Chandrakant 'CK' Isi
08th Jan 2013
Similar to the cellphone industry, the tablet market remained stale for most part of the year (we are talking innovation, not product launches here). With hoards of options, Android tablets delighted masses, but all of these slates could only wage the price war, and could not take Apple on, on 'quality' or 'user experience'. Later in the year though, Microsoft spiced up this space a bit.
Android Made Aakash Possible
The USD 100 One-laptop-per-child has been largely a dream, with the device cost well over that psychological price mark. The Government's push to get an ultra-low-cost tablet for college students, Aakash, became a reality (well, it does 'exist'). Just how much this tablet would help students study is debatable. That aside, Aakash managed to open the floodgates for cheap tablets from domestic companies with prices starting from as little as Rs 2500. This surely put tablets in hands of masses who can't dream of "investing" in an iPad.
Nexus 7's Indian Pricing Was Disappointing
While Aakash generated news for its price, on the other end of the spectrum, Google's Nexus 7 (quad-core and USD 250) was one of the most anticipated tablet in India. Sadly for the tablet-crazed Indian, it launched for Rs 20,000 —steeper than what most of us were expecting.
High-End Android Tablets Limped
No matter how hard the Android OEMs tried, the iPad-killer remained an illusive find. Early in the year, Sony's much hyped Tablet S and P met with a lukewarm response in India. The situation wasn't different for the ASUS Tranformer Pad either. Samsung, as usual continued to flood the market with its GALAXY Tab 750, Tab 2, and Note 10.1 (if you can consider it more tablet and less phone, but that's debatable).
iPad Kept Its Lead
Despite only making incremental upgrades to the iPad 3 with the iPad 4, Apple's latest was still lapped up eagerly. Comparatively, last year's iPad (the iPad 3) was a significant improvement over the iPad 2 in terms of screen as well as performance. Innovate or not, the Cupertino-based company also came out the iPad mini to compete with 7" Android slates. With a 7.9" (almost 8-inch) screen, aluminium body, and rich app store the mini had no difficulty warming up to buyers. With a Rs 20,000 for the base-model, for once Apple got the pricing right in India, pitting it directly against the Nexus 7 on our shores.
Third Player Entered The Arena
Microsoft entered the tablet market with a promise of delivering a versatile computing experience. The software giant even came up with a special edition of its latest OS for ARM chips, Windows 8 RT (the usual Windows 8 is meant for x86, the platform on which our desktops, laptops are based), thus showing that it is serious about the tablet market. HP and Lenovo are already readying their ENVY x2 and ThinkPad Tablet 2 respectively for India. It will be interesting to see how the WP8 tablets will fair against the iPad next year.
2012 TechTree Wrap-Up Part 11: One Tablet Too Many
Despite dozens of tablet coming from the Android camp, Apple's iPad managed to hold on to the top spot.
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