updated 12:45 pm EDT, Sun August 22, 2010
Best Buy to make tablets a holiday priority
Best Buy's mobile lead Shawn Score in an interview on Friday said the store would "make tablets a focus" for the holiday this year. The big-box chain hopes to associate itself with tablets and will put more attention on the iPad and its yet-to-ship competitors. Alternatives to Apple would be important, Score told Forbes, as those who use Android or BlackBerry phones might want tablets based on the same platform.
"Customers need to have choice on operating systems," he explained.
The executive didn't expect a large number of tablets to ship, but a number are either close to launch or possibly being rushed to offer the iPad competition before the end of the year. Best Buy itself is getting involved by creating a Rocketfish-branded Android model, while RIM is rumored to be accelerating the launch of its BlackPad tablet to November instead of early 2011. Samsung's Galaxy Tab using Android may be unveiled within weeks, and Velocity Micro's Cruz Reader could be on Best Buy shelves next month.
The pressure to seize on the popularity of the iPad has become acute since Apple said it had sold 3.27 million of the slates in just its first three months on sale. In addition to being the strongest new product launch yet for Apple, it has already had an effect on other categories by easily eclipsing Windows tablet sales and potentially forcing a retreat from netbooks as customers opt for iPads over the cheap but slow PCs.