Originally Posted by HarryT
Surely it's global markets that matter, not one particular local market? Apple, Samsung, etc, are global companies.
It depends on how the global market breaks down in terms of product acceptance. I wouldn't mind seeing a breakdown of tablet sales by price+region myself. Depending on the product in question it isn't unheard of for one region to dominate sales so strongly as to effectively *be* the global market for that product.
For eink ebook readers the global market is, effectively, the anglosphere; NorthAm+UK+the antipodes = 90% plus of the market volume.
Or, in rear projection HDTVs, 99% of the market is North America because they are too bulky for asian living rooms and european retailers don't particularly like to stock them for the same reason.
It also depends on how the devices are perceived and/or marketed.
If we look at the reception/reviews of the various tablet platforms it is easy to see that, when buying tablets, US consumers are buying content access devices, while other regions are buying portable computing power or simply cheap websurfing devices. Not all unit sales are created equally in the eyes of vendors; profit margin and total profit matters, too. (iPhone, for example, captures a disproportionate portion of global smartphone profits--it may be that the US contributes a disproportionate part of global tablet profits.)
When it comes to media consumption devices, the US in particular has several features that make them particularly attractive to consumers and to vendors--starting with ready availability of video content from dozens of sources and a variety of business models: subscriptions, ala carte, free...
(Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, Vudu, Amazon, Nook, ePix, XBOX, PSN, iTunes, Crunchyroll, uVERSE, xFinity, HBO, ESPN, are just a few off the top of my head...) It is (relatively) *easy* to set up content delivery services in the US. This makes it easier to copy Apple's walled garden content model, as proven by Amazon who went from zero to 22% market share in barely six months.
Just how important the US market is in the tablet space can only be guessed at, but the fact that the global companies seem to be tailoring their products to the US and usually launch there first suggests it is a key, high volume market to them. (Just as non-Apple smartphones tend to launch first in asia or europe.)
Vendors go where the money is.
And the money is usually what determines what the products look like.