In 2004 Coca-Cola introduced Dasani bottled water into the UK which turned out to be nothing more than treated tap water.
Comparisons with the ‘Peckham Spring’ episode of Only Fools and Horses weren’t far behind and, with the bad press still in consumer’s minds, the discovery of bromate in the drink pretty much finished off any hopes of the brand catching on over here.
The above story shows that, no matter how big the companies behind them, all products can only be launched so many times before there’s no-one left to give them a try.
Widespread coverage of DSG’s decision to withdraw Toshiba’s Folio tablet, combined with poor reviews for cheap and cheerful efforts such as Next’s tablet, leads me to wonder whether Android tablets are in danger of reaching that point.
Fair enough, there are lots of people who would like an alternative to Apple’s tightly controlled OS and ecosystem, but none of them are likely to be impressed with devices which don’t work as expected.
Google did the smartphone market a great service in releasing an open source OS but even in the phone sector its lack of control has caused issues, with some handsets never updated to newer versions, others having to wait ages, and hardware which is under-specced.
With tablet manufacturers pushing out a series of underwhelming devices with an unready OS, the danger is that consumers will become conditioned by a relentless run of bad headlines to think of Android tablets as poor, undesirable devices.
If that mindset gets hold, and with no central voice to promote the Android OS and counter any bad perceptions, devices which finally arrive with a tablet-ready version of the OS could be launching into a marketplace where consumers are no longer interested in the platform.
Companies – especially the larger brands – tempted to rush to market need to think about the harm they’re doing to their longterm sales prospects.