Three months to the day after the iPad 2 launched in Austria, I decided to see if I could walk into a store in Vienna and get one. I couldn’t. It’s not possible. Three week waiting period, AFTER you pay down on your chosen unit. Isn’t that just mind-boggling? And why do the Xooms and Tabs and Playbooks of the world think that they have a fighting chance on the market if people still prefer to wait FOR WEEKS rather than walk out with an Android tablet?
Things have luckily evolved for the Apple faithful and new converts in Austria since the olden days, when you could count the number of Mac retailers on 1 hand. You can now get iPods and iPads in every electronics store. On Saturday 25th June, I walked into a Saturn store to check out iPads on display and to see how many competing tablets there were available. It was there the friendly salesman explained to me that iPad 2s are not readily available anywhere in Austria. Paying down gets your name on a list, then you wait up to 4 weeks. Four weeks! Another store I called told me the same story. Come in, pay down and wait. Which means that there are literally hundreds of people virtually waiting in line for an iPad 2 in this country! Even ordering online via the Apple site officially states 1 – 2 weeks.
And this is not to say people don’t have a choice. You can get an iPad 1 immediately if you like. As you can see in the pic, there was an iPad 1 on display and three other tablets (I won’t count the 4th since its size disqualifies itself from being counted a tablet in my book) the Asus EEE pad, the Acer Iconia and the HTC Flyer.
The 7inch HTC model is surprisingly expensive – €729 for 32GB, running Android 2.3.3 (the latest is Honeycomb 3.1). It’s smaller, has no extra features to speak of and costs MORE than and 64GB iPad 1. Okay it does Flash and comes with a magic pen – does that justify the higher price? Not in my book.
The Acer Iconia and Asus EEE pad both run on 3.0 software and both cost €499. The Iconia was not functional so I could not test it. The EEE pad (what a strange name) had this cool animated watertank wallpaper but the UI was a bit confusing to grasp. Worthy competitors to iPad? Perhaps. Are there people waiting in line to get an EEE pad or Iconia? Nope.
Apple has sold 25 million iPads to customers in just over one year. They have not sold more because they could not make more. I sincerely wish the other tablet manufacturers the best of luck because right now they are fighting a losing battle.
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