The Macalope Daily: A league of their own

Lenovo’s CEO says Apple can’t dominate the tablet market forever (tip o’ the antlers to Michael Gartenberg). Why? Because it’s not fair! STOMP STOMP STOMP

If we are being fair to Yang Yuanquing, though, what’s the guy supposed to say when Apple just “overtook Lenovo in revenue in greater China for the first time in about a decade”?

Well, this, apparently:

“That is not an ‘apples to apples’ calculation,” he said. “Their calculation includes the phone business but Lenovo’s main focus is in PCs; our phone business isn’t that strong even in China.”

Dear Media: Please only count the markets in which we don’t suck. Thanks in advance, Lenovo.

But Yang intends to change that and soon—with a portfolio of Android and Windows tablets that he hopes will end Apple’s domination of the tablet market. “We will be one of the strongest of the players in this area,” Yang told the Financial Times.

But how, when even once promising tablet challengers like Hewlett-Packard’s webOS-based TouchPad have failed so miserably? By targeting every single strata of the tablet market.

Remember that scene in the most recent Star Trek movie where, in desperation, the Romulan commander yells “FIRE EVERYTHING!”? Now you know where Yang’s coming from.

“Apple only covers the top tier,” Yang explained. “With a $500 price you cannot go to the small cities, townships, low salary class, low income class.”

Well, that may be true. At a price of $99, the discontinued TouchPad sold like crappy but cheap hotcakes, but mostly to technophiles who were willing to take a gamble. The Macalope doesn’t get it, personally, because as Ed Bott notes:

If I wanted a cheap tablet, I could get a first-gen iPad from Apple’s outlet ($349) or buy a used one. Cheap enough, no tinkering required.

Actually, it’s even cheaper now. Refurbished 16GB first-generation iPads are going for $299.

Even Rob Enderle thinks $99 on a TouchPad is still a waste of money. Rob and the Macalope agreeing on something? Which sign of the Apocalypse is that? The Macalope forgets.

Still, though, $99. It’s less of a fire sale and more of a napalm sale. That’s not a sustainable business model unless Yang thinks he can get production costs low enough to make it work and, to date, Android OEMs haven’t been able to do that. Unless the business model is “going out of business.” Even at $200, your margins would be razor-thin. You might as well go back to the netbook days.

(LOL. Remember netbooks?)

Android phones are fine for many people who just need a phone to make calls. Anything they do above that is just gravy to those folks. Android tablets, though, need to do all that other stuff better before they’ll be attractive.

[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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