My kids prefer watching video on their tablets (iPad Mini’s) versus a traditional television. Could be the same exact content but the tablet always wins. Your comment in the post about China struck close to home…

  41. Rob Grossberg

    The jump in sales of cheap tablets in China clearly ties in directly to an article and fact I saw recently. On 10/22 PandoDaily ran a story about how China was starting to invest heavily in HTML5 mobile apps. And earlier in the month in a Digi-Capital report, it stated that mobile games accounted for 67% of all tablet usage. Freemium mobile web tablet games in China seems like a good bet!



    1. Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

      After experiencing lots of headaches running apps on cheap hardware I’ve been advocating supporting the lowest common denominator for most apps. Besides from forcing developers to remove all the useless bling it also ensures that your users can actually use your app.



        1. Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

          support == inclusiveEDIT: the reason is simple, after the SDK update I often have apps which I use daily that now use the newest features and no longer work on my phone. Meaning I can’t use them anymore. The choice between 99c for an app that does work or $600 for a new phone is easily made.

  43. Aldkjfke9087

    I don’t have ANY tablets, because I’m too poor. GO AMERICA!!!But if I could? I STILL WOULDN’T BUY THE THINGS BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE AN SD fUCKING CARD SLOT>