Media Future: Here comes the tablet killer

by Arthur Goldstuck (@art2gee) A new entrant in the ultra-low-cost tablet market is also a global brand name at the high end. That could make all the difference.

While the world watches the battle for the high-end tablet market being waged between Apple and Samsung, a surprise attack is being mounted on the low end of the market.

Acer is best known for quality notebook computers, but late last year announced a series of tablets and Ultrabooks that positioned it alongside the equivalent high-end devices from Apple and Samsung. However, its pricing was so out of kilter with the competition at that level, it in effect wiped out the rest of its differentiating factors.

It seems that Acer won’t make the same mistake again. This week, it announced the imminent arrival of a tablet targeting the entry-level. That’s the arena dominated by no-name generic 7” tablets running the free Android operating system, imported from the East and given local branding. Prices range from R1000 to R3000 but, at the low end of that range, devices are barely functional for high-speed or interactive use.

Most quality name-brand tablets competing at this level, such as the Huawei Ideos, came in at around R3500. Its successor, the Mediapad, ran to R4300. However Apple shook up that market segment with the 7.9” iPad mini, starting here at R3400 – cheaper than buying the device in Europe.

That left Asus as the last international brand standing at the entry level, with the 7” MeMO Pad. It carries a reported R2000 price tag on a tablet running the Android Jelly bean operating system, weighing 358g, sporting a single-core 1GHz processor, 1GB of memory, 8GB or 16GB storage, and the option to expand storage via a microSD slot. A microUSB port also offers easy escape for files.

Kate Wilson of Women’s Health: “I’m not building a magazine brand”

by Herman Manson (@marklives) While her rivals are seeing circulation declines Kate Wilson, editor of Women’s Health SA, just saw the title’s total paid circulation rise 8.4% year-on-year to reach 78 791. Women’s Health has now overtaken both Cosmopolitan and Glamour’s total paid circulation figures.

But Wilson isn’t building a magazine brand, she says, instead she is building a multi-platform content brand. In fact the Women’s Health SA launched a website in the country before the physical magazine arrived and has built various digital content modules into the Women’s Health brand strategy. Extensions like DVD and booklet cover mounts often draw from other aspects of the business (so a booklet might contain extracts from a book you get to order from the publisher). Next year will see events drawn into the mix.

Of course the brand could also draw on the visibility of sibling Men’s Health which Wilson says helps double the facings of for her magazine.

But ultimately it is the service journalism in the health and wellness field particularly that has near universal appeal. Wilson says she won’t apologise for the ‘layer of superficiality’ in women (or anybody else) wanting to look their best. For Wilson looking your best translates into feeling your best and health, nutrition and weight-loss are all issues we have some control over in a time of great economic uncertainty.

Women’s Health also encourages its resident experts and columnists to maintain media visibility and this network keeps reinforcing the Women’s Health brand where-ever they go.

Why iMaverick is changing frequency

iMaverick, the ambitious daily tablet newspaper from the publishers of the popular website The Daily Maverick, is scaling back its frequency from daily to weekly. The news was announced to subscribers in an email earlier today.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire pricing the big differentiator as tablet market hots up

Amazon last week stunned the market with its announcement that the 7” Kindle Fire tablet will sell for $199.99 – well under half the price of the cheapest iPad. And it will release a $79 Kindle e-reader.

Asus expected to shake up tablet market with eee Pad Transformer

The WiFI version of the Asus eee Pad Transformer sneaked into South African stores in July with little fanfare. But the high-end 3G unit arrives this month, and Asus expects it to shake up the market. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK assesses its chances.

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