Will Android iPed challenge Apple's iPad?

Will Android iPed Challenge Apple's iPad?

In martial arts fashion, iPed exploits iPad defense to attack.

The iPed has just been released. I first thought it was a typo, but it’s not: the iPed is a Chinese copycat of the iPad, going as far as picking one of the few vowels left by Apple to comically copy the name of its Californian rival. It would be easy to dismiss it as a cheap imitation (and at $150 v $500, cheaper it is indeed) that will only appeal to second-class customers. But the iPed brings something radically different: it is open source.

The iPed uses an Android platform. While in the short term it does not have as many apps as the iPad, the use of an open source platform will unleash a massive wave of developers who find it cumbersome to enter the closed and tightly controlled Apple space. I see this as a replica of the steam engine story in Cornwall, where 200 years ago two little known engineers blew away the steam engine design of the great James Watt by going open source.

Just like the martial artist can sense when the opponent is obsessed with applying a particular form of strength to the extent that it becomes a weakness, the iPed undermines the iPad on what Apple considers its ultimate stronghold: its apps library.

But this does not change the fact that the iPad has been a tremendous commercial success. In the light of the iPed launch, Apple’s iPad illustrates the point that time-to-market is more critical than IP (Intellectual Property). As I wrote a few months ago, “today’s imperative is to capture the mass market straight away. The days are gone when companies could be content with selling to price-insensitive customers first, then gradually decrease the price to capture a bigger and bigger share of the mass market. Why? Because in a “flat world”, competitors will copy the idea and capture whatever market territory has been left vacant. And it will happen fast. Even with a patented product, chances are that competitors will leverage their innovation capabilities to come up with a product that meets the same need without infringing on the patent.” Even if the iPed comes much cheaper, I distinctly recall that the iPad was launched at a price that was significantly lower than expected, and certainly contributed to beating all previous sales volume benchmarks.

The one critical success factor that remains firmly within Apple’s grasp is definitely not its proprietary platform; it is Apple’s ability to get first to market on a big scale. Steve Jobs is probably not worried about the iPed competition at all, for his sight is already set on whatever next Apple is going to come up with.

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Yann Cramer is an innovation learner, practitioner, sharer, teacher. He’s lived in France, Belgium and the UK, he’s travelled six continents to create development opportunities with customers or suppliers, and run workshops on R&D and Marketing. He writes on www.innovToday.com and on twitter @innovToday.

Yann Cramer




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No Comments

  1. Jordan Edwards on June 17, 2010 at 2:47 am

    iPad is way too cool to own, i wanna buy one next month.:”~

  2. Tal Givoly on June 17, 2010 at 12:03 pm


    I don’t think it will be a Chinese “look alike” running on Android that will kill the iPad dominance. I think that much like the iPhone, the iPad will give Apple a 1.5-2.5 year lead until the real competitive multi-touch tablets emerge. They will likely run Android or even Chrome by then. So they have that going for them – but it will take much longer than we anticipate.

    Also, manufacturing and effective distribution are going to be a challenge for any new entrant. The Apple distribution machine has been humming along quite nicely, and since they are not stopping to innovate any time soon, it’s going to be a challenge to catch up for anyone.


  3. Anomni on June 24, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Ipad will still have a dominant position, until asustek (with EEE pad) and other established companies get their products out.

    The Iped I got died after 2 days, and I think it goes without saying it’s not the only one that will suffer from quality issues.

    I have to give the producers credit for quick performance. However, the machine is fairly slow, applications crash and there are problems with certificates. Overall an expensive 2 days…

    I will wait for EEE Pad to arrive, though it is running windows. And that is a BIG minus – .

  4. Anna Allen on July 23, 2010 at 11:22 am

    my girlfriend is going to give me an ipad on my birthday this month.~~~

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