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Oct 102014

Surface Pro 3 Tablets - Buggy, PriceySurface Pro 3 – Discounts Start

Some companies are like some people – Plain stupid.

They never learn from their follies.

Take Microsoft and its doomed Surface tablets for instance.

Over the last few years, Microsoft has incurred losses nearing two billion dollars on its disastrous forays into the tablet arena.

No matter that Microsoft rolled out different models or programs, consumers just refused to open their wallets for the Surface tablets making them one of the biggest duds in recent years.

Microsoft’s desperate efforts to woo buyers with repeated discounts went nowhere with older models of Surface. Most likely, tens of thousands of older model Surface tablets have gone into landfills polluting the planet.

Discounts – History Repeats

Microsoft made the same mistake with the new Surface Pro 3 tablet by pricing it too high.

A 512GB version of Surface Pro 3 with keyboard, case, docking station, mouse and Office software costs in excess of  $2,500. I wonder what they smoke in Redmond.

Compounding the pricing error, Microsoft positioned the device as a tablet plus PC, i.e. a laptop replacement.

Not surprisingly, the response to Surface Pro 3 too has been ho-hum.

So Microsoft is back to the same old game – Discount after discount.

This week the company announced a $150 discount off of a Surface Pro 3, Type Cover and Docking Station bundle (they must of course be purchased together).

Last week, it was a 10% education discount for teachers and students on Surface Pro 3 and Type Cover bundle.

And before that there was the $650 MacBook Air replacement discount.

Nothing sends the wrong message to potential customers than repeated discounts.

Worried that businesses may not view Surface Pro 3 as a lasting product line, Microsoft was compelled to put out a statement on October 9, 2014:

Businesses can buy with confidence. We are here to stay.

If you ask me, repeated discounts notwithstanding the Surface Pro 3 tablet will meet the same dire fate its predecessors did.

Aug 282014

Maybe Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is not so dumb after all.

The Telugu bidda knows in his heart that Indians are a value conscious bunch who will not squander $1,500-$2,500 on buying a piece of tablet junk like Surface Pro 3 that pretends to be a laptop.

So Nadella did the right thing – Ignored the Indian market.

Surface Pro 3 Tablets - Buggy, PriceySurface Pro 3 – Buggy, Pricey

India Missing

Microsoft expanded availability of Surface Pro 3 to 25 new countries (from the existing U.S., Canada and Japan) Wednesday.

But India is missing from the list of the new markets. Continue reading »

Jul 242014

Apple continues to lose ground but still remains king of the tablet heap.

Microsoft is still unable to make it to the Top-5 vendors for its Surface tablets.

Overall, the tablet market is not in great shape due to saturation in the U.S. and Europe and slow pickup in developing countries like India because of high prices.

Larger screen smartphones are also likely reducing demand for tablets.

Tablets Grew 11% in 2Q 2014

Jul 032014

Xiaomi Mi Pad Tablet - A SizzlerXiaomi’s Mi Pad Tablets

Oh no, we’re not talking of those pads! ;)

We’re drooling over Xiaomi’s sizzling Mi Pad tablets.

While IDC and Gartner market researchers and analysts are endless moaning over slowing tablet sales, Chinese smartphone and tablet vendor Xiaomi just announced it sold 50,000 Mi Pad tablets in 3m:59s.

Yes, that is 50,000 tablets in less than F O U R minutes.

Good Specs – Great Price

With a 7.9-inch, 2048×1536 display, 8MP rear camera, 5MP front camera, 2GB RAM and Nvidia Tegra K1 quad core Cortex A15 2.2 GHz processor with a 192-core Kepler GPU, the Android 4.4 based Mi Pad is one sleek kitten.

Mi Pad includes a microSD card slot, microUSB port and is light on your hand at 360 grams.

Xiaomi’s MIUI custom interface sits on top of Android KitKat in the Mi Pads.

What’s made Mi Pad immensely popular in China is its price. It costs a mere 1499 RMB ($241) for the base 16GB model. Add $35 for the 64GB version.

Xiaimi has been selling Mi Pad for some time now but it’s just started to broaden sales to other regions.

Last month, Xiaomi entered the Indian market with its Mi 3 smartphones.

Jun 232014

Desperate Microsoft Offers $650 to Sell Surface Pro 3

Barely have Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 tablets started shipping, when the company has already launched a MacBook Air trade-in program.

Customers who trade in select models of MacBook Air can get up to $650 in store credit that they can apply toward the purchase of a Surface Pro 3 at the Microsoft retail store.

If the MacBook Air trade-in program is not a sign of Microsoft’s desperation, I don’t know what else it can be!

To be eligible for the trade-in, the MacBook Air must power on, not be water-damaged or have a cracked screen.

The trade-in program is valid until July 31, 2014.

Microsoft has been pitching Surface Pro 3 as a laptop replacement and gone after Apple’s popular MacBook Air notebooks in advertisement and at the launch function in New York City last month.

Surface Pro 3 Tablets - PriceySurface Pro 3 Tablet

Surface Pro 3 – Pricey Affair

Surface Pro 3 tablets cost from $799 (64GB) to $1,949 (512GB) depending on size of storage and processor.

Accessories such as the Surface Pro Type Cover keyboard ($130) and software like the Office Suite are extra.

A 512GB version of Surface Pro 3 with keyboard, case, docking station, mouse and Office software costs over $2,500. Such a high price tag is sure to meet with strong resistance from buyers. Continue reading »

May 152014

Xiaomi Mi Pad TabletXiaomi’s First Tablet – Mi Pad

If ever I buy an Android tablet, it’ll surely be the 64GB version of Xiaomi’s new Mi Pad.

As expected, Xiaomi, the Apple of China, today launched its first tablet, the 7.9-inch Mi Pad.

And the hordes of Xiaomi fans are delirious.

If the big kahunas of the tablet world like Apple, Samsung, Asus, Lenovo, Amazon and Microsoft are not cowering with fear today, they ought to be.

Featuring a 2048×1536 display, 5MP front camera, 8MP rear camera and a 6700 mAh battery, Mi Pad’s debut at an attractive price comes at a time when tablet sales are slowing down.

Mi Pad is WiFi only and comes in two models – 16GB ($239) and 64GB ($272). You can add extra storage (up to 128GB) via the miniSD card slot.

Mi Pad vs iPad Mini

So how does Xiaomi’s Mini Pad tablet stack up against the leader of the tablet universe, the iPad (which comes in two sizes, the regular 9.7-inch model and a 7.9-inch mini version)?

Let’s compare the Mi Pad with the iPad Mini Retina Display.

Mi Pad Vs iPad Mini

The Mi Pad is a lot cheaper, particularly for the higher storage models, compared to the pricey iPad Mini with Retina Display.

Second, the Xiaomi device is WiFi only unlike iPad Mini, which comes in both WiFi and WiFi + Cellular models. But since the bulk of tablets sold are WiFi models, absence of cellular option is not a big negative for the Mi Pad.

Mi Pad is set to start shipping in June in China.

No word yet on whether Xiaomi intends to bring Mi Pad to the U.S.

Since Xiaomi has already announced plans to introduce its smartphones in the Indian market, I won’t be surprised if the Mi Pad too makes it to Mera Bharat Mahaan.