Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Good news, bad news on tablet sales: Apple's iPad 2 beating estimates, while rumors of slow sales for Motorola

With the first quarter now history companies will begin revealing their Q1 financial performance soon, but rumors are already circulating that the newly launched iPad is blowing out its numbers. Meanwhile, the WSJ is reporting that Deutsche Bank estimates that Motorola Mobility has sold only 100,000 Xoom tablets so far.
One bad report from an analyst usually doesn't mean much, but John Paczkowski quotes several analysts who are either lowering their sales estimates for the quarter or simply saying that things aren't going so well for Motorola's entry into the tablet market.

Over at Apple, the iPad 2 appears to be doing a bit better. DigiTimes Systems quotes suppliers who say that Apple took delivery of 2.4 to 2.6 million units in March -- delivery does not equal sales, of course -- but estimates are that Apple sold 300,000 iPad 2 units on its first day of sales.

Media executives should be cautious, however, by drawing too many conclusions from some analyst sales figures. Among tech writers the game is all about winners and losers, who is up and who is down. If the 100,00 figure for sales for Motorola is correct this would be disappointing for those who keep pronouncing Apple "dead in the water". But if true, it also means that Motorola has a shot at being the first manufacturer of a Honeycomb-driven tablet to sell one million tablets in a year. Before April of last year, such a sales figure would have seemed incredibly good.

On the other hand, Apple's continued success with the iPad is good news for those media executives and publishing service provicers who have been developing for the tablet. These new media apps will be available to a quickly expanding market, and many publishers will have gained a year's worth of development knowledge in the process; knowledge that will come in handy when Android tablets acquire a larger toe-hold on the market.

The only ones who will truly be mad about all this has to be those who continue to argue that newspaper and magazine publishers are making a mistake by developing for the iPad, arguing that web-based development is the way to go. They are beginning to look like dinosaurs.