"Cool, sexy" tablet market not for Latin America - analyst

- Thursday, March 24, 2011

Samsung has released the thinnest tablets on the market to date with the two newest products in its Galaxy tablets line, but the devices and others like it may just be too sophisticated for the Latin American market, Gartner's principal analyst on mobile devices Tuong Nguyen told BNamericas.

"It's a cool, sexy market, but not for Latin America," he said. "The market segment is wrong for it. You've got a market that's 85% prepaid, and everyone has low to, at best, mid-tier devices."

During a press conference at CTIA Wireless 2011 in Orlando, Florida, Samsung revealed the Galaxy Tabs 10.1 and 8.9, which measure in at 8.6-millimeters thick and operate on the Android 3.0 platform. The tablets support HSPA+ network speeds up to 21Mbps, with Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities.

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These new tablets are one of the many to have hit the market lately, with Sprint announcing at CTIA the new 4G-capable tablet from HTC, as well as the recent release of Apple's iPad 2. However, industry experts are not sold on the booming tablet market's resonance in Latin America.

Nguyen said that according to his forecast, the tablet market in Latin America will be relatively small, due to the high cost of the devices in the region. He noted that tablets are more of a complimentary device, for those who already have a laptop or smartphone.

FLIP SIDE

Meanwhile, the regional director for 4G Americas, Erasmo Rojas, told BNamericas that he already sees a regional interest in tablets and a quick level of adoption, especially among post-paid users.

"There are always people in Latin America that like gadgets," he said, but cautioned that operators need to have the networks ready before they can capitalize on data plans for the devices.

"Tablets and smartphones are hungrier for data consumption," said Rojas "What the operators are doing now is trying to get an idea about where the consumption is going to be, where the tablet users are going to be."

The local tablet market will not be as much about consumers, but more about enterprise users, he added.

According to Rojas, regional operators face the dilemma of having to satisfy the mass market, which is prepaid, without forgetting about the post-paid users, who represent 20% of the market but about 80% of revenues.