UPDATED 13:28 EDT / AUGUST 09 2011

Tablet Makers Driven Out of US to Beat iPad Sales

The Apple iPad has dominance in the US market as 80% of tablet owners sport Steve Jobs’ latest creation.  So tablet makers are looking into European and Asian markets where there is weaker tablet competition, as Apple has lower dominance in those regions.  Only 70% of tablet owners chose the iPad in Europe, as Forrester Research looks into how other tablets can keep up with the iPad sales.

The reason for lower iPad sales in other countries is that there are fewer Apple retail stores at the international level.  In the U.S., Apple has 238 physical Apple stores, with another 19 in Canada, while there are only 52 across all of Europe, with more than half of those (30) concentrated in the UK.  Some countries like Poland even lack online stores, let alone physical retail shops.

Network offerings play their part, as carriers have better plans for Android tablets rather than iPads.  And other European countries like France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden are not so keen into the tablet hype, although some would like to get one, regardless of the brand or OS.

Some are looking into the Chinese market in particular, as it has a large population. Simply put, bigger population=bigger sales.  But they also have to take into consideration that the Asian market has much lower revenue compared to US and European countries.  So it’s a 50/50 chance of making it big in non-US territories.

Though there are risks, some companies that have already taken this route.  Dell launched its Streak 10 Pro solely to the Chinese market last month, priced at CNY 2,999, about US $460, while HP is set to launch its Touchpad in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong this month.   Samsung will be launching its Galaxy tab 10.1 and 8.9 in India on August 10 which will have the Android 3.0 Honeycomb and can be upgraded immediately to the 3.1 Honeycomb version of the software.  Android device maker Samsung is still pushing for a New Zealand and Australian release, though Apple is doing everything it can to stop this from happening.

Nevertheless, many companies, especially those in the publishing industry, are turning to tablets for the future of our economy.  And the iPad, regardless of current global domination, as at the forefront of this movement.   The Tribune Co., one of the largest U.S. news enterprises, is working on a touchscreen tablet that it plans to offer to newspaper subscribers, and is expected to run a modified version of Google’s Android operating system and prominently feature software for the owner’s hometown newspaper.  Lenovo is also set to launch its ThinkPad tablet in late August, shortly after acquiring (FCC) approval for the deal.  Vizio has also launched an 8-inch Android tablet for $299 available at Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart, Costco, and Amazon as well as other retailers.

And for those people with more luxurious tastes, Pierre Cardin launched its 7 inch Android tablet called Pierre Cardin PC-7006, priced at £275, about US $450, and comes with a sleek leather case.  It runs Android 2.2 (Froyo), powered by a 1GHz Samsung S5PV210 Cortex-A8 single core processor, with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage that is expandable up to 16GB with the help of an SD card.  There’s also a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, along with Flash 10.1. support, and is Wi-Fi ready but can also be used on 3G via an attachable 3G USB modem.

There are all sorts of tablets available now, with most people going for brand recognition when buying, while some people look at features, others worry over price.  Sales in different countries vary due mainly to which one was there first, and the price.   Though many would like an Apple device, it is way too expensive in some regions because of taxes, shipping fees and other miscellaneous expenses.  This is where other tablet makers have an edge, as some companies have manufacturing branches in other countries, expenses in distributing their products are much lower, and their products are fairly cheaper in the market.


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