A Tablet Comparison for the Holidays from The Motley Fool
Apple iPad MiniPrice range: $329
- $659Market segment: Small-sizedCellular data available: Yes (LTE)Consumer appeal: "The full iPad experience,"including largest number of tablet-optimizedapps available and higher build quality.For investors: The iPad Mini carries higher grossmargins than full-sized iPad but lower thanApples corporate average. It represents animportant competitive response to 7-inch rivalsand is positioned at premium price points. TheiPad Mini may even go on to outsell the full-sizediPad. Apple has reportedly orderedapproximately 10 million iPad Mini units throughthe end of the year.
Apple iPad with Retina DisplayPrice
range: $499 - $829Market segment: Full-sizedCellular data available: Yes (LTE)Consumer appeal: Standard by which othertablets are measured against. Largesttablet-optimized app selection andhigh-resolution Retina display.For investors: Apple defined the tabletcategory with the iPad and has set thestandard for what consumers expect. No tabletrival has successfully challenged the iPad in thefull-sized market with comparable prices, andApple will likely continue to dominate thissegment.
Amazon Kindle Fire HDPrice range:
$199 - $264Market segment: Small-sizedCellular data available: NoConsumer appeal: Low-cost device withexcellent content services for Amazon usersand Prime subscribers.For investors: The Kindle Fire family has been avery successful product for Amazon, earning ita 22 % market share in the U.S. while servingas a portal into Amazons content ecosystem.Amazon has reportedly ordered approximately5 million Kindle Fire units through the end ofthe year. Includes without special offers
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9"Price
range: $299 - $614Market segment: Full-sizedCellular data available: Yes (LTE)Consumer appeal: Less expensive than iPadwith Retina Display and same strong Amazoncontent offerings. LTE available at heavilydiscounted data prices.For investors: Amazon wants to challenge theiPad in the full-sized market by substantiallyundercutting on price while negotiatingbargain LTE data prices through AT&T. TheKindle Fire HD 8.9" still serves primarily as anAmazon content portal though, and itsthird-party app selection is still laggingGoogles Android. Includes without special offers
Barnes & Noble Nook HDPrice
range: $199 - $229Market segment: Small-sizedCellular data available: NoConsumer appeal: Low-cost device that feedsinto B&Ns content services and Nook appcatalog. Highest resolution and sharpestdisplay in small-sized category.For investors: B&N is a relatively low-volumeplayer in this space, as it has a lot of catchingup to do on the content front. The Nook HDhardware is respectable, but just the first stepof the booksellers broader tablet strategy.
Barnes & Noble Nook HD+Price
range: $269 - $299Market segment: Full-sizedCellular data available: NoConsumer appeal: Less expensive than KindleFire HD 8.9" with similar quality display and noneed to pay extra fee to remove ads.For investors: The Nook HD+s only advantageover the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" is price. Amazonhas superior content services and the twotablets are very comparable in terms ofhardware. The overall Nook business is seeinggrowth deceleration with sales increasing just6 % last quarter, although the new Nook familydidnt begin shipping until after the quarterclosed.
Google (Asus) Nexus 7Price range:
$199 - $299Market segment: Small-sizedCellular data available: Yes (HSPA+)Consumer appeal: Low-cost device with widerfunctionality than Kindle Fire and full access toGoogle Play app catalog. Cellular HSPA+availability recently added.For investors: The Nexus 7 is the leadingAndroid tablet, after third-party manufacturersfailed to gain traction with Android tablets. TheAndroid tablet market needed leadership, andthe Nexus 7 is exactly that. Google hasreportedly ordered approximately 5million Nexus 7 units through the end of theyear.
Google (Samsung) Nexus 10Price range:
$399 - $499Market segment: Full-sizedCellular data available: NoConsumer appeal: First full-sized Nexus tabletthat offers pure Android experience. Evensharper resolution that iPad with RetinaDisplay.For investors: The Nexus 10 is very strong froma hardware perspective, and Samsung is by farthe most successful Android OEM right now.However, most Android tablet apps are scaledup smartphone apps and arent optimized fortablet displays, which make the content lesscompelling. Impressive hardware may notmake up for this shortfall.
Microsoft Surface RTPrice range: $499
- $699Market segment: Full-sizedCellular data available: NoConsumer appeal: Intended as a productivitytablet with Microsoft Office and Touch Cover.Largest display in full-sized tablet category.For investors: Surface is more importantstrategically than financially at this point, as itsunit sales cant come close to the volumes thatthe broader Windows PC market provides. Thetablet is Microsofts biggest push into first-party computing hardware, and couldpotentially represent a momentous shift in itsbusiness if Surface succeeds. Microsoft hasreportedly ordered between 3 million and 5million Surface units through the end of theyear.