It has been seen that the tablet market has generated considerable interest in the consumer electronics market. The tablets of different sizes have stormed the marketplace with more and more people picking it up as a gadget of their choice for entertainment and office work. In this essay we shall be looking into a new innovative product in this electronics market that is still different from the rest and is innovative in its features and functionality. We shall be looking into how exactly the product differs from the rest and how we propose to carry out the marketing activities around it. Decisions on the target market, distribution strategy and the pricing shall be discussed and the rationale behind it shall be explained.
The Electronics Device Marketplace
Before we begin the description of the product, it shall be a useful exercise to map the electronic gadgets marketplace, as this will help us in understanding the needs and wants of the consumer and fill out any gaps if we feel that exists.
The electronic gadget marketplace today primarily consists of three products in terms of mobile entertainment and productivity devices. They are the
1. Smart Mobile Phone
There do exist other devices like mobile DVD and video players and PDA’s. However they do not qualify into this list as they offer features of only entertainment like in the mobile video players or of productivity, as in the PDA’s. The three categories outlined offer both the features of entertainment and productivity to some degree today.
The mobile phone is essentially a communicating device. But with features of touch screen and bigger display, with the addition of a fully fledged QWERTY keypad in a few, the modern day smart phone is capable of doing much more than just making calls. It offers superior entertainment features like video player and interactive games. The productivity features are also present, like the ability to check emails and view office files. However the capability of the device is a limited due to the hardware and screen size and the experience is similarly cramped.
The laptop is without doubt the most powerful gadget in terms of processor and other hardware capabilities. The screen size is considerably large, with screens starting from 10 inches up to 17 inches in size. The primary motive of a laptop is to offer full functionality of that of a desktop, with the added advantage of mobility. However, laptops are now seen as a little too big and relatively inconvenient to carry, especially when compared to a mobile phone or a tablet. The battery life of laptop is also limited to a maximum of 7-8 hours at the maximum, which means it is incapable of providing whole day computing and impractical for a whole day use without the availability of an external power source. The laptop is capable of one of the most graphics intensive entertainment applications requiring the latest and most powerful hardware, like High definition videos and games. The user experience is rich but limited to a short battery life.
The tablet was initially conceived as a product to bridge the gap between the mobile phone and a laptop. The tablet was presented as a device which could do more than a mobile phone in terms of entertainment functionality and offered more flexibility that a laptop, in terms of longer battery life and longer battery life. The tablets emerged in primarily two sizes. First were the 7 inch tablets, with some offering full mobile phone functionality of making and receiving calls. The idea was to have a device with larger screen that was capable of more functions of both productivity and entertainment. However, the 7 inch tablet is more or less an entertainment gadget which offered a bigger screen for games and videos. The office productivity was limited to viewing mails and office files. Editing them and creating new ones were still seen as tedious owing to difficulty in typing on the on-screen keyboard. The 10 inch tablet was targeted more towards an alternative to the laptop. It has a even bigger screen and is comparable to the laptops in screen size. The 10 inch laptop can also do a bit more than the 7 inch ones in terms of office productivity. Consumers found it relatively easier to do office work on and could view complete websites with ease. However, these bigger tablets lacked the calling capability. In spite of being aimed as a more office productive solution, the consumers accepted it as another entertainment device. The battery life is albeit long, but still lacks a bit on the concept of whole day computing, with the limit of 10-12 hrs in battery life.
In my opinion, the gap between the laptop and a tablet is still large and there is a need of a product with hardware comparable to that of a laptop, but weight, size and usability as good as that of a tablet, if not better. This is where I believe that the new and innovative product like the bigger screened tablet that can be transformed into a laptop fills the void. The product I am talking about is a tablet and a laptop, if and when you want it to be. The device comes with a detachable keyboard attachment which acts as a dock for the screen part of the device. When detached, the screen works a tablet, like any other. When attached to the keyboard dock, the device would become as functional as a laptop in terms of productivity. The keyboard is complete with a touchpad and even can have a battery inbuilt to extend the battery life of the device when joined together. The hardware specifications would be comparable to the laptop and the device would be able to do more than just email and web browsing. The users will have ability to work on a fully fledged office suite and create and edit office files on the go. The device can have various options of wireless connectivity and can also offer USB support for added storage and other applications. The product is not exactly new but with added gadgets fills the void that we expect to be present. The major differentiating factor over other tablets is that the transformable tablet would have a bigger screen than the tablet. We expect screen sizes of 11-13 inches to be ideal for such a product. This way the size would be comparable to ultra-books and still lighter than them and functionality and fun of a tablet.
The target market for such a product would be consumers who want a more capable productivity solution with an added flexibility of using it as a tablet as and when needed. The battery life is kept at about 15-16 hours for a full day computing. The customers will be same as those looking for a tablet essentially. Thus the prime target is the age group 18-30 years. They are the gadget friendly generation and are present in large numbers irrespective of the geographic location. The youth in America is as enthusiastic as the one in China about a new gadget that could simplify their increasingly complicated lives. The product can also be targeted to the more office inclined professionals who would want a productivity solution for the whole day. Thus the product can be aimed at not one but two consumer groups as the device offers features which would appeal to both.
The ideal distribution strategy for this product would be to present it as a superior tablet which is as capable as a laptop in terms of hardware, and features an extra long battery life. The distribution should be made using the existing channels of tablet and a laptop, for example displays in shopping malls and gadget stores. Exclusive distribution in stores can also help it in establishing as a product different from any other in the electronics market. The users can also have a unique experience in such stores.
Since the device aims at filling the void between the tablet and a laptop, the pricing is what would definitely distinguish the product from the rest in terms of the value offered. Typically 10 inch laptops start at a price of $400 and the competing ultrabooks are available in the market with starting price of $900-1000. The transformable tablet should be priced right in the middle for it to offer maximum value for the price. A price of $500-750 would ensure that any ultrabook buyer would seriously consider owning such a device for a price less than that of an ultrabook but even longer battery life and comparable hardware specifications. This price would even tempt a tablet buyer as he can do away with owning a laptop by stretching his budget by a couple of hundred dollars.
I foresee a demand of such a product in the market and the way for popularizing such a product is to market it an effective and very capable alternative to a tablet and a laptop. The device is essentially a tablet with a marginally bigger screen, but with the dock, it compares to a laptop and offers a wide range of added functionality.