So What Is Samsung’s Android Tablet Strategy?

Samsung Galaxy 3 Tablet Family

Did Samsung just give up on competing with the iPad?  Are they trying to race to the bottom?  These questions resonated in my head as I read through the specs on the third generation of Samsung’s tablets and try to figure out their strategy.

Looking at the specifications of the device I have to wonder if they really just created a 10.1 inch device with a paltry 149 pixels per inch?  That’s barely better then the iPad 2’s 132PPI that came out over 2 years ago and no where near the iPads Current 264PPI and last years Asus Transformer Prime’s 224PPI.  And before I could even finish writing this Asus announced a tablet with 299ppi.  Which makes me wonder who are they really trying to compete with?  Their Galaxy line of phones is lauded as one of the best in the Android world, but their tablets fall flat.

Which brings me to my next thought – Is Samsung just going after budget Android tablets?  Maybe they just believe that Android tablets is a budget space no matter who you are and that trying to compete with Apple on performance is a no win scenario.  Certainly there is nothing wrong with this business model (although my brand strategy professor will tell you it’s always better to push up a brand and make more money off of it then push down to cheaper products).  However if you’re going to make a budget product, it needs a budget price and $399 for the 10incher is anything but.  Also you probably shouldn’t profess that your tablet is “built to be the leading 10-inch tablet in the market.” when you’re the budget product.  So maybe they aren’t going after the budget market.  As an MBA I have to ask, what’s Samsung’s Tablet strategy?

One conclusion that makes is that the multiple sizes, and sub brands (ie Galaxy Note vs Galaxy Tab) allows Samsung to fill smaller niches, and in aggregate pull of a larger percentage of the addressable market.  I’d say that conclusion works for me, but I’m still thrown by the $399 price point.

In an iPad world if you’re not an iPad you’d better be cheaper then an iPad.  With the iPad 2 still on sale for $399 the Android Tablet price point has to be lower.  The perceived value of Android an Android tablet still isn’t that of an iPad.  We can view different device sizes as a competitive advantage and a bump to perceived value.

Compared to the iPad Mini the Galaxy Tab 8 does have a slightly better screen resolution but it’s only $30 cheaper.  On the 7 inch side the just announced updates to the Nexus 7 make an even less compelling argument to buy Samsung.

I’d love to see some marketing data on how much of a premium iOS can get vs. Android.  Apple is out innovating Samsung in the tablet space, and when I can get an Asus Transformer Prime Infinity for only the same money I just don’t see the point.

I’d really like to see a solid Android competitor to the iPad come out of Samsung.  The Galaxy line is building brand equity, which could halo into a tablet line up, and tight integration between Samsung products (like that alluded to but not really explained in a recent commercial) would start to create a stronger Samsung ecosystem.  While I’ll admit I probably shouldn’t judge a tablet solely based on screen resolution, it’s hard not to once you’ve seen a Retina iPad. I just don’t see the innovation and product evolution coming from Samsung in the 10” tablet space.

Maybe the Tab 4 will change that…

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