Argos is entering the highly competitive tablet market with the low-cost Android MyTablet. With a price tag of £99.99, the retailer has undercut its rivals, but has taken a slightly different business model from firms such as Google, Amazon and Tesco.
Rival tablet firms have chosen to adopt strategies that see their tablets sold at low cost, with money made back through purchases in bespoke stores installed on the devices themselves. Tesco's recent £119 Hudl, for example, featured significantly better specifications but sought to make up its cost with a dedicated Tesco button. This lets users jump quickly into Tesco apps in order to pay for digital content including streamed movies and TV via Blinkbox and Clubcard TV, as well as food shopping on the supermarket's tablet app.
Amazon's marketplace features prominently on its Kindle Fire tablets, which start from £99 and allow users to only access the e-commerce giant's own content store, which includes apps, games, movies, music and ebooks. Google takes a similar strategy, using its higher-end £199 Nexus tablet as a gateway to its Play Store offerings.
Argos does not currently have its own digital content store, and the 7in MyTablet will ship with Google's Play store as its primary source of paid-for and free content. It will, however, come pre-installed with the Argos Android tablet shopping app, so consumers can buy physical goods for delivery or in-store pick up. Argos's mobile sales have grown by 114 percent in the past year, with 15 percent of its takings now coming from shoppers using mobile devices.
Tablets are expected to outsell traditional desktop PCs this year as manufacturers begin to produce devices tailored towards both the business and the consumer market, igniting both bring-your-own-device (BYOD) culture and digital media consumption.
The firm says the device is geared towards 8- to 13-year olds and will come pre-installed with apps such as Angry Birds, Facebook and Twitter.
The tablet, manufactured in China in partnership with Argos's Bush brand, features entry-level parts, including a 1024x600 pixel screen, a dual-core processor and 8GB of internal storage, as well as silver and pink colour options. It will be available from Wednesday 16 October.
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