C’mon Guys: Tablet Marketing 101

Critical errors in marketing on the part of a Samsung Windows RT tablet, also known as "Why I want to buy a Windows RT tablet but don't have one yet."

As both an app developer and a gamer I can’t help but be excited by the current revolution in mobile computing. Why? Because mobile computing equals mobile gaming!

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Seriously! An Entire Gaming Library in Your Backpack!

And also because, let’s face it, it’s Star Trek come to life. First we got communicators (a.k.a. cell phones) and now we have computers the size of note pads. I still don’t have a tricorder, but my cell phone does know where it is on the planet at all times so that’s a step in the right direction…

So anyway, I’m all pumped ok, like, pumped to go check out the various tablet platforms available for my holiday wish list, so I stop by my local Staples just to see what they have in stock to play with.

I know, Staples. You can laugh. Not the most gamer-oriented store. But I live out in the boonies and it was either that or Wal-Mart on Black Friday. Have you been to Wal-Mart on Black Friday? I have not, and I intend to keep it that way.

So I’m at Staples and not wholly unsatisfied because at least they have a few tablets and e-readers to browse through to whet my appetite.

Do they have a Windows Surface I can get my hands on?

No, they do not. But they have a Samsung tablet that’s running Windows RT. Close enough right? At least I can get a feel for the operating system. Woot!

 

Trying out the Samsung Windows RT Tablet

Pinch the home screen. All the tiles get really little and drop down to the lower left. Cool. Not sure what the point is, but it looks nifty so that alone is worth something. Zoom the home screen back to normal. Nice.

Tiles are live updating. The screen is changing before my eyes. Things are happening on the home screen. Sweetness!

  • Choose a random tile, a.k.a. the new app icon. Nothing. It wants me to log in to some service or other. OK, no problem. I chose a bad one. Let’s go back.
  • Choose Netflix. Stuck on a loading screen while it tries to find an on-line connection that doesn’t exist. Little frustrated, but I’m still excited so I’m going to persevere. Let’s go back.
  • Choose X-Box games. That sounds awesome! Can you really play your X-Box games on your Windows RT tablet??? No idea. It wants me to log in again. Sigh. Let’s go back.
  • Choose “Play Plants vs. Zombies.” Excellent. A modern classic. Touching the tile takes me to the old-school desktop. Plants vs. Zombies pops up in a window, and it wants me to log in again. Seriously?

 

Why Would You Put a Demo on the Floor that Can’t Do Anything?

You know what happened the first time I tried an iPad? It worked, that’s what happened. I played Angry Birds. I made some notes. I added to the calendar. I typed a paragraph into Pages. I played Angry Birds again.

C’mon guys!

Tablet marketing 101: people want to play with it. Load up your demos with apps people can use. Create fake accounts if you have to, but let people have access to the apps they want to try.

Marketing doesn’t stop with the cool ads on TV. Marketing follows the potential buyer to the store and includes their experience trying the thing out. I’m still interested in playing with a Windows RT tablet, but I’m no closer to buying one.

If I manage to get my hands on one that actually works I’ll let you know what I think.


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Author
Ask Erin
app developer, author, rancher, gamer, (and occasional lawyer)