Thursday, January 16, 2014

Why HP's huge voice tablets are likely to fail in India

While 6 inches for Samsung (the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3), Sony (the Z Ultra), HTC (the HTC One Max) and others may be still considered a smartphone or that ugly portmanteau, 'phablet'. For HP it seems a smart calling device at 6 inches or more is, thankfully, still a tablet, even if it is a cringeworthy 'Voice Tablet'.

But everything is downhill after that.

The California based tech giant's latest foray into the segment that it abandoned in 2011 is a 6-inch and a 7-inch tablet with calling capabilities.

But here's the zinger, these tablets are being released first in India and are designed to cater to this market. HP has bet on India reviving its smartphone fortunes and claims to have done a numbers of surveys and market studies over the last year that have led it to believe that India is the perfect market for its monster twins.

Well, that isn't too surprising as India's love for monstrously huge smartphones is well documented. , 'phablets' made up 30 percent of all smartphone shipments in India in the 2nd quarter of 2013.

While a Freudian analysis of the country's fixation with Godzilla sized phones is still to surface, it can be assumed, for now, that a 'phablet' is looked upon as a bargain buy, filling in the need for both a phone and a tablet. This theory could be supported empirically by the other dual-purpose household electronics that have sold like gangbusters in India in the past, the two-in-one and the VCR.

An irony that HP will have to confront though is that 'phablets' in India have been eating into the tablet market. Of course, here when one says tablet, one refers to only those that have no voice calling capability. So despite the company's attempt to brand them as tablets HP's twin towers could theoretically sneak past the tablet-phablet divide into the consumers rather large pockets.

Coming back to the devices, the two tablets called Slate VoiceTabs, that will make anyone holding them up against their head look like an idiot, run on Android and are powered by the now ho-hum quad-core processor.

You can also expect 16 GB of onboard storage which can be expanded to 32 GB, two cameras (front and back) and the other run-of-the-mill features on these devices.

It is also reported that these baby ogres will not have a full HD screen, which is a pity, but a small 'yay' for battery savings.

Having said that it can be assumed, from what has been revealed so far, that there will be nothing overtly cool or funky about these devices and with no WebOS novelty in terms of software the Slate VoiceTabs may struggle to be heard in a crowd that already has Samsung, Asus, Sony, Micromax and many others clamouring for the consumer's attention and with significantly better specs at their disposal.

So, although they didn't get a stick to a gunfight, we'd rather bet our money on the English soldiers winning off the last ball in Lagaan than on HP getting a noticeable market share with these devices.

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