Monday, June 13, 2011

Lower end tablets have to get this right.

So, Notion Ink - not my intent to pick on you guys in particular, but this illustrates my point today...

Maybe I am a bit late to the game here and just piling on, but I don't get the Adam tablet.  Sure, they did some things right (e.g., chose a solid CPU and a cool transflective display option from Pixel Qi), it is priced competitively and on the outside it looks like a reasonable product, but they made some fundamental mistakes, several of which were pointed out by others long before I got here... 

So, here's my problem - you HAVE to release product, not prototype.  OTAs cannot fail - you have to design well test the hell out of them (been there, done that).  Your hardware cannot look like it was thrown together in haste.  These issues and more have been laid bare before you all in more blogs, reviews, teardowns, forums, etc than I could possibly enumerate.

But, what I have not heard people talking about, and my point today is:  that in order to have a viable consumer product in this space, you have to have apps.  When I was at Chumby, we used to remind ourselves of this by saying "it's the content, stupid!"  I believe it really is.  Actually, I know it really is.  I have been on this soapbox before and imagine that I will be again.

Companies that get caught up in rushing to market and/or making a cool piece of hardware, but forget that the apps are what the user really cares about, what sets the tone of the out of the box experience when the user first powers up their new device and what enables a brand to build compelling consumer marketing around their product are clearly not paying close enough attention to the ads for iOS-powered and Android-powered devices - those ads are mostly about the apps.

If you know me, you might think I am biased, since app acquisition is big part of what I have been doing for the last several years, but all you have to do is to look at what is going on in the market and you will nod your head and say, "yep."

I know that getting apps for pre-load is not easy - it is hard work - but just like getting your OTA solid, and passing your FCC certification and having engaging ID and all the other things you need to do in order to launch your product in this space, you need to get it done and get it done right.  And not just any apps - no, no, no...  the apps have to be the apps that people use and people want, the ones they talk about, the ones they show their friends.  It is pretty easy to build that list of apps by sitting down in front of your computer (or tablet or whatever) and spending a few minutes, if you can't just rattle them off the top of your head already.

I will have lots more to say about apps in the coming weeks.   For all of you folks working hard to launch your tablets, get it all right...and figure out how to get those apps.  Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression!

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