Analysts urge RIM, Samsung and others to avoid clash with iPad

The number of entrants into the tablet market keeps growing by the week, as handset makers and computer vendors alike seek to challenge Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad. However, analysts are urging new tablet entrants to avoid taking on Apple directly, and instead focus on offering lower prices or targeting a specific market niche Apple has not tapped yet.

"We've yet to hear a convincing story about what the potential is beyond Apple," CCS Insight analyst John Jackson told Reuters. "The next successful tablet story will be one that doesn't try to take on Apple directly."  

The market's latest tablet could be unveiled this week by BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM). But some analysts expressed doubts about RIM's tablet plans, noting the company's best bet will be to focus on its core enterprise users rather than trying to appeal to a mass-market audience as Apple has with the iPad. Apple sold 3.27 million iPads in the device's first quarter of availability, and AT&T (NYSE:T) CEO Randall Stephenson said last week that the company has 500,000 3G-capable iPads on its network.

Meantime, Samsung's 7-inch GalaxyTab, which is smaller than the iPad and has two cameras--is seen as the most credible challenger to Apple's tablet. A large part of whether it succeeds in the market, analysts told Reuters, will be how much the carriers subsidize the cost of the device and how heavily they promote it. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile USA--which will all offer the GalaxyTab--have not disclosed pricing or possible subsidies. The cheapest iPad with support for AT&T's network starts at $629; the carrier does not subsidize the cost of the device.

Other tablet players include LG, Motorola (NYSE:MOT), Hewlett-Packard and others.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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