The Macalope Daily: Supply-side economics

It’s getting so you can’t shake an iPad without hitting some news about how badly the iPad is beating the tar out of Android-based tablets. Which is weird, because shake is for “undo.”

Maybe you won’t believe these pieces from John Gruber since he’s “a member of the cult.” He “drank the Kool-Aid.” He “worships at the Church of Jobs.” He “sacrificed a goat to Steve” or whatever it is they’re saying about us this week. But when even the neckbeards over at Network World start reporting it, you know it’s gotta be true.

Android tablet manufacturers keep trumpeting their numbers shipped, but it’s only Apple who’s actually selling every single unit it can make. Or anything close to that.

Some don’t seem to have gotten the full memo, however. Over at the Macalope’s former stomping grounds, CNet’s Brooke Crothers wonders if you push enough crap into the channel, will consumers wil have any choice but to buy it?

Which raises the question, will bigger sell-in translate to large Android sell-out numbers? Android, after all, does have maker momentum (if not market momentum).

Ah, yes, the maker momentum! It’s the E.T. the Extraterrestrial video game marketing theory, applied to tablets. Surely people will buy a piece of crap if only you make enough units.

One wonders why no one’s bought any of these particular pieces of crap to date, though. Just how many units do they have to make before this “maker momentum” kicks in, anyway?

“Boss, they’re just not buying our tablet!”

“Well, make about a billion more of ‘em! That oughtta do it!”

Name all of the top device makers in the world and pretty much every one of them is selling Android tablets or will sell them soon. …

That market clout is already manifested in the U.S. via a phalanx of kiosks and displays at Best Buy and Staples proclaiming that Android tablets have arrived.

Yes, nothing says “clout” like a dusty, ignored kiosk of shame at Best Buy.

And the Android camp’s decibel level is rising every month—and it will only get louder. Will that noise be enough eventually to distract more consumers and make them tune in to Android? Just visit a major U.S. electronics retailer now and you may get your answer.

Crothers coyly doesn’t come out and say what he thinks that answer will be. But the Macalope will just note that he doesn’t remember hearing anything in business school about how “turning it up to 11” will give people no choice but to buy your lousy product.

Look, this has nothing to do with flooding the market. There’s only one way to get people to buy these things: fire sale. The Macalope doesn’t advise taking studies by Retrevo very seriously, but its conclusion that only lower prices will make Android tablets more interesting is kind of a no-brainer.

Every time Retrevo asks consumers what would get them to buy a tablet, low price comes out on top of the list. In the most recent study, almost half (48%) of respondents said that $300 was the price point that would get them to consider an Android tablet over an iPad.

Remember that consumers haven’t really used Android tablets, so you can forgive them for over-estimating their worth at three-fifths of an iPad.

This would probably be a good time to point out how all the people who said Android phones were so popular because of Open! were wrong and how those of us who said it was because of price and carrier selection were right. But, really, any time is a good time to do that.

Sometimes the Macalope does it in line at the grocery store.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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