Winner and Losers in the Tablet Wars

The long awaited Apple Tablet will finally be announced on Wednesday.  Like many folks, I believe the device will be quite successful and continue a transformation is how media is consumed.  As a result, i thought it would be worthwhile to review my quick takes on the winners and losers, apart from Apple of course, which will benefit more than anyone:


  1. Real time web participants.  As more and more folks have a network connected tablet at their fingertips at all times, it will continue the growth in usage of services such as Twiiter.
  2. Bloggers.  One of the primary use cases for the new tablet will be reading and catching up on your favorite blogs at all times.  In the short run,  don't know if the sheer number of readers will increase significantly, especially as most of the early adopters will be those who are already active readers of blogs, but the readership per post will certainly increase.
  3. Major media outlets.  Assuming they get with the Apple program, major media brands will benefit as the device goes mainstream and readers who recognize and trust major brands will be drawn into consuming more content.  Not to mention that the tablet will be able to make the trip to the rest room much more easily than a laptop!
  4. App developers, particularly gaming and vertical content vendors.  Just as the iPhone and iPod Touch became a new gaming and app consumption platform, the same will hold true for the tablet which will have the added benefit of offering a richer user experience.  In addition to games, I suspect there will be significant usage of travel guides, local search and other such applications, many of which have already been successful in the AppStore.
  5. Ad Networks that support all of the above.  As more media is consumed on such devices, ad platforms that benefit from the increase in content usage will see an increase in their reach and frequency.  One more reason why Apple purchased Quattro Wireless.


  1. Amazon.  Why have both a Kindle and a Tablet, especially if Apple can re-create a buying platform for books and magazines that is as compelling and easy to use as the Amazon store is on the Kindle.  Further, Amazon's efforts to woo developers to the Kindle run the risk of being too little, too late as most developers i speak with are already overwhelmed with supporting the iPhone and Android platforms and it will be easier to add the tablet to the mix than to add yet another platform such as the Kindle.  The same will hold true for the dozen or so other folks who aspire to the e-reader throne, especially as they don't have Amazon's heft or ability to drive low price points for a dedicated device such as the Kindle.
  2. Nintendo and Sony's handheld gaming platforms.  Some disagree with this assertion saying that the device wont sell enough units to make a dent in the DS and PSP, but in our household the usage of the iPod Touch as a gaming platform has rapidly eclipsed the handhelds we own and i suspect, as mentioned above, a richer UI will only serve to further drive this trend.
  3. Traditional media, including mainstream TV, producers that don't get with the program. This is not a new trend caused by the Tablet per se, but rather it will serve to accelerate what has been transpiring over the last several years.
  4. Microsoft.  Yet another device that will have zero content from Redmond and will further drive usage of cloud based services.
  5. Romance.  More media consumption at anytime and anywhere in the household, no doubt including the bedroom, won't be good for relationships with your partner!  Maybe divorce lawyers should be on the list of winners.

If you want further insights into prospective usage of the Tablet, Flurry has a great post of what they have observed over the past few weeks.  More importantly, I will be interested in your take on whether you will buy a tablet and how you expect to use the device!  

5 thoughts on “Winner and Losers in the Tablet Wars

  1. Ryan Bowse January 26, 2010 / 12:02 am

    Great post and thanks for the insight. The romance loser line got me to laugh out loud as it is so true.
    What are you thoughts on the major power issue that needs to be address around the tablet? While I am extremely excited about the device I start to think about all those radios (3G, WiFi bluetooth) and the high resolution screen that thing is going to be no better than a new macbook pro battery. I wonder if the will make the battery replaceable unlike the current iphone/itouch hardware config.
    Thanks for the post!


  2. chazard January 26, 2010 / 8:09 am

    Thanks Ryan! I agree battery life will be the biggest issue and hope it will be replaceable, although with Apple you never know. I suspect there will be a good third party market for charging docks as I could imagine popping it into a dock in my family room every night for charging. I also suspect it will have granular radio controls such that you can modify what is on when. Nonetheless, reading a book on a cross country flight will likely be better on a Kindle as a result.


  3. A Facebook User January 26, 2010 / 5:28 pm

    Chip–why do you think Amazon is a loser in this scenario? Surely Kindle for iPhone becomes Kindle for iPad/iSlate/whatever, and Amazon has a better chance of keeping its relationships with publishers than Apple has of building new ones, no?
    Regardless, I agree with the rest of your list. Will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow and beyond.


  4. chazard January 26, 2010 / 5:42 pm

    Thanks for the comment. You are right that the Kindle iPhone app likely transitions well to the tablet and I know Amazon certainly commands more and more of my book wallet as a result of the Kindle, which may make up for other loses. That said, I worry Kindle device sales will decline, with the accompanying impact on the top and bottom line, and that it never becomes the platform they would like as new users, who don’t already have a Kindle, find other apps to use instead of Amazon’s. Further, I think that over time Amazon loses relative power with publishers once there is another game in town. In the end, you are right in that it will be interesting to see what happens!


  5. Chip Correra February 12, 2010 / 9:43 am

    I suspect that Amazon will ultimately loose the device war, especially if Apple ups the hardware anti and pushes Amazon further away from their core business. When push comes to shove, Amazon will refocus on their primary revenue stream – the aggregation and sale of published content – they might even go the free dedicated reader route if they can cover the cost by owning the store. I’m hoping that enough competition will arise to force Apple to break down the walled garden (aka iTunes/iBookstore).
    In addition, Amazon should keep an eye on the looming mobile content war with Google’s book and Android as the dark horse in this upcoming battle.
    Finally, @Ryan’s concern for batteries and displays – there are some pretty exciting display technologies being developed at a company called Pixel Qi.


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