Tablet Battle Has Begun, And Will Be Fierce

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When do you expect heavy competition to begin in the tablet PC market, or has it already begun?

Jim Annes, AVAD:

There will be more than 100 companies manufacturing tablets in the near future, so I think it is safe to say that the battle started a while ago. Design and screen size are easily copied by competitors, so the bigger story here is probably the battle between operating systems and for software rather than industrial design.

Dennis Holzer, Powerhouse:

The competition has already begun. To date, Apple remains the clear cut leader. While the category is hot now, I do expect the category to significantly heat up even more in the third and fourth quarters.

Jerry Satoren, DSI Systems:

I don’t think that the heavy action has really begun yet in this category. As we move into the back half of the year, I think things will start to heat up. We will see a lot more players and worthy models on the shelf. Traditional CE and TV/appliance stores have no choice but to get involved in this category or risk walking to their CE sales to a competitor. As a distributor, this low margin/high velocity category is going to open up new customer opportunities for us as many retailers will be forced into looking for logistics solutions to turn their tablet inventory at a much higher rate than anything they’ve ever sold.

Brent McCarty, Ingram Micro Consumer ElectRobics:

Competition has definitely heated up. Ingram has a wide portfolio of tablets from entry level to high end with a semi exclusive on the RIM Playbook and Amazon Kindle. Although there is competition this category is experiencing explosive growth so there is a lot of opportunity.

Warren Chaiken, Almo:

We are certainly seeing competitive advertising and product announcements in the tablet PC market, although currently product supply issues are have not allowed the for competition to really heat up – but it’s coming for fourth quarter.

Rob Eby, D&H Distributing:

We expect competition in the tablet category to heat up in early July, when the major PC manufacturers have both webOS and the new Android models available to ship.

Tom Roper, SED International:

It has already begun, but it will heat up further as more products come out both under the new Android and current Windows OS and as consumers have more time to digest the assortments. There are really two battles, one in the entry-level space and another in the higher-end space with products that go head-to-head with the iPad. The entry-level space has had more competition early on, and the high-end space is the one that we will really see more growth in competition as the year goes by. So far, demand has been high while supply has been tight.

Bill Stewart, Petra Industries:

Competition in the tablet PC market


What other categories should CE retailers and installers begin carrying this year?

David Kaplan, DDG:

This is a great question. There are definitely trends that will affect what we stock and how we sell it. We now live in the era of “killer apps” that allow consumers with broadband unprecedented opportunities for accessibility and interactivity with their homes.

As stated earlier, we are seeing trends in selling affordable retro-fit solutions in new “sweet spots” such as content delivery, security and energy savings.

For example, rather than buying into a


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