updated 11:05 am EDT, Sun July 3, 2011
Chinese clone tablets get excess Android
Chinese tablet makers making white box (no-name) iPad clones are in many cases getting millions of Apple's own leftover iPad screens, the Taiwan supply chain detailed this weekend. With LG Display and Samsung making between 12 million to 15 million of the 9.7-inch IPS panels, no more than nine million go to Apple and leave millions that haven't met Apple's standards but which are often good enough to use, Digitimes said. Android tablets like SmartDevices' SmartQ T10 (pictured) as well as those from AGSO and Wanlida are in many cases not just using the excess displays but trying to copy Apple.
Some of the excess supply is being stockpiled for Foxconn so it can help accommodate added production during the summer, when Apple could have between 12 million and 14 million iPads. A significant number of those rejected by Apple might be those with bleeding backlights. Whether or not those are going to devices like the SmartQ T10 isn't certain, although the issue is sometimes more cosmetic than functional.
The use of the screens is ironic but may also be dictated by the realities of other companies making tablets. Acer, LG, Motorola, Samsung, RIM, and other top-tier tablet companies are often using widescreen displays that wouldn't let a company more directly imitate the iPad. The leftover display stock from these companies might also not be enough to establish a business where Apple's dominance of the tablet market means even its supply overruns are large enough to supply whole companies.
The firms may be willing to use sub-par Apple screens since they're often much more dependent on price in the lower income Chinese economy. The SmartQ T10 costs the equivalent of $293, well under the $570 Apple charges for the more advanced but premium iPad 2 in the country.