White-box tablets gaining share as iPad alternatives

Price-sensitive buyers opting more for iPad knockoffs

Shipments of inexpensive tablets from little-known vendors are growing as customers avoid the price of premium tablets such as Apple's iPad, DisplaySearch said in research released on Tuesday.

Shipments of white-box tablets are growing in emerging markets where customers are price sensitive, DisplaySearch said. China is the biggest market for white-box tablet PCs, while shipments in the first quarter also went up in other markets such as Latin America and Eastern Europe.

"Despite some quality issues of these white-box tablets, they remain appealing to value conscious buyers, such as students, who are shopping based on price," said Richard Shim, a senior analyst for DisplaySearch, in a statement.

The white-box tablets, which in some cases are knock-offs of top-name brands like the iPad, could have inferior hardware such as lower-quality screens, DisplaySearch said. White-box tablet makers may use panels that are rejected by major brands, DisplaySearch said.

Many white-box tablets are sold in retail stores or through individual retail sites at prices that range from US$75 to $300. Some tablets have unrecognizable brand names, come with no support and cannot be returned.

White-box tablet configurations pale compared to a new range of more expensive branded tablets, which come with multitouch screens, dual-core processors and the latest OSes. Some white-box tablets have single-core processors running under 1GHz and older Android versions, but offer Wi-Fi, USB ports, 3G slots and cameras that could make the devices useful. For example, a $126 Epad with a 10-inch screen on Chinese wholesale site Sourcinggate has a 1GHz ARM processor, Android 2.1, 2GB of storage, Wi-Fi capabilities and USB and HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) ports.

Some buyers such as Lorrie Jollimore have bought white-box tablets to experiment with the form factor. Jollimore bought a 7-inch tablet from China at about 15 percent of the cost of a new iPad 2. She's not sure about the device's quality and is waiting for the tablet to arrive.

"I couldn't picture why I'd even need a tablet for the past year. I have my Mac laptop at home and my iPhone and didn't think I was ever without a device that seemed activity appropriate," Jollimore wrote in a blog entry.

Worldwide shipments of white-box tablets were 1.9 million in the first quarter this year, up from 567,000 units in the fourth quarter last year. White-box vendors in China accounted for 44 percent of those shipments. Overall shipments in the tablet category were down 5.2 percent sequentially to 9.7 million units.

Apple was the top tablet vendor during the quarter, with 54 percent market share, followed by other vendors including white-box tablets makers, which took 20 percent of the market.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Applehardware systemstablet PCslaptops

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?