The tablet market till date can be summed up in two words: Apple and Amazon. The latter may not have made as big a splash in the tablet scene as the former did with the iPad, but the Amazon Kindle Fire certainly helped the market to get new takers for tablets.
Moreover, its sales were pretty spectacular for any tablet that wasn’t the iPad.
The other big names, however, failed quite dramatically in their efforts with slates. HTC released a Froyo tablet called the Flyer a couple of years back, and post an OS update or two, seemed to shift its focus completely to its line of Android smartphones.
Sony was decidedly more active in manufacturing tablets, with the Sony Tablet S and Tablet P notable names in its oeuvre. The Japanese company managed to be quite innovative with the design and aesthetics of their tablets too, but going by most estimates, their tablets turned out to be even bigger flops than the Flyer eventually.
The two Asian companies may not have given up yet though. XperiaBlog has revealed that a new Sony tablet, the SGPT1211, has just passed through the FCC in the US. It probably is the successor to the Sony Tablet S, but there’s still no confirmation about that. Given that Sony did a decent job with its 2012 Xperia NXT line of smartphones, the SGPT1211 may just be part of its effort to regain some of its lost market share.
As for the HTC tablet, it’s been dubbed the ‘Vertex’, and has been leaked thanks to benchmark tests conducted at NenaMark. While it’s hard to know much about it at this point of time, the benchmark does reveal that it is an Nvidia Tegra 3 tablet running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and that it has a resolution of 1280×752. Given that it is an HTC device, you can expect some heavy Beats audio related branding thrown in for good measure. It doesn’t quite seem like a world beater, thanks in part due to the just launched Nexus 7 tablet, and the incredibly popular iPad line from Apple. But if HTC manages to do anything akin to its trendsetting One series of smartphones (the One X in particular comes to mind), end users will be getting a well-rounded experience in terms of both software and hardware.
The existence of the iPad on one hand, and the Kindle Fire (and now, the Nexus 7) has skewed the tablet a great deal.
On one hand, if a customer has enough dollars to spend in his/her pocket, buying an iPad (heck, even an iPad 2) would seem like a better option than spending upwards of $350-$450 on an Android tablet. That’s the price point one can expect the upcoming Sony and HTC offerings to be at, and that puts them directly in a disadvantage compared to the iPad.
On the other hand, if the two companies try to be more realistic and price their tablets at $300 or below, they’ll be targeting a customer base that would rather spend a $100 less so as to get the very best that Amazon and Google have to offer.
All in all, HTC and Sony face even greater challenges now than they did when they first launched (and failed with) their first gen tablets. To say that their pricing models will be crucial for their respective tablets’ sales is quite the understatement.