Tuesday, June 28, 2011

White-box players supply close to 20% of global tablet PC shipments in 1Q11

White-box tablet PC players are rising quickly in the tablet PC industry with related shipments already accounting for close to 20% of global tablet PC shipments in the first quarter of 2011, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

The sources pointed out that the white-box players are expanding quickly in emerging markets with their advantage in price. As they are showing an aggressive attitude for cutting into the tablet PC market, the sources believe their existence will become a big threat toward first-tier tablet PC players in the second half of the year.

The sources noted that white-box tablet PC players have been aggressively cutting into the North America market with several brands, such as Zenithink and Anhub, already having their tablet PC products listed under the top-20 besting selling products on Amazon.

Currently, most white-box tablet PCs are adopting 7-inch resistive touch screen panel with VIA Technologies' VIA8650 processor and the Android 2.2 operating system for a price as low as only NT$2,000 (US$69), compared to High Tech Computer's (HTC's) 7-inch Android 2.3-based Flyer tablet PC at NT$17,900. The large price gap allows the white-box models to attract demand from consumers.

Even for the white-box models using thin-film capacitive touch screens, the price only goes as high as NT$5,000, the sources noted.

There are already several Taiwan-based component suppliers aggressively competing in the new market; such as VIA Technologies for CPUs; Transtouch Technology, Emerging Display Technologies (EDT) and Mutto Optronics for touch panels; and First International Computer (FIC), Gigabyte Technology, Elitegroup Computer System (ECS) for assembly, the sources added.

Upstream touch screen IC suppliers such as Egalax-empia Technology (EETI) also plans to cut into white-box tablet PC market in the third quarter with MediaTek and Elan Microelectronics also set to hit the market.

However, since white-box players normally do not send their tablet PC for safety testing, the products can be easily damaged or have a defect, while their safety also raises concerns among consumers.

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