A plethora of media tablets which do not bear household brand names like Apple or Samsung, are flooding the world market, with at least 60 distinct models from nearly 50 different manufacturers being readily available in at least one country.
This is the finding of ABI Research, which has been documenting several product types, including media tablets, which are currently building their market presence under the radar.
Analyst Celia Bo, says the devices are aimed at domestic consumers mainly in China. She said: “China is definitely a market leader, but it is a ‘white box’ market in which brand is relatively unimportant, prices are relatively affordable (though still higher than those of netbooks).”
The products are also not technologically advanced, according to ABI Research practice director, Kevin Burden.
Principal analyst Jeff Orr, said however, that the trend is a good indicator of the adoption rates that can be expected for the devices. Most of the unbranded tablets feature 7 inch displays and run on the Android operating system. The majority of media tablets released commercially in 2010 use application processors from Freescale Semiconductor.
Orr said: “While these are not yet global brands, the very presence of such a thriving white box market in Asia is a good indicator of a growing market that is expected to see robust adoption rates in years to come.”
Most tablets are Wi-Fi enabled, giving them web browser access to much of the content the Internet offers. In addition, because many of these tablets run the Android OS, they also have access to the Android Market for OS-specific applications, as well as to vendor-proprietary or regional online stores that are offering content in local languages. Mobile operators are also adding their own storefronts.
Burden concluded, “Most of these products started shipping in the last 75 days. They are still building their market presence. The products released so far do not show any great degree of technological innovation, but we expect to see a new set of vendors in the first quarter of 2011, offering devices with more ambitious capabilities.”