Is High Street retailer Argos checking out of tablet computers?
After launching the Bush MyTablet in October to universally bad reviews, speculation has been rife that Argos would quickly kill its 'terrible' tablet off.
The £99 tablet was launched at about the same time as Tesco's perennially sold-out Hudl, but the reviews couldn't be more different.
Not everyone seems to have read the reviews, though. When one Argos customer fool enough to actually want enquired about availability, has was advised that the company is not taking any further stock of the MyTablet.
Argos emailed as follows:
"I regret to advise this item has now been discontinued. This means we will no longer be replenishing stock within our stores. Please note, the item will remain advertised on the website until stock in all stores is depleted."
However, Argos now tells Computing that the email "was sent in error" and that the Bush MyTablet is still a current item. No, really.
In a curt email to Computing, Argos claimed:
"We have seen the article on your website regarding the MyTablet, and would like to provide you with an official comment in response.
Regarding the Argos Customer Services email about the MyTablet being discontinued, this was given in error."
So there you have it: Argos ISN'T killing off the MyTablet.
Of course, Argos probably still has plenty of stocks of the tablet in various colours and its response couldn't possibly be related to any need to shift them before quietly killing it off.
It's also quite contrary to what insiders at Argos have told us...
Besides, is it really wise for Argos to continue pushing such a sub-standard product?
Device reviewers invariably pull their punches, but there was no covering up how bad the Bush MyTablet was.
The Guardian described it as - "cheap, nasty and frustrating to use", while Trusted Reviews found nothing to recommend it and gave the device three out of 10. "There's not a lot to tell the MyTablet apart from a host of much cheaper Android tablets that we wouldn't recommend either," it concluded.
Others also highlighted poor build quality. Indeed, industry sources tell us that there are hundreds of shonky chop shops in China banging together shoddy tablets from commodity parts on razor-thin margins. Buyers looking for a tablet computer to sell under their own brand therefore need to select their manufacturing partners with great care.
Argos, though, no doubt has the institutional purchasing knowledge to avoid such elementary mistakes, but the MyTablet clearly fell well short of expectations.
Yet only in November, Argos denied that it planned to withdraw the tablets, saying that it had "sold out" and that new stocks would only arrive after Christmas, which doesn't sound like a stunning business decision (or excuse) to us.
Surprisingly, though, the Medion LifeTab from Aldi is similarly specced, but proved exceedingly popular when it went on sale two weeks ago - what a difference £20 can make...
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