Like maps and navigation Google has seen voice as a strategic area and invested heavily in it: Voice Search, Voice Input and Voice Actions. Most recently the company acquired Phonetic Arts to improve "voice output" on mobile devices.
Indeed maps/navigation and speech are the big differentiators of Android vs. the iPhone. Ad network Chitika said that about 7% of iPhone search queries (on Google) are voice initiated. By comparison, earlier this year Google reported that 25% of search queries on Android devices are initiated by voice.
In a meeting last week with Microsoft the company told me that about 20% of mobile queries on Bing are now voice driven. This number is obviously very consistent with Google's Android number. It suggests that over time more and more search queries and other types of actions on the phone will be initiated by voice.
Right now, I'm told, speech-input queries are quite similar to text-based queries. But as people gain more experience with speech and voice search on mobile devices we should see longer and more specific queries. We may even see more rapid growth of mobile search query volumes due to voice. As keyboard frustration and "friction" disappear search queries will grow.
Speech thus makes mobile search (vs. app usage) much more viable for consumers overall.
See related posts:
In the world of mobile advertising forecasts, perception can become reality. Everyone wants to be perceived as the biggest or at least having momentum. However forecasting is a shadowy business where the numbers can be badly off with incorrect or sloppy assumptions or facts.
One or more of these were true of IDC's previous US mobile ad estimate, which showed Google and Apple tied for market share in the US at 21%.
After the numbers came out in a BusinessWeek article there was something of an outcry, in part by Google (as well as others). Indeed, the company's earnings-call disclosure of its "$1 billion mobile ad run rate" was partly a response to the inaccurate IDC forecast.
Here are the old IDC numbers, released in September:
Now IDC has revised its numbers (Google said it feels better about them "directionally"). Google totally overwhelms the rest of the field in terms of market share. It's believable that Google would be in the lead -- but by this much?
Microsoft and Yahoo are reportedly down vs. last year and Jumptap is nowhere to be seen in the public data. I suspect they're in the 15.9% category that I dubbed other.
The Nokia N8 handset is being outsold by the iPhone in Europe 6 to 1 according to a Morgan Stanley survey of 150 European wireless phone retailers released last week. However the Nokia Symbian 3 handset is reportedly meeting sales targets despite this apparently poor showing.
According to Morgan Stanley's research here are the bestselling smartphones in Europe right now in order of volume:
My guess is that a year from now we'll see something in the high forty-percent range (say 48%). But very close to 50% if not 50%. This will be especially true if the pricing on smartphones continues to be as aggressive as it has recently been for the holidays. Best Buy for example is offering many models of smartphones (mostly Android) for free with two-year contracts.
BlackBerry has been doing aggressive two-for-one pricing for a long time. These sorts of pricing moves will continue to drive adoption and Android is likely to be the chief beneficiary. Although Radio Shack has reduced the price of iPhone 4 by $50 through the holidays.
When smartphones do reach 50% of the US mobile market it will be a very significant threshold both as a practical and psychological matter. No one will be able to ignore the behavior at that point or the query volumes coming from these devices. Mobile Internet usage will be primary for some people and perhaps certain demographic segments as a whole. For example, Opera recently found that "Gen Y" users were on the mobile Internet far more than its PC sibling:
The implications of this are pretty radical for both publishers and marketers. And remember 53% of mobile searches (on Bing) have a local intent.
The folks at BIA/K have updated their mobile forecast: $2.9B by 2014 in the US. I have some critiques of their assumptions, which I won't focus on now. But there's something in the press release that raises an interesting larger philosophical question around "accounting" and forecasting in the local-mobile ad space. It's an issue I've been thinking about for the past six months and this gives me an opportunity to write about it.
BIA/K says that local will represent 69% of US mobile advertising in 2014:
BIA/Kelsey expects U.S. mobile local advertising revenues to grow from $213 million in 2009 to $2.03 billion in 2014 (57 percent CAGR). This represents 44 percent of total U.S. mobile ad revenues in 2009, growing to 69 percent in 2014.
This is a huge percentage and it begs the question: "what's a local ad?" Accordingly this is the part I want to focus on:
BIA/Kelsey defines mobile local advertising as that which is targeted based on a user’s location and/or actionable locally. Local targeting occurs to varying degrees and with different methods within each of the advertising formats examined in the forecast (search, display, SMS).
Again: "targeted based on a user’s location and/or actionable locally." Let's unpack this a bit.
Arguably all product advertising in mobile is "actionable locally." For example a mobile display ad for a Sharp TV becomes "actionable locally" if it prompts me to head into a retail store and look at or buy the set. It may or may not have a "local call to action." And over on Screenwerk I've argued for five years that product search needs to be considered a part of local because that's where most of the transactions ultimately occur -- in stores.
But transaction-location swallows almost all commerical activity and some people may feel that's too broad a concept. Similarly "actionable locally" is vague. I believe what they're trying to get at however is something like a coupon that needs to be redeemed in a store or a business service that must be fulfilled offlline.
But here's an interesting hypothetical that illustrates the challenge with this idea. What about a Gap ad (discount/coupon) in a mobile app that equally applies at all Gap stores across the US? How should this ad be categorized; is it a national ad or a local ad?
It may target audiences across the US equally and it doesn't necessarily contain local ad copy (in fact it probably wouldn't at this stage). Maybe it's exclusively for in-store purchases but maybe there's an e-commerce component (which is increasingly true for retailers: channel agnosticism). There may be a secondary or subordinate link on a landing page to a store locator. Absent any other local copy does this store locator make it a local ad? (More on that later.)
There are several considerations that are relevant to defining a local ad in a mobile context: targeting methodology, ad copy and ad format. Because users who see ads on mobile devices are always somewhere that can be pinpointed quite precisely, every mobile ad has the potential to become local in a way not possible on the PC.
Millennial Media reported that in October roughly 18% of all display campaigns it saw were geotargeted. Here "geo" is defined quite broadly to include country and state. Given that marketers can target mobile users with great precision, what level of geo is required before we call an ad local?
Does an ad need to be targeted down to the DMA or city level to be considered local? Or would we be willing to call ads that target France, for example, or all of New York local? I don't have an easy answer but I would argue we'd need to get down to at least the DMA level. We could call a state-level ad "geotargeted" (because it is) but "local" implies something more narrow.
Now to ad copy. Clearly an ad that contains city-level references would seem to qualify as "local."
The ad below, from a JiWire-run campaign (online), was a national buy that dynamically inserted local references to make it appear more relevant to users in specific markets. But it did this across the US; it was not otherwise a "local" ad. There was no local call to action, no store locator; it was a pure brand campaign that happened to include location references. Is this a "local" ad?
Now back to the "store locator" issue. Recall my "first date with iAD." I saw an ad for Klondike Bars. There was nothing local in the content of the ad, except that it did offer a store locator of sorts ("find a bar"). Is this a "local" ad?
My view is that most brand-oriented ads in mobile are going to contain dealer or store finder capabilities as a matter of course. It will essentially be a "checkbox." This is because the phone and its functionality (maps) permit it -- so why wouldn't you do it? It makes brand messages actionable locally. Buick? Find a dealer. Klondike? Find a bar. Marriott? Find a room.
If we consider these local ads then more and more mobile display moves over into the "local" column. That raises a related issue: ads with phone numbers in them.
As I just argued mobile ads (whether search or display) will routinely have store locators or links to maps. But they will also increasingly show phone numbers too -- again because of the way the inherent capabilities of the handset can be invoked. Does a national, brand-centric insurance ad buy (e.g., State Farm) become local if it contains an 800 number that routes calls to local offices? What if it has a dynamically inserted local tracking number but no other local element?
While an ad for a local sushi restaurant is clearly a local ad (one town, one restaurant), some of these other scenarios (national --> local) are much more ambiguous. And as I suggested, location and local ad copy will increasingly be dynamically inserted based on a national database of locations, ad copy and images. Google is already doing this in mobile today.
There's somewhat less ambiguity when it comes to search advertising but not much less.
The focus for small business will be less on buying mobile advertising per se than getting exposure broadly across platforms via channel enablers. There will be some mobile-specific activity by SMBs (e.g., Foursquare marketing, Facebook Deals) but most marketing will not be mobile-centric. Indeed, very few true SMBs will be buying PPCall ads on Google. Most of the action for SMBs in mobile will be about organic distribution.
For the foreseeable future most of the "local" advertising on mobile devices will be bought by enterprises that otherwise seek regional or national reach but local stores, dealers or outlets. Thus we return to the various scenarios above and the question of what do we consider a local ad in mobile?
It's a much harder question to answer than it seems.
Under the broadest definition of "local" the category swallows the lion's share of mobile advertising going forward. And we can manipulate the definition of "local" to make the category larger or smaller. But where we place ad revenues is less important than how consumers are interacting with mobile devices and what sort of marketing or advertising methods are effective in reaching them.
So far eBay and Amazon are the king and queen of "m-commerce." Amazon said it will sell more than $1 billion through mobile devices this year, while eBay says it will sell $1.5 billion. In addition, eBay payments unit PayPal mobile is growing like a weed. According to a press release the company put out earlier this week, "PayPal saw an approximately 310 percent increase in mobile shopping on Black Friday."
Now eBay has put up an interesting site that exposes mobile purchases across its major markets. One can slice and dice the data in several ways: product categories, countries and "what's hot."
Amazon and eBay have been very aggressive and proactive in mobile, whereas most retailers and shopping comparison sites have no dedicated mobile offering or one which offers a limited or poor experience by comparison.
The Mobile Marketing Association previously released consumer survey data showing reporting that "59% of mobile consumers plan to use their mobile phone for holiday shopping and planning holiday celebrations, not including making phone calls."
While the majority of consumers will use mobile sites and smartphones for in-store price comparisons, reviews and store locators there is a big mobile commerce opportunity that only a handful are positioned to capitalize on. Mostly that means big, trusted brands like Amazon, eBay and traditional retailers. No-name retailers or generic shopping comparison engines may be utilized for informational purposes but they're unlikely to see much if any revenue coming from mobile.
There's now quite a bit of conflicting data in the US market about loyalty, satisfaction and intended future smartphone purchases. See, for example:
Nielsen has come out with some new survey based data that argues Android is starting to reach parity with the iPhone in terms of “most desired” next device and among men it slightly exceeds the iPhone:
Here are some of the findings from the firm's quarterly survey of just under 20K mobile users:
More interesting and important than the perpetual iPhone vs. Android discussion is the data showing smartphone penetration very close to 30% in the US. The data also show the iPhone and RIM now with an equivalent share of devices (27.9%) with Android not far behind (22%). It's not yet clear how well Windows Phone 7 is doing. There's some anecodtal evidence that it's not selling well despite generally positive reviews.
Again, these data are self-reported (and not based on unit sales) but the sample size was huge and so we can fairly reliably generalize the findings to the broader market.
With many smug spinmeisters and pundits proclaiming that the "smartphone wars" are over (with Apple and Google as winners), a new survey from GfK (n=2,653 mobile users in UK, US, Brazil, Germany, Spain and China) suggests a much more fluid marketplace.
The survey found that as many as 75% of current smartphone users are open to changing or will change mobile OSs when they get new phones. Overall only 25% were loyal to their existing OS. Analysis of the findings argues that consumers are "keeping options open" as new smartphones come out on a seemingly weekly basis. This is particularly acute on the Android platform.
The frenzy of releases and the fast-changing nature of the device market has likely created the "disloyalty" reflected in the survey data. However I would caution that the sample sizes break down and become very small on an individual country basis.
Among individual operating systems, the survey found that loyalty was highest to the iPhone (59%) and lowest for Microsoft (21%). Android and Nokia didn't fare much better (at 28% and 24% respectively). RIM saw 35% of BlackBerry users saying they would likely stay on the platform.
Earlier this year Nielsen found that the iPhone had slightly higher levels of loyalty than Android. But these findings showed much higher loyalty levels for both platforms and especially Android. Indeed, these US-only findings are dramatically different than those from the GfK survey.
It's already happening in developing countries. However many people in the US and Europe remain skeptical that the mobile Internet will be bigger than the PC Internet, especially in the next few years. There's also the Morgan Stanley forecast that, on a global basis, the Internet will be more mobile than fixed in 2014.
Data just released by Opera reveal how real that crossover will be -- and already is for young adults in many countries. The company just came out with its monthly state of the mobile Web report. Part of that report is survey data from Opera Mini users around the globe, collected this summer. The age range of respondents is 18-27 (generation Y).
Opera received more than 300K completes -- a massive global sample. There are many interesting findings in the survey, which are generally consistent across countries except in a few cases. However the most interesting data to me is the following:
The red bars represent mobile access; green is PC.
This is not all age groups remember. But in every country but two mobile Internet access was greater and, in some cases, by very large margins.
These data strongly argue that publishers and marketers not taking mobile seriously are going to be in serious trouble in a few short years if they don't start giving the mobile Web equal attention.
Some interesting data was published by Nielsen this week on intended future purchases. The data reflect the electronics wish lists of younger kids and those over 13 years of age. Everyone wants a new "computer," but the lists diverge otherwise.
Tweens and younger kids want the iPad and iPod Touch devices. The iPhone is further down the list. According to the data, those over 13 want smartphones (not the iPhone) before the iPad. Similarly the iPhone is down the list.
Thus it would appear that for both groups of respondents the iPhone has lost some luster. The likely beneficiary of non-iPhone smartphone interest is probably Android and its OEMs.
Parents: here is your shopping list.
JiWire, which manages advertising at more than 300,000 public WiFi locations, has issued another quarterly report with data about attitudes and behaviors of mobile users (including users on laptops). Part of the data comes from a survey of "1,200 customers randomly selected across JiWire's Wi-Fi Media Channel from July 2010 - September 2010."
Here are some of the top-level data points and charts from the report:
Intended LBS usage rationale behind usage:
Checking in and "find a store" within an ad:
How far will you go for a deal (by offer category)?
WiFi usage by country and US city:
WiFi usage business locations:
I'm always cautious about generalizing too much from survey data, especially when relatively small sample sizes are involved. However, two separate surveys seem to indicate that iPhone demand is still very strong and stronger than that for Android.
First, IHL partners and Retail Connections conducted an online survey in September and received 570 consumer responses as well as 66 responses from retailers. The survey found, among other things, that 49% of respondents wanted an iPhone followed by 40% who were considering an Android handset as their next mobile device.
RIM and Windows Mobile were far behind. These survey data are consistent with other evidence that show RIM losing mindshare among consumers. (Some see the 50% price cut for the new BlackBerry Torch as a move to jumpstart sales, which have repotedly been disappointing.) In terms of Windows, it should be pointed out that the survey was conducted prior to the launch of the new Windows Phone.
Next handset under consideration:
Source: IHL partners and Retail Connections (n=570 US adults)
Mot would-be iPhone buyers are also considering Android and vice-versa according to the survey:
[O]f those consumers that are considering an Android, 57% are considering an iPhone, while 48% of those considering an iPhone also would consider an Android purchase.
As an aside, the IHL survey also found that "35% of smartphone users have received and/or redeemed a coupon they have received via text message."
Another survey from UK website MyPhoneDeals.co.uk, conducted around roughly the same time as the IHL survey, found that Android owners were roughly 4X more likely to be interested in an iPhone than the other way around. Just over 30% of the survey's respondents said the iPhone was their preferred smartphone choice, while 7% selected Android as the top choice. The survey had 524 respondents.
Interestingly MyPhoneDeals found that almost 75% of the female respondents identified the iPhone as the most desirable smartphone. Women lag men in smartphone ownership today. That could mean significant sales for the iPhone as women "catch up" to men in smartphone adoption.
If iPhone really is the most desired smartphone, how does one account for the success of Android? First the sheer number of Android devices on the market partly explains its success; there's a kind of "Cambell's Soup" phenomenon going on as Android handsets take up more and more "shelf space." In addition in the US, AT&T exclusivity has created a barrier for many people against buying an iPhone. Android is now a highly credible alternative, though still missing many of the "refinements" and usability features of the iPhone.
We'll see what happens to sales when Verizon gets the iPhone next year. Survey data and behavior can diverge.
Gartners global smartphone numbers, released yesterday, were widely reported and discussed. They reflect Q3 and not overall market share but they continue to show momentum for Android, which has widespread OEM support and competes at a range of price points. Losers in Q3 (according to Gartner) were Nokia/Symbian and RIM. Microsoft continued to lose share but the numbers are pre Windows Phone.
Here are the Q3 figures:
Using rounded numbers here are the share shifts:
Basically 20% of all handsets sold in Q3 were smartphones. Apple had huge global volume with iPhone 4, but that only allowed it to remain flat on a percentage basis because of the surge in Android handset sales.
Here's a remarkable statistic from the Gartner release: "Gartner estimates Android phones accounted for 75 percent to 80 percent of Verizon Wireless's smartphone trade in the third quarter of 2010."
Meanwhile Android handsets beat the iPhone in Consumer Reports' rankings. For each US carrier the top-ranked phone was an Android handset:
Consumer Reports continues to feud with Apple and dislike iPhone 4 because of the device's antennae problems. The company has also sought to inject itself into the "smartphone wars" for sales purposes and to boost its PR profile. I own an EVO and I've used or tested all of the top-rated phones above, though haven't "lived" with them for weeks. I strongly disagree with Consumer Reports and believe that the overall quality of the device and user experience still favors the iPhone.
Regardless we're going to see the OEMs here all making claims to be "number 1."
Online and mobile ad network Chitika is reporting that only 3.54% of the top-traffic Web domains have a mobile site.
Chitika spidered the top million Alexa sites to determine if the domain had a corresponding mobile site. At the top end most sites do have a mobile version, but as one descends the ladder the likelihood also declines.
According to Chitika Research Director Dan Ruby: "100% of the top 10 sites have a mobile version, but that number drops to 84% of the top 50, 67% of the top 100, and only 35% of the top 1,000."
These data are pretty interesting. What it means is that consumers are probably not having great mobile experiences at most top sites, even on smartphones. It would seem to argue that they have to pretty quickly off their posteriors and at least build an HTML site to address surging consumer mobile Internet adoption.
It's not clear what the app numbers are but I would assume that they're even less because it's more costly and time-consuming to build a mobile app and get it approved (for the iPhone).
The Mobile Marketing Association released survey data (n=1,000) today that reported "59% of mobile consumers plan to use their mobile phone for holiday shopping and planning holiday celebrations, not including making phone calls." In addition, "searching for locations where a gift is sold" and price comparisons were the top two identified activities that consumers thought they would use their phones for.
Other survey findings:
Attitudes and behavior are often different but no one can dispute that mobile phones, especially smartphones, are becoming more important to consumers as shopping tools -- to locate stores and get product information and pricing, as the findings above argue.
Especially interesting to me is this data point: "12% anticipate using their device to respond to a TV, billboard or newspaper ad." Some number of consumers now expect these traditional ads to be interactive, unless "respond" in this context simply means conduct a search on a product or brand. I interpreted it to mean respond via SMS or 2D barcode.
Previously InsightExpress found that 82% of consumers were using their phones in stores:
Source: Insight Express, June 2010 (n=1300 US mobile phone users)
In August, Sterling Commerce found that 25% of consumers were doing in-store price comparisons.
I've been trying to get a Windows Phone to no avail; I'm not on the "A-List" of gadget testers. Repeated requests to Microsoft have so far been ineffective. So yesterday I went into an AT&T store to play with one.
Windows Phone branding and promotion were all over the store; Windows Phones are the new iPhone for AT&T. However there wasn't a unit on the floor. After wandering around the store looking at all the handsets I finally asked the "greeter," "I'd like to take a look at one of the new Windows Phones, where would I find it?" The guy offered to put my name on a list that had about seven people on it. He told me it would be about 45 minutes to an hour before I could get access to one. "I just want to see the phone," I said. He didn't have an answer for me.
As I left, frustrated, I thought: what the heck is AT&T doing? Is this some sort of hazing ritual to weed out unqualified buyers? Is this an attempt to build momentum and perceived demand through artificial scarcity? It was strange and wrong-headed from a marketing and customer service perspective under any conceivable scenario.
There have been mixed reports about demand for the new handset. It sold out in Germany but there have also been US reports of only modest interest. One financial firm estimated initial sales at only 40K units. But this is a very premature assessment of the success or failure of the handset. When we have a full quarter of sales we'll know better what consumers think.
Meanwhile Samsung said it had shipped 7 million Galaxy S Android phones, 3 million of them to the US. Samsung is the leading handset OEM in the US market overall according to recent comScore data.
Samsung is competing with HTC, Motorola and LG to be the leading Android OEM. Indeed I believe that Samsung will ultimately emerge as the Android volume winner, eclipsing HTC and Motorola. Motorola in particular wil have a greater challenge vs its Android rivals and will need to be supremely clever about hardware and software choices to continue to succeed as an Android OEM.
Droid has already lost its luster vs. Galaxy S. But that could change again if a new and more shiny Android handset comes out next week.
Yesterday in the context of its mobile event Facebook announced (consistent with my prediction) that the company had more than 200 million active mobile users around the world. I earlier asked Facebook to break this out by US vs. international numbers, which they declined to do. But let's try and figure that out . . . shall we.
Facebook itself says that 70% of its usage comes from outside the US: "About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States." That means (assuming 500 million total users) that 150 million users are in the US.
If we were to assume that mobile usage breaks down along the same US-international lines that would mean 140 million mobile users would be international, while 60 million would be in the US. My guess is that mobile usage doesn't break down along those lines exactly. Much of Facebook's mobile usage is likely to come from smartphones and its mobile apps in particular, although Facebook does operate sites for non-smartphone browsers and has a text only site at 0.facebook.com.
The US doesn't have the highest smartphone penetration among Western countries, Spain probably does. But in absolute numbers the US has more smartphones than any other country. Let's say (based on a collection of third party data points) that are something like 60 million smartphone users in the US. How many of those people are using Facebook (probably not 100%). Yet Facebook's mobile usage doesn't come exclusively from smartphones. We don't know, however, how many non-smartphone Facebook users there are in the US or elsewhere in the world.
Nielsen says there are 85 million mobile Internet users total. So one would need to assume that there aren't more US mobile Facebook users than 85 million. My guess then is that there are about 75 million mobile facebook users in the US. If we were to treat Facebook as a mobile ad network, where would 75 million users put them in the hierarchy?
According to the Nielsen data, Facebook would be the largest mobile ad network. Notwithstanding Facebook Deals, announced yesterday, it doesn't quality as a mobile ad network -- quite yet.
Millennial Media is out with results from a new mobile developer, publisher and agency survey that shows how people are thinking about the various mobile platforms today and tomorrow. The data presented are pooled from two separate surveys conducted in Q4 of 2009 and August of this year. The outcome will fuel the "Android is taking over the world narrative," but there are more interesting data points.
There were 600 total respondents between the two surveys, based on several email solicitations. Respondents were agencies, app developers and publishers (broadly defined). The composition of the two survey respondent pools is essentially the same:
Here are the graphs:
Mobile App Platforms For Which Publishers Are Developing in 2010
New App Platforms Publishers Plan to Support in 2011
Publishers’ Expected Increase in Apps Revenue from 2010 to 2011
In Chart A, Android has gained on the iPhone. However looking at iOS (iPhone, iPad) together shows that it currently has 51% of the market vs. Android's 23%. Next year more respondents intend to support Android, probably based on anticipated continued growth and momentum.
In Chart C, we see that a majority of respondents expect to make more money off apps next year, with 31% expecting a 100% increase.
Among the more interesting datapoints presented, Window 7 is tied with the iPad in Chart B as the 2nd place platform that many plan to support next year. This response is largely based on a high level of awareness of Windows Phones, showing that Microsoft has done a good job with marketing and PR. Whether those phones are actually supported is another matter that will depend on sales.
Finally, the findings related to ad networks are interesting:
ChangeWave's latest consumer survey (n=3,108) this month shows some interesting things and confirms that the iPad has had an significant impact on the market and consumer expectations. Demand for laptops is stable according to the survey but consumer interest in netbooks, probably because of tablets, has waned:
[O]ne area that’s come down drastically from a year ago is consumer interest in Netbooks. Just 14% of those who plan on buying a laptop in the next 90 days say it will be a Netbook – 10-pts below our peak reading for Netbooks back in June 2009.
Nearly 3/4 of respondent-owners of the iPad say they're very satisfied:
[T]hree-quarters of current iPad owners (72%) say they’re Very Satisfied with their device and another 23% say they’re Somewhat Satisfied – world class satisfaction ratings for the Apple Tablet.
Finally, and very interestingly, demand for the RIM tablet appears to be greater than for the Galaxy Tab. This is probably based on the brand strength of BlackBerry rather than any substantive knowledge about the device on the part of consumers.
In addition, the massive interest/demand gap between the iPad and other tablets will be hard to surmount for most of the companies that seek to compete in the segment.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab goes on sale in a couple of weeks in the US. Will it sizzle or will it fizzle? My guess is something in between.
Here's what Steve Jobs had to say about the forthcoming bunch of tablets, led by the Galaxy Tab:
First, it appears to be just a handful of credible entrants, not exactly an avalanche. Second, almost all of them use seven-inch screens as compared to iPad's near 10-inch screen . . . [The] screens on the seven-inch tablets are a bit smaller than the bottom half of the iPad display.
[E]very tablet user is also a smartphone user. No tablet can compete with the mobility of a smartphone, its ease of fitting into your pocket or purse, its unobtrusiveness when used in a crowd. Given that all tablet users will already have a smartphone in their pockets, giving up precious display area to fit a tablet in our pockets is clearly the wrong trade off. The seven-inch tablets are tweeners, too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad.
[The] iPad now has over 35,000 apps on the App Store. This new crop of tablets will have near zero . . . and [ ] our potential competitors are having a tough time coming close to iPad's pricing, even with their far smaller, far less expensive screens.
Endgadget is out with its Galaxy Tab review. The gadget blog generally likes the hardware but says the device lacks app support. I haven't used one so I can't comment; however I think the pricing is wrong. It ranges from $399 for the two-year contract subsided version (Sprint, T-mobile) to $599 or $699 for the "unlocked" version of the device.
Here's the problem. The contract version is $100 too expensive and can't (apparently) be used as phone, other than with VoIP providers. The unlocked versions are too expensive when compared with the larger-screen iPad. The right way to do this would have been to enable the device to be used as a smartphone substitute. Then the $399 price is more palatable.
But as Jobs suggested most Tab buyers will have a smartphone already. So they're not going to want to buy yet another carrier contract. They're likely to wait for the WiFi version and buy it unlocked. But then it's too expensive for a device that in most respects is inferior to Apple's tablet.
My prediction is that when it becomes available in a couple of weeks there will be decent but not great sales for the Samsung device. If it had been priced more aggressively it might have flown off the shelves. Apparently the Galaxy Tab cost $200 to manufacture so a $300 price point cuts deeply into margins. But the right price for the (subsidized) Galaxy Tab would have been $299.
By this time next year we should have several Android tablets in market, together with an HP WebOS tablet and a few windows-based tablets. RIM's Playbook will also be out. The market will be a great deal more interesting and potentially confusing as consumers try and navigate all the device choices and how to connect them all to the Internet in the most economical way. (This is a huge issue: consumers want the best devices and unlimited connectivity at the cheapest prices; carriers want to thwart that objective.)
For the time being Apple owns 95% of the global tablet market according to Strategy Analytics: