The Threat Of Tablet PCs To I-Café Business

In my blog about smartphones taking away i-café customers I made initial mention about a different scenario for tablet PCs especially if their costs become affordable. A tablet PC is a portable personal computer equipped with a touchscreen as a primary input device and designed to be operated and owned by an individual. Unlike laptops, tablet personal computers may not be equipped with a keyboard, in which case they use a virtual onscreen substitute. All tablet personal computers have a wireless adapter for Internet and local network connection.

iPad, designed and developed by Apple, is the first tablet PC to be widely accepted by the consumers. It is particularly marketed as a platform for audio and visual media such as books, periodicals, movies, music, and games, as well as web content. At about 1.5 pounds (680 grams), its size and weight are between those of most contemporary smartphones and laptop computers. Apple released the iPad in April 2010, and sold 3 million of the devices in just eighty (80) days. Samsung of Korea  recently introduced its Galaxy Tab and many more tablet PCs especially the affordable ones from China are coming out in the market.

And what does the table PC mean to the i-café business in the country? Will its effect be just the same as the smartphones whose prices are also becoming affordable to many nowadays? Sad to say, the tablet PC with screens big enough for browsing and typing are enough threat to take away the e-mailers and social networkers among the i-café customers. That leaves the gamers and the  school and office researchers to remain among the loyal customers of i-cafés.

Of course, there are those looking at the coming of tablet PCs and smartphones as opportunity for i-cafés to provide wi-fi access to their users. It could be so but at how much? Direct 3G Internet access to mobile service provider is currently pegged at PhP10.00 per half-hour and promo rate can go as low as PhP50.00 for one-day unlimited access. I remember a comment by a regular reader of this blog who said that the internet service providers (ISPs) are the number one competitors of i-cafés with regards to providing affordable access to world wide web.

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