Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How Shelf Space Limits Apple Competitors

On a recent visit to Best Buy one thing was striking in the technology area. Apple signs and Apple products were everywhere. There were iMacs, iPhones, iPods and iPads in several different areas surrounded by accessories of all kinds. As I was about to walk away I saw two competing tablets hidden away on a three foot section of shelf space. One was the recently released Motorola Xoom and the other was the slightly older Samsung Galaxy Tab. I decided to give both of these Android based tablets a try.

The Xoom is similar in size to the iPad and it started up quickly and offered a similar but sparse display. Of the few apps available I selected one of the three games. Upon start up I was told I needed to download a large file so I tapped OK and the progress bar indicated it was downloading. Only a minute later, it stopped and said I needed to start over again. I tried it again with the same frustrating result and gave up.

It's hard to believe but the experience with the Galaxy Tab was worse. It has a smaller but similar screen and when I pushed the start button, a message said I needed to go through a setup process; apparently it had never been used. When I started the process, I heard a sound reminiscent of a modem dialing for a connection and a minute later it reported an error and I had to start over. I tried that with the same result and gave up.

From all reports both of these are great tablets but my experience was discouraging to say the least. I certainly wouldn't draw major conclusions about the devices from this simple test. The fact that these devices were almost invisible among the Apple products was far more telling. These companies and a hoard of other tablet makers have a long struggle ahead to be recognized by the general public as competitors to the iPad and iPhone; limited shelf space at major retailers will be a huge barrier.


  1. Gary,
    I like your blogspot. Not being an "official" techie, I find you easy to read and understand. One of these days I may even be able to convince my spouse, Ron, of a move to an IPad or IPhone.
    'Til then I'll keep abreast of tech via your blog. Thanks.
    PS I enjoy walking with your wife!

  2. Thank you Fran - It's really fun to write the blog and I'm glad you enjoy reading it.
    Take care