Today brought news that RIM is slashing the price of its PlayBook tablet. There’s precedent for this move. HP almost immediately slashed the price of its TouchPad after the release did not go well; they did so again in December. December also brought news that Dell was killing off its Streak line of tablets.
I have to assume that these tablets will eventually lose support, leaving their owners high and dry. Even at a reduced price, a tablet that gets no updates to its OS is just a fancy paperweight.
So, given the initial success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Android modding projects like Cyanogen, I wonder if there’s a business opportunity for these orphaned tablets.
I mention the Kindle Fire here for two reasons. First, it’s the most successful Android tablet to date, built on an older version of Android, maybe 2.2, maybe 2.3, it’s unclear and doesn’t seem to matter to consumers. The content and value proposition do. The value proposition could easily be recreated for older hardware.
Second, the Kindle Fire, although not actually a PlayBook clone as was initially rumored, is very similar to these other tablets in size and specs. Creating a mod for new hardware is by no means a simple task, but given that Amazon has already created a market segment for sub-iPads, it might be worth the investment to build mods for these depracated tablets.
Even a free, as-is mod might pay for itself with content purchased.
Anyway, for Amazon or someone else, there definitely seems to be a market emerging here. Call it the breathe-life-into-old-tablets market.