In an interview with Ramos general manager Wan Qiuyang, the truth comes out that I’ve been trying to get across in this blog [Google Translate].
Q: 2013 Tablet PC sales in China are increasing, but the domestic brands of tablet PC sales comparison in 2012 but declined because of the spending power of domestic users upgrade, part of the increase mostly in Apple, Samsung, Lenovo and other well-known brands, the Blue Devils how do you view this phenomenon?
Wan: We have done some preliminary analysis, we feel that consumer confidence in domestic brands declined because of poor quality.
Boldfaced emphasis added by me.
Q: Tablets sales increased in China but sales for domestic brands decreased. Why?
A: Domestic tablets are of poor quality.
When Chuwi ships tablets with power adapters outside the box to disclaim any liability for recharging problems; when Teclast ships a tablet with a 16-bit color screen and doesn’t mention it; when users say they won’t buy Onda because of past experience — and it goes on and on in Chinese forums, how many times must it be said before people believe many Chinese tablets aren’t the “bargain” they want them to be?
And as for Ramos, why do they keep insisting their A31s-based K1 tablet has an AnTuTu score in the 20,000-range when it’s actually in the 12,000-range? They are part of the problem too!
Setting aside the sins of Ramos (which go beyond that AnTuTu fraud), the interview — even mangled by Google Translate — is worth reading.
If Ramos is to be believed, they’re in business for the long term. While they see other companies jumping on market trends quickly (such as the new fad of “seven-inch call tablets”), they don’t believe being faddish like that is in their best interests. Quality tends to suffer and customers become alienated. In other words, such cheap tablets are no real bargain.
It’s also interesting that in China they’re concentrating on selling through channels — middlemen — rather than emulating companies such as Xiaomi that market nearly exclusively via the Net. They see problems with that model. It can work for an established brand — for example, Apple, if they were to do it — because of that company’s reputation. People know what to expect from an Apple product. But for a company such as Ramos, people need to touch and try the product in person to see for themselves so they can compare it against all the rushed-to-market tablets that are competing for their money.
It remains to be seen if the focus on quality touted by Ramos pans out. It’s still too soon to tell even though several of their quality-focused tablets have been out for several months. The first run of their i9 tablet had QC problems (which seem to have since been resolved).
For people who might think of Ramos in a more favorable light after this interview, I have this caution. Like Onda, they’ve taken to modifying Android in an Apple-like way:
That’s a screensnap from their new i10 Android tablet (the one that looks like a ginormous HTC One) [Google Translate]. They’ve gotten rid of the App Drawer. All icons now reside on the desktop like iOS. In addition, there are no longer any Google services in their version of Android. So an “Android” tablet from Ramos isn’t the same kind of Android you’d expect to get from Samsung or Acer or another company. Do you still think that’s a “bargain”? Most people don’t want to learn how to flash a ROM. They just want to buy something that works as they expect it to work. And when someone is told a tablet is “Android,” that means Google services.
As for me, no matter what any company says — including Ramos — I’ll continue to read what actual users, people who have spent their own money on products, have to say about tablets in Chinese forums. That’s where the truth will be found.