There are real opportunities for the channel to make hay while the sun shines
A recent report from Display Search on tablets showed up an interesting fact. After Apple the second biggest supplier of tablets for Q3 2011 (the latest set of statistics available) wasn’t Samsung but ‘other’. Whitebox Android tablets represented 13% of the total volume of tablets sold.
For the channel this should be extremely interesting. ODMs (original design manufacturers) in China made and sold through local brands more than eight million units. In China there are literally dozens of local, super low cost manufacturers able to compete both in terms of cost and manufacturing speed with surprisingly good devices.
These manufacturers are in turn being supported by a new generation of SOC (System On a Chip) makers too. Low cost licensing availability for CPU cores from ARM and graphics cores from Imagination Technology or ARM’s own Mali graphics core mean that companies such as Rockchip, Boxchip and MediaTek are able to compete with established giants such as Qualcomm, TI and NVIDIA.
With a free OS in Android and no need to worry about content or apps, these ODMs can focus on cost reducing hardware to astonishingly low prices. That means that enterprising business people in the channel can easily access good tablet products which can then be badged and sold as local brands.
As tablets become an ever further integrated part of modern life and with these new low prices we can easily see a time in the not distant future where there will be a ‘tablet on every table’ for anyone to pick up, log on and use.
Already some airlines are offering the use of iPads for the flight in business class. The boom in super low cost tablets offers a big opportunity to the channel and will perhaps emerge with some new brand names we haven’t seen before.
Troy Waite, based in New York, New York, is an industry expert on new tech and the channel