iPad competitors face an uphill battle, says analyst

In the realm of cell phones, Apple has a real fight on its hands against cheaper and more ubiquitous Android devices. The same might not happen in the tablet market, however. That's the view held by DisplaySearch Analyst Richard Shim, who wrote in his blog about the difficulties faced by firms hoping to steer folks away from the iPad.

Shim reckons Apple's own retail stores are the key to the iPad's dominance. Why? Because the stores allow Apple to educate consumers and to push the device successfully, for one, and also because Apple is able to avoid giving third-party retailers a cut, which in turn helps it keep prices low.

The first factor in particular may be more important than it seems. As an example, Shim quotes a Best Buy circular that reportedly lists the RIM PlayBook slate under the cell phone section and Motorola's Xoom with "PC accessories." Apple has every reason to train its retail staffers to pimp the iPad and educate consumers about it, but the same probably can't be said for Best Buy's blue shirts and competing slates.

Shim says there's even some uncertainty about where tablets belong within certain slate makers. He says, "In the case of Samsung, the mobile PC groups have been fighting over who gets to claim ownership of the tablet space." That can't be helpful. (Thanks to Slashdot for the link.)

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