Tablets in general and the Amazon Kindle in particular will be the hottest technology seller during the 2011 festive season, followed by ‚ultrabooks‚ , and gaming equipment, writes Incredible Connection CEO, DAVE MILLER.
In the past several years, the changes on the technology and device front have been incremental.
The iPad changed the game by popularising the tablet format. And, in South Africa, Incredible Connection was granted the exclusive right to sell Amazon Kindle e-readers in a retail environment. Now, tablets are the fashion item of 2011 and the ideal gift for the festive season.
Another step-change in the device arena was the introduction of the Ultrabooks, the first of which was the Macbook Air. Ultrabooks are an ultrathin machine with the portability of a netbook and the advanced functionality of a notebook. Other notebook manufacturers are racing to in this space, by bringing models to market that are less than 20mm thick, have no optical drive, use a solid state drive (SSD) for all storage, use a core i5, i7 processor, weigh less than 1.4kg, yield up to eight hours of battery life, and are at the low end in terms of price.
Most of the new models are available globally, and Incredible Connection currently stocks the Macbook Air, the Asus Ultrabook and the Samsung 9 Series and Intel predicts that these will carve out a new space in the netbook and notebook market in time to come.
The trend towards convenience and portability will see both tablets and ultrabooks dominating consumer technology spend for the foreseeable future.
However, they will serve slightly different purposes. Tablets are seen to be personal devices because they’re superb for easy access to news, internet, books, movies, music, and social networking but not as functional to use when you are required to work on presentations, large spreadsheets or slide presentations, large volumes of email and other traditional uses of notebooks.
Ultrabooks will be used rather more for work, although they will give users access a high level of entertainment. In the end, the real difference is price and functionality. An entry level tablet costs around R2 000 whereas an entry level ultrabook currently will be in the order of R8,000 ‚ but this cost will come down as the technology adoption rate increases and cost of manufacturing decreases.
To meet a growing consumer need for simplification of the acquisition of technology, Incredible Connection will be offering a number of product and data bundles.
With a 16 Gig, 3G WiFi iPad 2, for instance, we’re providing a 500meg data bundle and the iPad for only R379 per month for 24 months. So you’d be paying only R379 a month for world’s most acclaimed tablet and the ability to download more data than you can easily use.
We’re also bundling a digital SLR camera with twin lenses, a bag, and an 8 Gig SD card for less than R7 000. Consumers would pay considerably more if they tried to make up that sort of bundle by buying the pieces individually.
Incredible Connection’s focus on helping shoppers get the most out of the technology they need extends to ensuring that they are given instore advice only from experienced specialists in the areas of hardware, digital audio and sound, and gaming. The retailer also offers a fourteen day returns policy. Because every store is on a nationwide system, items bought at one store can be repaired, and, if necessary, exchanged at another.
In fact, if someone buys from a different retailer an item that we stock, we will exchange it for Incredible Connection gift vouchers to the same value as our last selling price on that item ‚ if it’s in its original packaging. So if a Christmas gift isn’t quite what you wanted, you can change it through us.
Incredible Connection also provides a 10-day guarantee time on repair, and if it is not repaired within that time frame customers can elect to receive a new one or their money back. In addition, one of the services Incredible Connection offers which no-one else is doing, is the ability to set up their new computer, notebook or netbook bought at one of its stores, so that the item is ‚ready to use‚ as soon as you step out of the store, this includes any software that the customer currently owns or has purchased which requires installation.