India announces $35 tablet and the iPhone 4S

$35 tablet

Manufacturers in India have announced a $35 tablet, designed to get computing power to the masses.

The developer of the world’s cheapest tablet, Datawind, is reportedly selling the tablets to the government for roughly $45 per unit, and $35 for students and teachers. Regular readers will know from my previous post, that I thought India would be the obvious growth path of the future for tablet growth. I also  mentioned that I believed that  Apple may not be successful with it’s higher price points, but cheaper rivals like Android may be more successful as they have cheaper price points.

By comparison the cheapest iPad is $499, or  14 times more expensive than Datawind’s tablet, and the cheapest Android tablet the KindleFire at $199 is nearly six times more expensive.

Will Datawind’s tablet have all of the features of the iPad? No, not by a long shot, but the question has to be asked “Will the majority of the (impoverished) Indian public really care?” Will they lament the fact they can’t play Angry Birds, or Fruit Ninja? Almost definitely not, although that doesn’t mean that developers like Rovio (the makers of Angry Birds) may develop for the tablet anyway.

From the Washington Post:

Datawind says it can make about 100,000 units a month at the moment, not nearly enough to meet India’s hope of getting its 220 million children online.

Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal called the announcement a message to all children of the world.

“This is not just for us. This is for all of you who are disempowered,” he said. “This is for all those who live on the fringes of society.”

Despite a burgeoning tech industry and decades of robust economic growth, there are still hundreds of thousands of Indians with no electricity, let alone access to computers and information that could help farmers improve yields, business startups reach clients, or students qualify for university.

The launch — attended by hundreds of students, some selected to help train others across the country in the tablet’s use — followed five years of efforts to design a $10 computer that could bridge the country’s vast digital divide.

“People laughed, people called us lunatics,” ministry official N.K. Sinha said. “They said we are taking the nation for a ride.”

Although the $10 goal wasn’t achieved, the Aakash has a color screen and provides word processing, Web browsing and video conferencing. The Android 2.2-based device has two USB ports and 256 megabytes of RAM. Despite hopes for a solar-powered version — important for India’s energy-starved hinterlands — no such option is currently available.

iPhone 4S

Most of what needs to be said about the iPhone 4S has been said by technology bloggers and writers around the world already. The only thing I’d like to add is that Apple no longer looks like it’s leading the innovation it kick started. With more agile competitors, and more competitors in general, Apple’s once a year, or longer, release cycle doesn’t seem like innovation and leadership so much as it looks like it’s playing catch-up.  Of course, this isn’t writing Apple off – not by a long shot – but it’s interesting to note that there wasn’t nearly as much fan-fare and media attention in general about Apple’s latest release once the details had actually been released. There was more hype and build up, than reality. Interesting times for Apple.

Tablets in 2016.


Juniper Research has released an interesting report predicting the sales and shipments of tablets – including iPad and newcomers like XOOM, KindleFire, and the seemingly stalled Samsung tablet offering – by 2016.

Western Europe and North America are the biggest predicted ‘one stop markets’ – but the really interesting take away is the size of predicted demand coming out of India. Small, as an overall market participant by 2016, it’ll be interesting to see how it grows by, say, 2020, or 2025 as demand grows and, presumably, for non-Apple products, prices fall.


The future of marketing is platform agnostic

More than ever, with the constant development of new digital products, marketing and consumerism is increasingly divsersified and companies face a platform agnostic future.

It doesn’t matter how someone gets to your business, what is important is facilitating the opportunity for them to do so. Businesses can’t afford to not be where their current and future customers are. Businesses that aren’t able to convince themselves to open up to as many platforms and access points as is reasonable are doing themselves more harm than good.

Oils ain’t oils

Think about the petroleum industry, particularly petrol stations. Petrol Stations are one of the oldest living examples of a platform agnostic business model. Petrol station owners don’t care what vehicle you turn up in. They don’t care if you have a 30 year old 100cc scooter, a family sedan, a brand new Ferrari or a 10 tonne truck. It simply doesn’t matter to them, as long as you buy fuel (and some snacks) you’re the right customer. To them, the ‘vessel’ in which you’re going to consume the petrol isn’t their concern – they accept you’ve bought the vehicle you’ve chosen for your own reasons.

Carrying this example over, think about the ‘vehicles’ that consumers might use to research, evaluate and consume your company’s products. Consumers might use everything from various mobile phone platforms, the emerging tablet market, social networks and social media, websites, online forms, and all of the other various push and pull channels, such as EDM’s, PPC, outdoor advertising, newspapers, magazines, and retail stores etc. There are more channels than any one business can possibly be constantly across – but that’s OK.

Thankfully, fewer businesses each day are seeing digital, mobile and tablet marketing, as a way to dictate how people engage with them. Sticking exclusively with one or two technologies and expecting consumers to follow suit has all the classic trappings of losing market share and alienating whole market segments. Businesses that see the opportunity to engage with customers no matter what platform choice that customer independently made, will reap more benefits in the short and long term. Few, if any, consumers would purchase their smartphone with all of the companies they use at the moment in mind, while also making sure they’re all compatible, for example.

If your website, or app, is great on an iPhone, but not on Android, or Windows mobile, or iPad, or the Samsung tablet, or the RIM technologies tablet, that needs to be fixed, and quickly. Why? Because if your current, or potential consumers are having a poor experience trying to access you they’re less likely to try again in the future. Worse, they may just switch to a competitor offering a similar product with a more user friendly interface.  Even worse, if they can’t access your business on any of the platforms they’re using, few will bother to tell you – especially if they’re not a loyal customer – and if they are they may well be more critical in their feedback, and may well do it in a public arena, like twitter.

Being across every platform is impossible

Coming back to the example above – petrol stations don’t open up everywhere, they open up in strategically useful places. And the same sort of thinking can be applied to other businesses too.

Businesses don’t have to be across every social network, or every new technology that comes along. But they do need to have individuals that are given the time, and the explicit remit, to explore beyond ‘what’s cool’ and progress to what’s useful and what can be tangibly beneficial to both the company and the consumer. If a large percentage of your current core customer segment are Nokia’s, one might argue that there’s no need to optimise for Smartphones like iPhone or Android. But that ignores the growth potential laying behind your next generation of consumer.

This can be scary, no doubt about it. The leap of faith required to get new social, digital, mobile and tablet initiatives off the ground, where no solid figures exist, can be a hurdle which may be difficult for some to jump over.

After all, if no one else in the industry is doing it, and no one is making money from the social/app/other access product being suggested, how does anyone know it’s going to work? Well sometimes you just have to try these things – toe in the water approach if necessary – to see what happens next.

A measure of the desire for an iPad.

It’s been hard to escape the fanfare that the iPad has generated over the past few weeks. And with good reason. The iPad is devastatingly pretty. It is, as you would expect very easy to use and well it has been a hotly anticipated product for over 12 months.

In celebration of the release of the iPad Mashable created a whole new section, media worldwide gave it broad and favourable coverage and all over the world pictures and video were streamed across the web and our televisions of individuals who lined up and waited for hours just to be the first to get one so they could have their images streamed across the web and our televisions.

Rupert Murdoch has claimed that the iPad may well save newspapers, well, save the media company that produces them anyway and there was outrage from some quarters about the ‘rich kids’ that bought them just to destroy them, (didn’t want to promote that stuff though so here a link to ‘will it blend’ blending an ipad.

But beyond all of the hype and the media’s reporting of the iPad launch the burning question is: what’s the demand from the consumers? How much do they want them? Are people as excited as they are about, say, an iPhone, or an android, or even just searching for Facebook, or Oprah or Coca Cola, or a really mundane product like .

The answers are below.

iPad vs nothing (a benchmark):

iPad vs iPhone

iPad vs Facebook

iPad vs Oprah – the really interesting thing here is that Oprah as a search term looked like it did better in the United States and (was massive in) Canada but then got outpaced in the rest of the world.

iPad vs Coca Cola

iPad vs Ebay

Amazing eh? Good to see the buzz build up, but perhaps a little disappointing to the Apple crew to not see the second ‘hump’ of iPad buzz be bigger than the first. Of course, this doesn’t take into account tweets and Facebook postings, but neither nor does it do that for any of the comparison companies.

What the Apple team would be particularly pleased to see though, and perhaps one obvious reason for Google searches not being higher, is the mass of media coverage. If it’s everywhere in the media then maybe there just wasn’t a need to search that much. Read three articles about it and you don’t really need to find out more about a flat, touch, tablet device that does less than an iPhone.

Will it be a huge seller like the iPhone? Perhaps, but it’s less about the products themselves and more about how you use them. An iPhone is a communication tool as much as a diary, social and consuming content device. The iPhone by Steve Jobs own words is a ‘great device for consuming’. He didn’t mention anything about connecting, communicating, talking etc.

I’ve just invented a touch pad device.

I’ve just invented a cordless, light weight, low cost, fully interactive, PC and Mac compatible, writing, drawing and sharable touch based tablet.

Not only that, the production costs are tiny and distribution is a breeze. Everyone is going to want one, I’m sure of it.

Sure, initially it might not attract a lot of attention, but I think the idea is going to catch on.

And I’ve found my niche as the product is not competing feature for feature with the iPad, or the HP Slate and damn it, I think it’s going to work.

It’s called: a Pad of Paper or PoP.

Oh sure, it’s not as easy to shoot and upload video as other touch pad type devices might be, but hey you’ve got a mobile phone already right? Just use that.

Now I know what your major concern is: battery life. Totally understand, and I got you covered. I can guarantee you this, my device will never need to be plugged into a wall. Ever. In fact I’d advise against doing so.

Feel free to compare the iPad vs a PoP for battery life. Go ahead and take an iPad and a Pad of Paper into the desert for 20 days and see which one you’re still able to record your every thought on.

The standard Pad of Paper will come with a dazzling 200 sheets of paper memory measuring 28cms H by 21cms W and retail for just $1. You could buy one iPad or 499 Pads of Paper.

Or upgrade or ‘PoP MAMMOTH’ option (ideal for heavy users) and get 500 sheets of portable memory for just $1.75.

Pad of Paper Mini (PoP’m) will be available for just 40 cents for 50 sheets of paper and the reduced size, just 10cms H by 8cms, makes it even easier to transport.

The only real downfall is that like the iPad and HP Slate, Pad of Paper is likely to experience problems if exposed to large amounts of water or other liquids like coffee.

Pad of Paper also comes in a variety of colours, and comes with OR without ruled lines on the pages.

Want to read on the PoP? No problem, get a friend to write a story for you, or go buy a book for just a few dollars from any major retailer and lean it up against the Pad of Paper. It’s a whole new way to experience reading.

With the Pad of Paper, you just do.

Coming to a stockist near you soon.

Apple’s iPad ‘hype spike’. Does it mean doom or glory?

Will all the hype about Apple’s iPad really translate to sales or a product doomed to get dusty on a salesfloor shelf? Well if history is any guide, Apple and Steve Job’s will need a new pit for all the cash about to come their way, here’s why.

It’s been nearly a month since Apple’s executive team demonstrated the ‘awesome, exciting, magical, groundbreaking, every-positive-noun-under-the-sun’ power of the iPad. It has created tens of thousands of articles, quick product reviews, Youtube videos and several million tweets, comments and blog posts.

So what has all this done to traffic? And what does the traffic tell us about the likely success of Apple’s newest edition to the iFamily?

Not bad right? A big spike, but where’s the longevity of the hype? Should Apple be concerned about the drop off? Looking at it as compared with other Apple products, probably not, take a look. Below is a graph charting search of the iPad, iPhone and iPod over the last 12 months.

The primary reason why big spikes of attention is probably just fine with everyone at Apple from their marketing and product team’s right up to the big turtleneck wearer himself, is that they’ve done it before and their system works at generating interest and strong sales in the long term. Why change something that’s working just fine?

Below are Google Trends graphics showing search patterns for the iPad, iPhone and iPod for ‘all countries’ for ‘all time’. The iPhone saw nearly the exact same spike in ‘hype media attention’ and ‘hype search attention’ and did just fine. Of course, the iPhone and iPad are different products, so there’s still an the question of ‘will the iPad take off? But at the very least the media strategy seems to have hit the spot. It also looks like the iPad could be expected to fade a little more from the media and search frequency before it turns around if the previous search spikes are a good guide.

Despite how big these spikes are, in Google Insights the iPad doesn’t even make a mention in total search stats when compared with it’s brethren. Below, the iPad is in blue, iPhone in red, iPod is orange.

So is the ‘hype spike’ a good thing or a bad thing? It’s a good thing, by a long shot. Most marketers would kill to get that kind of cut-through and message delivery. Apple aficionado’s and curious Apple passerby’s are just waiting to see if the product matches the hype.