ViewSonic confirmed Wednesday that it is pulling out of the mainstream tablet market, focusing instead on producing tablets that are exclusively aimed at emerging markets and verticals.
The Walnut, Calif.-based vendor has rolled out a number of Android-based tablets over the past two years, including its 10-inch gTablet and its 7-inch ViewPad 7. But the continued dominance of Apple's iPad, coupled with the growing number of Android tablets competing for consumers' attention, has led to a mainstream tablet market that is "saturated" in supply, ViewSonic said.
"Today, the tablet form factor remains an important part of our connected vision and strategy for the future, building upon our 25 years of display expertise and innovation," said ViewSonic President Jeff Volpe, in an emailed statement to CRN. "With that said, ViewSonic has made the strategic decision to focus our future tablet initiatives in emerging markets and niche verticals, where we can best leverage our core competencies to fulfill technology needs in regions and markets presently underserved by the widely saturated supply of mainstream consumer tablets."
ViewSonic first hinted at this shift from the consumer to the vertical tablet market in April, when it spoke with CRN about the growth opportunities its partners were seeing with tablets in the retail and quick-service restaurant (QSR) markets.
According to ViewSonic, there is a growing need among these verticals for tablets that can serve as "single-purpose" devices, meaning tablets that can perform niche tasks such as point-of-sale transactions or hosting digital menus. And because mainstream tablets can't deliver these capabilities, tablets tailored toward specific verticals, such as those ViewSonic plans on producing, stand to gain.
"As such, we will continue to explore business-to-business opportunities in which we can leverage our technology leadership and longstanding partnerships to provide vertical market customers with valuable solutions not found in the existing mass market tablets targeted to consumers," Volpe said in the email.
Vendors ranging from Research In Motion to Dell have tried and failed to go head-to-head in the consumer tablet space against market leader Apple, which has nabbed a whopping 70 percent of the global tablet market, riding the success of its iPad.
ViewSonic's decision to withdraw from the mainstream tablet market comes on the heels of a similar decision made by Hewlett-Packard, which told CRN last week that its upcoming Windows 8-based tablet will be exclusively targeted at the enterprise, rather than the consumer market.
Other tablet OEMs, such as Lenovo, which recently unveiled its ThinkPad Tablet 2, also are banking on Windows 8 to help them capture a share of the enterprise tablet market.
PUBLISHED SEPT. 19, 2012