7 Inch Tablets Employ An Odd Definition of “Success”

on October 21, 2012

TROY WOLVERTON at the San Jose Mercury News, talks 7 inch tablets:

Just two years ago, Apple’s late co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs mocked small-screened tablets as “tweeners” that were too little to compete with the larger iPad but too big to compete with smartphones.

But after the success that Amazon and Google have had with small-screen tablets…

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Stop right there.

Success? What success?

Success is defined as: “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.”

— Research in Motion, Samsung and other manufacturers introduced tablets with seven inch screens that flopped.

— It’s been estimated that Amazon sold 4.7 million seven inch tablets over a 9 month span.

— It’s been estimated that Google sold 3 million Nexus 7, seven inch tablets over the last quarter.

That’s not a “success”. That’s anything but a “success”.

Notice that the numbers for Amazon and Google are estimates. Their respective companies have not released sales figures. There’s a reason for that.

Also note that the Amazon and Google products are subsidized, which means that they are being sold at cost. What product wouldn’t sell well if it was sold at cost? Apparently, 7 inch tablets.

By way of comparison, Apple sells more that 5 million 9.7 inch tablets every month – at full price – and Apple is conservatively expected to sell 25 million iPads this upcoming holiday quarter. Again, at full price.

I have no doubt that the 7 inch tablet category is viable and I’m guessing that – starting on October 23rd – Apple is going to prove that in a big way. However, we need to stop talking about “the success that Amazon and Google have had with small-screen tablets” or we need to get a new definition for the word “success”. I’m leaning towards the former.