Has anyone yet coined a phrase describing the phenomenon of technology companies reflexively adjusting and configuring their product pipelines and sales strategies in response to moves made by Apple? No? We’ll that’s surprising given that that’s what a number of companies have seemingly been doing over the past few years, and the upcoming Apple iPad appears to be just the latest example.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Hewlett-Packard is looking to adjust both the pricing and features on its upcoming Slate tablet to better compete (on price) with the iPad, whose pricing shocked everyone save, of course, Alex Albrecht. Citing sources familiar with HP’s plans, the company is looking to release a tablet device with built-in 3G connectivity for less than $629, which is the base price for the iPad 3G model.
But HP isn’t alone, as a number of other companies, from Dell to Acer and Sony, are keenly monitoring the impact of the iPad as well.
“For us, the iPad launch is a benchmark,” said Mike Abary, a vice president in Sony’s Vaio PC division. Mr. Abary said he met with Sony executives in San Diego and had a conference call with company officials in Japan following last month’s iPad launch to discuss the touch-screen PC market. He said Sony, which sells touch-screen e-book readers that have limited Internet access, is considering what new devices to develop…
Sumit Agnihotry, a vice president of marketing at Acer, said the company—the world’s second-largest PC maker—is developing products midway in size between a smart phone and a laptop, including an e-reader that will come out later this year. He calls it a “tweener category that we’re all trying to figure out,” adding that Acer plans to introduce possibly more iPad-like devices
The WSJ notes that Microsoft is also working hard on a two-screen tablet of their own, which all but corroborates a slew of stories about Microsoft’s Courier device that made the rounds a few months ago. Leaked photos of the device from last September showed two 7 inch screens joined together to form what appears to be a digital booklet. Rumors at the time hinted that each screen not only supported multi-touch but pen input as well. A concept video depicting how such a device would function was shortly taken down from the interwebs, presumably at the behest of Microsoft’s overlords. At the time, Microsoft’s Courier project was said to be in the “late prototype stage of development”, and indeed, the recent report in the WSJ is the first we’ve heard of the project in months.