Tesco plans to roll out its own tablet computer under the brand name Hudl, and get it in stores in time for Christmas, the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper reported.
Tesco hasn't announced the tablet, but in February the giant retailer applied for a U.K. trademark for the name Hudl for tablets and related accessories. The tablet is expected to be a 7-inch device that would be made by a Chinese manufacturer, and would be priced to compete with Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Nexus 7, according to hardware industry sources. Analyst Jeremy Davies of Context told the Guardian, "It's possible they would look to sell it for about £100, and initially order a few hundred thousand devices."
Analysts also speculated that the tablet would be designed to offer fast access to Tesco's streaming video service, Blinkbox, which has 2.8 million monthly users. The tablet would also have preinstalled apps making it easy to order merchandise from Tesco.
Much of the speculation about the device is based on the assumption that Tesco is pushing back against Amazon and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in digital sales of books, music and videos. But while it may be competing at that level, Tesco also currently sells both Amazon and Apple tablets.
The retailer is also the fifth-largest mobile operator in the U.K., which means it could conceivably bundle 3G or 4G data services with the tablet, either as a conventional paid mobile offering or in a way similar to Amazon's Whispernet service, which allows customers to download Kindle content with no extra wireless charge.
However, at this point Tesco has made no announcement about the tablet of any kind. The chain's chief executive, Philip Clarke, did say in June that the retailer group will be scaling back on sales of consumer electronics products such as flat-screen TVs, a category which Clarke said "quite frankly takes up a lot of space and [doesn't bring in] a lot of money."
- See this Guardian story
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