Competition in the tablet market is tough. With Apple’s iPad commanding an estimated 80% market share, other competitors are hard-pressed to come up with products that can compete both in price and features. But as a Lenovo executive says another company has overstated its sales figures, does this indicate that they don’t see hope in grabbing any significant market share from Apple in the tablet business?

AT the IFA trade show in Berlin this week, Lenovo launched a few Android devices, one of which includes the Lenovo IdeaPad K1, which will be released mid-September. But during a press briefing a Lenovo executive shared some statements that doesn’t necessarily bode well for some Android manufacturers — Samsung, in particular.

The issue here involves pricing and volume. While the iPad is currently the market leader, the industry has observed how a device will sell like hotcakes if priced way under the production value, such as the $99 HP Toucpad, which went EoL just a few weeks after launch. Andrew Barrow, Lenovo’s director of consumer products and pricing in Western Europe, said that the company’ won’t need to underprice its products just to compete.

“We don’t feel the need to buy share from Apple. If the product sells, it sells,” Barrow says. He implies that Lenovo isn’t aiming too high with the volume of its first sales, indicating that the company might still be trying to have a feel of the waters. But what might be more striking is how Lenovo referred to the experiences of another major Android device manufacturer. Barrow said Samsung’s Galaxy Tab “sold 20,000 out [to consumers], and Samsung claimed a million shipments [to retail stores],” which means the company shouldered losses only to say it has released a million units to the market.

One might recall that this discrepancy with sales figures caused some confusion, with Samsung eventually admitting some time earlier this year that the company might have overstated sales figures by confusing channel deliveries (units delivered to retail stores) with actual consumer sales (devices shipped to buyers like you and me). Folks in marketing might consider this “channel stuffing,” meaning a manufacturer floods retail establishments with shipments even with actual sales being poor, for the purpose of ramping up publicity.

But a figure of 20,000 units might be a gross under-estimation, and we think Samsung might want to have a word with Lenovo Europe in this matter. Samsung has launched several Galaxy Tab devices to date, including a 7-incher and a 10-incher in various flavors (3G, LTE, Wi-Fi only). Still, even with a handful of Android tablets in the market, the iPad is still king of the hill, and a tough brand to beat. Perhaps the only real hope for any Android domination is with the upcomingAmazon Kindle, with its consumer-oriented positioning, brand recall and price.

At this point, Lenovo won’t disclose any predictions or estimates, but if their consumer-oriented tablets don’t sell as well as expected, they still have “other products in the pipeline,” according to Barrow. Perhaps Lenovo can concentrate on the enterprise market, with its ThinkPad tablet, which competes in a different market from the iPad’s.

Leave a Reply.