Is there room for new player in the local tablet market? Yes, Coby thinks so

Coby Kyros endorser Maja Salvador holds up a unit of the 10-inch tablet from the US-based electronics brand, which retails locally for just P10,995.

MANILA, Philippines — Tablet devices are a dime a dozen in the Philippines these days, but US-based electronics brand Coby thinks there is still room to squeeze in another player in the local race as it prepares its affordable line of Kyros tablets designed for the most price-sensitive Pinoy consumers in mind.

While the company recently launched a whole range of tablet models — from 10-inch down to the 7-inch models — the one that grabbed the most attention was its 7-inch WiFi-only tablet, the Coby Kyros 7035, which retailed locally for just P3,995.

Affordability is one of the strongest points of Coby’s tablets, according to Andrew Chong, vice president for Sales at Coby-appointed distributor Red Dot Philippines, Inc., with its high-end model, the Kyros MID1045, selling locally for just P10,995.

“I think there’s still a lot of room for new competitors locally,” Chong told when asked about the brand’s prospects in the quickly saturating tablet market in the Philippines, flanked by big brands such as Apple and Samsung as well as local players that include Cherry Mobile and Starmobile.

“Especially when you cover the mass market, doon marami pa talagang [space],” Chong added. In a recent Philippine consumer study released by Ericsson, it was revealed that tablet penetration is pegged at only 6 percent of the population, leaving a lot of headroom for device makers to sell their new products to.

Among competitors, however, Coby is situated at a very enviable position as its price points are pegged at very affordable levels: the mid-range Kyros MID9742 9.7-inch tablet, for example, sells for only P8,990; the Kyros MID8042 8-inch model retails at P5,995; and the 3G-capable Kyros MID7048-3G 7-inch tablet can be had at a P6,995 price point, which are much lower than similar devices from globally competing brands.

Coby Android-based tablet

All of these models are powered by the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, and come packed with a single-core 1GHz ARM-based Cortex processor.

Chong said the company was able to bring the prices of the devices down because it owns most of the components in its supply chain. “They have their own factories, and they have three factories in China creating the tablets. The panel, the case, and the components are really theirs,” he explained.

Owning major parts of the supply chain contributes to creating volume, Chong said, and volume directly translates to a lower price point once released into the market.

But despite being made in China, a manufacturing hub plagued with the perception that it churns out low-quality products, the Red Dot executive said Coby’s devices are built to be tough, especially since they’re “also in the US market,” where most major technology vendors also play in.

Coby executives claim they’re already the third biggest seller of tablets in the US, with units readily available at major retail chains such as Wal-Mart. In the Philippines, Chong said he believes they have the numbers to claim that they are the number one brand locally, without mentioning specific details about unit sales.

“My own judgment is that it’s already number one,” he said. “In terms of the total sales in the Philippines, there’s a chance [that it could be true].”