If I could get a ride on a time machine, not much but just a couple of months back, I’d love to get into the tablet business. Am I crazy? Don’t I know Apple is already kicking some serious ass here? Of course. But wait till you hear my plans. I’d love to start my own company that would sell tablets to consumers. We design tablets, get them manufactured in bulk in cheap Chinese factories and let’s just assume we put Android on them.
We keep the launch fancy and spread a little rumor about how awesome our little product is. We manage a few blog posts and a couple of articles in the print media. Launch day – the product is announced at a price tag of $499 with not-so-awesome features that are pretty much standard with every tablet in the market. Why would anyone buy a tablet from a new company? Of course, we don’t want you to buy. Not yet.
A couple of months down the line when we’ve sold a couple of tablets to early adopters who’ve obviously gone through the pain and never wrote anything about it, we decide to lower the price. How does this help? We keep the price real crazy. Like how? Like HP-crazy! What? Like $99. The tablets sell like hot cakes, people are running around and queuing up outside stores just to get one.
So all of a sudden why do people want to buy our tablets? They’re not so special. Of course it’s the price tag. The crazy price tag to be precise. It seems like HP’s recent fire sale of the TouchPad at $99 has left people both thinking and running around for a piece of the dead tablet. The sole reason being – a $99 tablet is totally worth a shot, even if you’ll end up hanging one in your bathroom.
It has also got people thinking about how tablets could be priced to sell at a high volume. From where I see it, Amazon might have learnt the biggest lesson from this. I bet their honchos are busy preparing the HP TouchPad case study so it can help them with their own tablet launch due sometime later this year. Not just Amazon, this should have got the folks at Apple and Google thinking about how to price your tablet as well.
I agree that HP’s case is a one off where they just wanted to get rid of their useless tablets. The only point is, if they were so useless and HP didn’t want them, neither did any retailer, how come people still went for it even if it meant shelling out $99? It’s obvious that the tablet wouldn’t get any updates in the near future. The point here is that people are ready to shell out a certain amount of money even if the device isn’t too flashy, you know what I mean. This has primarily set $99 as a benchmark for useless tablets.