Tesco enters the tablet fray with Hudl

 

Rory Cellan-Jones test-drives Tesco's new device

It's a place you might go to for tomatoes, tea or tinned tuna - but would you really go to Tesco in search of a tablet computer? The supermarket chain is confident that its shoppers will see the attractions of getting into the tablet game via a well-known brand.

But what does the arrival of the Hudl - for that is the name of the product the company is launching this morning - mean for the overall market?

What is immediately clear is that Tesco is taking its tablet very seriously. Unlike some cheap Android tablets launched by other unlikely firms - remember Next's attempt? - this looks a competitive and reasonably high-spec offering. It runs the latest version of Android, has a 1.5 GHz processor, an HD screen and expandable storage.

The 7in device looks at first sight like any other small Android tablet - the Tesco content is mostly hidden under a "T" logo at the bottom left. Tapping here takes you to services like online shopping and the Blinkbox on-demand film service, bought by Tesco a couple of years ago.

So where will it fit into an increasingly competitive market? From the Google Nexus 7 to the Amazon Kindle Fire, there is now plenty of choice in the £100-£200 range. The Hudl at £119 should compete well here - though it probably needs to be that cheap to make up for the fact that many consumers won't see it as a recognised electronics brand.

What is really significant about this new arrival is the way tablets are now becoming everyday devices, just three years after Apple launched the iPad and kick-started this revolution. Some forecasters now see sales of tablets overtaking sales of PCs by the end of this year.

Lower prices will accelerate that trend, though I'm still slightly puzzled by how Tesco can make any profit on the Hudl when it is priced at £119. After all, Amazon's Jeff Bezos told us last year that the Kindle Fire HD - at £159 - made not a penny in profit for his company. But Matt Atkinson, Tesco's chief marketing officer, told me that his product would definitely be commercially viable.

I suppose that each time a new entrant comes into the market they find that the components have become just a little cheaper, so they can offer similar products to the established players at a keener price.

Tesco is set to launch a budget tablet computer

You might think that would spell trouble for the market leader Apple, but it has managed to keep on selling iPads very profitably despite the yawning price gap opening up with rival Android devices. The Apple brand remains very desirable - and the company won't have too many worries about its shrinking share of the market as long as it can keep profit margins high.

The other company which has tried to compete at the top end of the market, with tablets which aim to be work machines as well as playthings, is Microsoft. So far, its Surface has failed to make much of an impact on the market, with the company writing off $1bn after missing sales targets. But the company which first showed off the Tablet PC concept in 2001 - whatever happened to that? - isn't giving up. Tonight Microsoft will be unveiling two new Surface tablets - the firm which built its fortunes on the PC revolution knows that it must be part of this new wave of computing.

 
Rory Cellan-Jones Article written by Rory Cellan-Jones Rory Cellan-Jones Technology correspondent

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 611.

    I'm getting tired of the BBC and their pro-Apple propaganda.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 610.

    I wonder if Tesco has permission from Agile Sports Technologies Inc to use their tradename???

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 609.

    115.Dixie
    "23rd September 2013 - 12:19
    106. wrote.. ''Apple is no longer a premium brand'... err, Oh yes it is, on the tablet side of things there is not a product to touch the iPad...:-)"

    Certainly true of the price and for that you can buy a laptop that does a whole lot more much better.

  • Comment number 608.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 607.

    My previous comment was removed by the powers that be. because I boke House rules - It did not contain website or email addresses
    •Contain contact information (phone numbers, postcodes etc)
    •Appear to impersonate someone else
    •Contain swear words or are otherwise objectionable.
    It did contain txt abbreviations to English words that Mr S Fry - on a R4 doc appeared to condone? W.T.F

  • Comment number 606.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 605.

    I wonder if it will come with a camera that allows the owner to see where they are going so they don't walk into me cos they are too busy staring at the damn things while walking along the street.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 604.

    Good old Rory gets to mention apple in everything he writes. On BBC radio if a product name is mentioned they usually wet themselves until they can say "other products are available"

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 603.

    166.Jules
    In your degree most people opted for an apple computer? in graphic design? if not your degree can't have been worth much unless you took up apples option of running windows 7 on it which says a lot about their software. Yes I too used apple but it was expensive and not much that I wanted to use apart from graphic design worked well on it, still have one laying about for that purpose.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 602.

    I own an iPad simply because I like it and prepared to pay high for a good branded tablet. Rory was asked was their other tablets out there so naturally he had to mention Apple. What was annoying was lack of specifications mentioned about the Tesco tablet. Screen res/ battery life/ built in apps and other functionality for the money. Cheap is fine for mostly social media/YouTube users and for kids

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 601.

    I think it's a great idea. I'm a fan of apple products, but find them overpriced. The more competition out there biting away at the apple pie, may finally lead to them pricing their products more realistically. £594 for a 64gig Ipad 4 is quite ludicrous. I love my Ipod touch 4, but paying £300 to upgrade to Ipod 5 touch stopped me in my tracks.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 600.

    @598
    Are you part of the Samsung guerrilla campaign to discredit Rory's opinion, just because he mentions the market leader where relevant?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 599.

    Quick question for you all.... how long before an article like this doesn't just generate some kind of Apple-fan / Apple-hater warfare.

    Anyone else bored senseless of both sides of the arguments and wondering when we'll all be able to make our own choices of phone or tablet without someone using it to judge as and verbally bash us about the head? Is it just me?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 598.

    BBC please can we have a technology correspondent who knows something about technology!. Android is now superior in resolution and hardware. It can perform over a 100 functions the restricted and dictated Apple OS is unable to do. Yet the Apple marketing machine continues to delude?, not to mention the fact the world is 80% Android.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 597.

    for Sally Gale: # 594 You are very wise by buying a product to do something you want to do and them maybe it you will find it can do more. But that is only possible after products have become 'stable' Apple has achieved this by controlling the design and application of its products, whereas it is a wild west still for Android. Riding with the cowboys is can be fun. but probably not for everyday.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 596.

    with the club card vouchers is is £65.00 but I haven't got 15 children to feed :-)

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 595.

    Why do people get so impassioned about a device which regardless of manufacturer performs the same task.Is it the fact that they are so ubiquitous, is it collective identity or persecution that causes this vitriol.
    Why are you arguing so vehemently? Like religious freedom, do we need to legislate that consumers have a tablet freedom to.Honestly I feel embarrassed for owning an Galaxy Tab.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 594.

    I have an IPad and a Kindle Fire. I bought the KFire specifically for reading e-books as this is its main purpose. It also gives me access to Facebook, internet etc. The IPad is used more for watching video and face timing with my daughter in Australia but is also linked to our I phones. Horses for courses.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 593.

    Is this blog sponsored by a certain American technology company? by the view of the blogger it is comparing a lower standard product against what he considers to be "premium" in which case he is not comparing comparable products. This article is neither a review or impartial and is advertising the BBC should remove the blog on the grounds of impartiality has Rory even seen the Hudl?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 592.

    as far as I know there are no reviews anywhere except of the spec.

 

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