LG Electronics is putting its tablet development on hold to concentrate on smartphones, according to a company spokesman. The announcement comes just as Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) unveiled its Surface tablet, which it will use to try and more directly compete with Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad.
LG Optimus Pad
"We've decided to put all new tablet development on the back burner for the time being in order to focus on smartphones," LG spokesman Ken Hong told Bloomberg. Hong also said the Surface does not compete "with anything we're focusing on at the moment."
LG's pullback is notable because it was one of the first to produce an Android Honeycomb tablet in 2011. Earlier this year it produced the Optimus Pad LTE tablet. In late April LG said it would focus squarely on smartphones running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform, though it remained open to returning to Microsoft's Windows Phone in the future.
Many tablet makers have found it hard to gain market share at the expense of Apple. A March report from Forrester Research, for example, found that Apple commanded 73 percent of the tablet market, while other OEMs struggled to crack 5 percent. Forrester found that Samsung had a 5 percent market share, Motorola Mobility (now a part of Google) had 4 percent and Acer had a 3 percent share.
In a blog post for Forbes, industry analyst Tero Kuittinen wrote that Microsoft has decided to compete in tablets on features, not necessarily price. "This could be very painful for HTC and the Google-owned Motorola brand," he wrote, noting that Acer, Asus and Amazon are already down-market alternatives to the iPad. "But there is a cluster of relatively expensive tablets that have struggled hard to gain any traction--devices by HTC and Motorola in particular. These tablets have tried to compete against the original iPad with more powerful processors--in vain."
Representatives from HTC and Samsung did not immediately respond to requests for comment about their companies' tablet plans, and a Motorola spokeswoman said the company's strategy is "to focus on fewer, bigger launches in smartphones and tablets."
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Forbes article
- see this CNET article
ComScore: A quarter of U.S. smartphone users have a tablet
ABI: 'Phablets' like Samsung Galaxy Note to hit 208M units in 2015
Report: Google to sell its own co-branded tablets to consumers
LG puts Windows Phone on back burner in favor of Android
LG's handset sales drop in Q1, but company posts a profit
LG targets sales of 80M handsets, 35M smartphones for 2012