Competition in the tablet space has been heating up for a while now, and it’s not just the big guys that are feeling the strain. Take the tumultuous story of OGT Mobile, for instance — they tried to make their mark on the industry by creating their own Android tablet, but just couldn’t see the project through.
I can’t blame you if you’ve never heard of OGT before, but back in April 2011 when the company revealed their Eros tablet, it made a few waves thanks to its claims of being the thinnest Android tablet in the world. The spec sheet wasn’t too shabby at the time either — it featured a 1GHz processor, what appeared to be a 7-inch screen running at 188 ppi, 3G/WiFi radios, and either 16 or 32GB of internal storage, all crammed into a frame that was 7mm thick.
Sure, the company had a long road ahead of it, but the OGT tablet had the makings of a solid device. That said, you can guess where this story is going. Thanks to some funding issues, a general sense of distaste for the versions of Android available at the time, and the speed of the market, the Eros never made it off the ground.
Earlier today, OGT CEO Alix Narcisse posted an open letter to the company’s supporters explaining why that Eros tablet never officially came to be. Here’s the juicy bit:
Last year, the tech world, saw an influx of interest in tablet PCs from a variety of companies both large and small. We were among the many companies. Tablets represent the next wave of technology and the power of mobile computing, but we had to be honest with ourselves knowing that our hardware was too advanced for the software that was available at the time. We took heed to what consumers wanted in a tablet and challenged ourselves to deliver it.
Unfortunately, with the instantaneous changes in this developing marketplace, we could not bring our tablet to market in time for your enjoyment and satisfaction. We apologize. Our integrity is exhibited in our interaction with you. This is the first step in establishing and maintaining that integrity.
Narcisse goes on to promise that the company still has plenty up its sleeves, but this is the sort of game that’s just damned hard for smaller companies to crack. Established players like Apple, Asus, Motorola, and the like are capable of iterating much faster, cramming an ever-increasing number of features into devices meant for consumers who have been conditioned to expect continuous, unyielding innovation. It’s little surprise that little guys like OGT struggle to keep up with that blistering pace, so does that mean they should stop altogether?
The short answer is no, of course not, but even an even weightier question comes to mind — how do hardware startups like OGT make a dent in a market that seems to be doing just fine without them? That answer could be worth millions, if only someone could come up with it. So far, we can surmise what that answer isn’t: it’s probably not fighting on price (Amazon and now Google have that segment well-accounted for), and shooting for mass market appeal is difficult when a brand doesn’t mean anything to people yet.
As far as Narcisse is concerned, his and other companies like it have to “create something new from something old.” Easier said than done, certainly, but here’s hoping that someone cracks that formula soon — after all, more competition pushes everyone else forward too.