Tesco eyes slice of UK tablet market with 'Hudl'

Monday 23 September 2013 18.05
Tesco hopes new own-brand tablet will boost online shopping
Tesco hopes new own-brand tablet will boost online shopping

Retailer Tesco has entered the intensely competitive UK tablet market with a low-priced own-brand product that it hopes will boost online shopping and drive sales of its digital entertainment content.

Tesco said its "Hudl" device, which has a seven-inch screen, runs Google's Android operating system and has 16 gigabytes of storage, would be priced at £119 sterling (€140), taking on a market dominated by Apple, Samsung and Amazon.

Tesco is attempting to revive its fortunes in its homemarket after losing share to rivals but has suffered a series of setbacks to its reputation this year, including the discovery across Europe of horsemeat in products labelled as beef.

"It's a reflection of the way Tesco is changing and also a reflection of the way the world around us is changing," Tesco chief executive Phil Clarke told reporters at the Hudl launch.

He said the company had identified a gap in the market because many shoppers were put off by the expense and by intimidating technology.

The Hudl device has quick access to Tesco's online shopping and banking sites, as well as its blinkbox movies and TV ondemand service, Clubcard TV, music streaming and e-bookservices.

Tesco's device will compete with Amazon's Kindle Fire, which retails for £99, Google's Nexus 7, which costs £199 and Apple's iPad mini, which sells for £269.

Sebastian James, chief executive of Dixons Retail, Europe's second biggest electricals retailer, said earlier this month that although there is a market in Britain for cheap and basic tablets, consumers were often left disappointed by purchases.

Tesco declined to say how many Hudls it expected to sell but said its supply chain can be flexed to meet demand.

The device will initially launch in Britain only, though a roll-out to the group's overseas markets in Europe and Asia could be considered in the future.