Low prices, social media boom drive tablet PC use among Pinoys

By Alexander Villafania

MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA – Amid growth in smartphones, tablet PCs have also started to gain foothold in the Philippines, driven by gradually declining price tags and the increasing use of social media.

Companies like Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, Acer, Archos, and Asus have been introducing newer tablet PC models with more powerful processors and larger memory capacity. These also feature the latest operating systems, primarily Google’s Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” version.

Most models feature wireless connectivity such as WiFi and 3G as well as Bluetooth. Others have also integrated features that centralize hardware and software features such as home theater control and wireless access to office network.

Not surprisingly, entry-level brands have also entered the Philippines with watered down features allowing them to further lower their prices and target the much larger, budget-conscious demographic.

Companies such as Coby, Huawei, ZTE, among others, have introduced tablets that cost less than P10,000 although running on older operating systems (like Android 2.3 codename “Gingerbread”).

Tablet PCs, or sometimes called slates, are devices with relatively larger touch screens of about 7 inches up. In comparison, smartphones tend to have smaller touch screens that are up to 5 inches.

Tablet PCs also tend to be used as alternatives to laptops though accessories allow such devices to run similar to laptops.

Coco Domingo, Samsung Philippines product marketing head for mobile phones, noted that tablet PC demand in the Philippines is also pushed by demand for social networks. As more people get connected online, the more they widen their contacts and allow themselves to express freely.

“People with wide social networks want to try improving their communication lines so they purchase tablets that provide them with the best user experience,” Domingo said.

Domingo added that this would start with smartphones where people become aware of the benefits of always on connectivity. “Eventually, they move up in the value chain and purchase tablet PCs that have better functions and offer better user experience.”

Samsung’s latest Galaxy Tab 2.0 models are priced starting at P12,990 making them among the cheapest in their class.

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