Samsung just made a mistake.
The company’s new Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet has everything. Front and back cameras, a removable memory slot and even a digital stylus. The tablet is supposed to go head to head with Apple’s iPad over the holiday season. But it will not win.
There is only one way to battle Apple in tablets and Samsung has completely missed the mark.
When I reviewed Samsung’s the Galaxy S III smartphone, I took the company to task for the plethora of “S” apps that it stuffed into the device. Sadly, these S apps, Samsung's versions of common functions, are clogging up the Galaxy Note 10.1, too.
S Memo, MediaHub, S Calendar. Samsung probably thinks it is doing consumers a favor by creating all of these apps. But it is just bloatware. Google built almost all of the same apps into Android -- the tablet's operating system -- and virtually all are simpler and superior to Samsung's.
The marketing for the Galaxy Note 10.1 will be predictable. Samsung will put what it thinks are super cool features (especially the stylus) into 30-second TV commercials while implying that the iPad is boring and inferior.
But Samsung cannot win at that game.
Of course, Apple has its boilerplate features like Notes, Calendar, FaceTime, iMessage and iCloud, and it is anyone's guess whose are best. It is the third-party application ecosystem of iOS, with Apple’s marketing support behind it, that negates anything Samsung can offer
Samsung cannot compare a Galaxy Note 10.1 (or, really, any other Galaxy tablet) to an iPad, feature for feature, and convince people that it has the superior product.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 is important to Samsung’s strategy for the rest of the year. It will push on back-to-school shopping crowds, and, of course it will hawk it relentlessly for the holidays. If Samsung hopes to take a bite out of Apple’s tablet revenue, the Note 10.1 is its best bet.
So, does Samsung have a play here? Yes.
As we have seen over the last year, Apple tablets can be beaten on price. No Android tablet released since mid-2011 gained critical market share unless it significantly undercut the iPad. The two primary examples are Amazon’s Kindle Fire and the new ASUS-made Nexus 7 from Google.
The wi-fi-only 16GB Galaxy Note 10.1, will sell for $499. With 32GB of memory, the price will be $549. These prices are comparable to similar iPad models.
If Samsung really wants to stick it Apple, slashing prices is the way to go.
Comparing the Note 10.1 and the iPad, consumers would likely lean toward the Galaxy Note 10.1 if it cost $100 to $150 less. Samsung might lose money on each sale but taking market share from Apple would likely be worth it to Samsung, whose long-term strategy includes harming the iPad maker any way possible.
How do you compete with an adversary that is willing to take a loss just to hurt you?
As it stands now, the Galaxy Note 10.1 is a bloated, feature-packed device with a nifty stylus, destined to be an also-ran. Apple will take one look at the Note 10.1 … and laugh all the way to the bank.