HP finally revealed a launch date and pricing for its TouchPad tablet on Thursday and we have to say, we’re pretty excited. It’s no mystery that we’re fans of webOS, and we were definitely impressed with the device during our hands-on in San Francisco. JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz argues that consumers in general aren’t quite as excited as we are, however, and he doesn’t see HP’s maiden tablet voyage attracting buyers away from Apple’s iPad 2. “While we expect HP’s webOS platform to be a differentiating factor compared to the many Android tablets expected to reach the market, we do not think the price points on the TouchPad are aggressive enough to attract the incremental buyer from the iPad,” Moskowitz wrote in a note to investors. ”Plus, the lack of wireless connectivity and limited storage options are a setback. We will look to additional data points as the TouchPad hits the market in coming weeks, but for now, we are lukewarm.”
Companies that have introduced consumer tablets to compete with the iPad are dialing back production as demand for their tablets is failing to meet expectations. A new report issued Wednesday by J.P. Morgan Chase paints a sad picture for companies like Samsung, Motorola, RIM and ASUS as they look to make headway in the emerging consumer tablet market. These manufacturers have slowed production of their respective tablet offerings by as much as 10%, J.P. Morgan claims, due to limited consumer demand. Among those tablets that have failed to gain traction, the report lists the Motorola XOOM, which we know to have shipped at least 250,000 units in the first quarter alone; the BlackBerry PlayBook, which indeed isn’t selling well for some retailers but is thought to have sold 250,000 units in its first two months of availability; the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, which the report says was initially selling well but is now overstocked in some cases; and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which is far and away the second-best selling consumer tablet in the world. “Non-Apple tablet hopefuls have adjusted to the weak showing so far,” the report said. “We still think a tablet bubble burst could occur later this year.” More →
Global supplies of Apple’s MacBook Air laptops are dwindling as the consumer electronics giant prepares to refresh the line, 9to5 Mac reports. The Apple enthusiast blog cites multiple sources in stating that shipments of the Air are currently constrained, and the site also points out that remaining MacBook Air inventory is now on sale at several retailers. Apple’s online store is currently offering refurbished models at an all-time low price of $829, and Best buy has brand new models on sale starting at $938.99 for the 11-inch version. Earlier rumors suggest Apple plans to issue an incremental update to its MacBook Air line later this summer, likely featuring Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors and Thunderbolt I/O ports. More →
Last week T-Mobile said that the high demand for the G2x had resulted in “inventory constraints,”and that it was working with LG to get the device back on shelves as quickly as possible. As a result of those constraints, however, the carrier has increased the price of the G2x to $249.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate —a $50 boost from its debut price of $199. Hopefully T-Mobile drops the cost back down after LG increases its production volume, but the carrier has given no indication that will be the case. More →
Asustek Computer is promising to increase monthly production runs of its versatile Eee Pad Transformer tablet. Citing strong demand in the U.S., UK, Taiwan and China, the company will extend production totals from 8,000 units per month to 10,000 units per month. The company also has the lofty goal of manufacturing 300,000 Transformer tablets in the second quarter; with aspirations of shipping 2 million tablets in 2011. The Transformer, which connects to a dockable keyboard, retails for $399 and comes with 16GB of on-board storage. More →
DigiTimes is reporting that sources at upstream component makers have said Apple’s popular iPhone 4 and iPad 2 products could be facing a shortage of materials as well as labor at Foxconn plants in China for the second quarter.
Commenting on the rumor, Foxconn only emphasized that the company’s capacity is being arranged fully at the request of its clients and the company will do all it can to satisfy its clients’ needs; however, the company declined to comment whether the labor shortages will cause delays in shipments. Foxconn emphasized that it has experience arranging manpower to assist its clients in reaching their goals.
Apple has been pushing its component suppliers and manufacturers to increase production to between 2.5 and 3 million iPad 2 units per month, though it’s being reported that in addition to Foxconn labor issues, supplies shortages from Japan are still seriously impacting Apple. It looks like Apple really was right when it said it was manufacturing iPad 2s as fast as it could. More →
Strong demand for Apple’s iPad 2 tablet has reportedly lead the Cupertino-based company to add a third touch panel manufacturer to its supply chain. Bloomberg has confirmed the deal with two anonymous sources who claim that Foxconn affiliate Chimei Innolux will begin supplying touchscreen displays for Apple’s iPad 2 beginning next month. The Taiwan-based manufacturer will join Apple’s current iPad 2 touch panel suppliers, Wintek and TPK Holding, which apparently have not been able to combine to meet the unrelenting demand for Apple’s latest tablet. Apple declined to comment on the deal, as did Wintek, TPK Holding and Chimei Innolux. More →
Some Apple Store locations may or may not be releasing a second wave of iPad 2 shipments to the public today, but potential buyers who would prefer not to deal with the chaos are in for some bad news this morning. Shipping times have varied a great deal in the short time since the iPad 2 was launched last week. Most recently, Apple listed shipping quotes of between two and three weeks. With rumors of new shipments floating around, many had hoped these shipping delays would be reduced as new inventory reached U.S. shores, but unfortunately that’s not yet the case. Apple’s online store now shows increased shipping delays of between four and five weeks, meaning orders placed today might not arrive for over a month. Apple’s shipping quotes typically err on the side of caution, however, so those who order the tablet today can expect to be pleasantly surprised when their iPad 2 ships early. More →
According to an unconfirmed report, numerous Apple Stores will be opening their doors one hour early on Tuesday as new iPad 2 shipments arrive across the country. Several shoppers seeking the new tablet today have reportedly been told by Apple retail staff that new shipments are incoming, but the iPads will not be available for sale until tomorrow. The report claims to have confirmed early openings with several Apple Store locations, though BGR placed calls to four Apple Stores and none would confirm early hours tomorrow. A retail employee at one Apple Store did say that a new iPad 2 shipment was expected today or tomorrow. Apple’s iPad 2 launch was met with tremendous demand, with some analysts estimating that Apple sold nearly 1 million units this past weekend. Apple has not issued any sales figures yet, saying only that “demand for the next generation iPad 2 has been amazing.”
UPDATE: BGR readers George F., Efraim and others have emailed us to confirm that their local Apple Stores will indeed be opening an hour early tomorrow. Interestingly, three different stores we’ve been told about said they would open early but would not be receiving a new iPad 2 shipment until later this week or early next week. The plot is thickening, but we would definitely recommend calling your local Apple store before calling in sick tomorrow. More →
According to a report on Wednesday from industry watcher DigiTimes, Acer is seeing higher than expected interest in its upcoming line of tablets. Demand is so high, the report claims, that it exceeds the initial supply Acer has ordered from its manufacturing partners. The strong demand comes from various cellular carriers around the world that are seemingly eager to bundle Acer’s upcoming devices with data plans. According to the report, Acer plans to launch four devices between now and April: The 10-inch Windows 7-powered Iconia W500, which will launch mid-March; the 10-inch Tegra 2-equipped Iconia A500, which will run Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) when it launches in late March; the 7-inch Android-powered Iconia A100, which will launch in April; and the supersized 4.8-inch Gingerbread smartphone dubbed Iconia Smart, which will also launch in April. Acer noted that initial limited inventory is due to a short supply of key components, such as touchscreen displays. More →
An unconfirmed report from industry watcher DigiTimes suggests Apple may have been forced to reduce its first-quarter iPad production by as much as 50%. The report cites upstream component makers in claiming Apple’s first-quarter iPad 2 production volume has been revised down from between 400,000 and 600,000 units to between 300,000 and 400,000 units. The new lower production targets are allegedly the result of display panel shortages and last-minute specification changes Apple made ahead of production. Earlier rumors suggested Apple’s spec changes might delay the launch of Apple’s iPad 2, but DigiTimes claims the tablet is still on track for a second-quarter release. Apple is expected to unveil its next-generation iPad tablet at a media event next week. More →
If you find yourself frequently purchasing from online retailer Amazon, you probably have been pitched to sign-up for the company’s Prime service before. For a $79 annual fee, Amazon will provide members with unlimited, 2-day shipping on all eligible items purchased along with heavily discounted shipping upgrades (you can get next day shipping with Saturday delivery for just $3.99). Now, to sweeten the pot a bit, the company will also offer Prime members “unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of 5,000 movies and TV shows” from Amazon’s Video On Demand library.
Via a separate press release, Roku has also announced that its Amazon Instant Video channel will be automatically updated to include the new, free feature for Prime account holders.
Not a bad little incentive to get more people on-board with Prime. More →
In case you haven’t been paying attention, Microsoft’s Kinect is the premier gift for gamers this holiday season. Microsoft sold over 2.5 million Kinect units in less than a month, and reception has been phenomenal around the world; to the point where several markets are seeing demand that outweighs supply. Preliminary reports suggested that Microsoft might be manufacturing shortages to build hype — an accusation that follows short supply of any popular tech toy — but Microsoft execs in the U.K. were willing to set the record straight. Neil Thompson, Microsoft’s general manager for Xbox U.K. and Ireland, confirmed to GamesIndustry.biz that the shortages are “absolutely not” a ploy.
“The choices you always have are: do we launch in November or do we wait until February, March when we could hit some bigger launch numbers but then we miss Christmas. It takes time to scale,” Thompson told GamesIndustry.biz. “It’s absolutely not a strategy, we want to get the product into consumers hands as quickly as we can because we think it’s exciting, it’s innovative. We wanted to do that for Christmas and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve built a really strong supply and resupply chain over the coming weeks.”
Despite shortages, Microsoft expects to sell 5 million Kinect sensors in 2010. More →