Monday, November 8, 2010

iPad and the Chinese Connection

Those Chinese are over there getting better at stuff all the time. Last week they unveiled the fastest computer in the world and this week word is out that they're about to drop a host of affordable new tablet computers that could give the iPad some competition.

Now China gets a bad rap for a lot of things these days, some of it deserved some of it not so much. Speaking at a conference this week in Hong Kong, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg told Americans to "stop blaming the Chinese and blaming everybody else" for all of its problems. I think the mayor may be on to something.

People tend to have knee-jerk reactions to anything made in China and usually those reactions are not positive. But if we really want to put our money where our mouths are on the whole free-trade thing, low-priced tablet computers that do the job could inspire Apple to innovate and provide more affordable iPad options while encouraging the availability of quality, affordably priced tablet computers in general.

The iPad commands an impressive 95% of the tablet computer market. That makes its dominance more pervasive than even that of the Toyota Prius, which commands a mere 50% of the hybrid car market. Apple Computer's Steve Jobs has proclaimed that the first generation of competitors for the iPad will be "dead on arrival." And you know what? He's probably right, with the possible exception of the Samsung Galaxy.

Adding a Chinese connection might be just what we need to liven up the tablet market. In our present financial situation lower prices are more likely to encourage consumer spending and that's going to help bolster the economy as a whole.

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