As I was having a mango and orange juice round the corner from the somewhat unique hotel I’m staying in here in Old Taipei, I had an invitation from Sascha Pallenberg, I popped round to pay a visit to Mobile Geeks, and it was something of an eye opener.
Sascha, and fellow reporter Nicole Scott, have offices in rather a swanky building on the 11th floor of an office block near the metro. Obviously they are gearing up for next week’s Computex but we had time for a chat about the state of the tablet market.
Sascha showed me two tables – one Chinese one sells for $35, while the other, a well built machine from Ramos, sells for $225. Both are Android devices and Sascha tells me there are dozens, maybe hundreds of these babies manufactured in China, which obviously has implications for the big boys, the Taiwanese boys and, well, the whole world. Heck, you could bundle a $35 notebook with a carton of cigarettes, I suggested.
Can you obtain these machines in the USA and Europe? Well, you can certainly get hold of the Ramos machine – check out its site here. But most of the tablets, Sascha suggested, were destined for the Asian, Indian and African markets, where no one can lash out the amounts of cash Apple and others expect.
The real question for me is how vendors can possibly expect people to pay vast sums of money in the USA and Europe when it’s obviously not hard for the Chinese to master manufacturing and with a bill of materials at a considerably less cost. Surely it can only be a matter of time before the majors are forced to slash prices to match the Chinese offerings – and then it will be a case of just how they can make such big margins as they do now, in the future.
And with the heady mix of Windows tablets, Android tablets battling it out, where exactly is this going to leave the old guard – Microsoft and Intel?