Earlier this year in May Tesco planned to launch its own branded smartphone device, the Hudl, but Tesco announced today its plans to shelf the product. Allegedly, this is so Tesco can focus on their new tablet, the Hudl 2, but the competition from Apple‘s iPhone 6 and Amazon‘s Fire will undoubtedly have played a part in the supermarket‘s decision to withdraw the product.
Robin Terrell, the supermarket‘s multichannel director, said the decision had been made despite his conviction that it offered customers something that was lacking in the mobile market. He said: “As we developed our idea in the first few months of the year, we could see a gap we could fill for our customers. The technology sector is fast changing and constantly evolving and since then, the mobile market has become even more competitive. So in early July, I took the decision that we would put the phone on hold and concentrate on the Hudl 2 tablet.”
The new smartphone was supposed to feature pre-installed Tesco services, including its TV and film service, Blinkbox. Whether this would tempt customers away from Amazon‘s offer of a year‘s free Amazon Prime membership included with their Fire smartphone is unclear. The Amazon Prime membership includes Prime Instant Video, Kindle Owners‘ Lending Library and unlimited one-day shipping for free. Amazon also unveiled plans last week to bring its TV streaming box, Fire TV, to the UK for the first time as well.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, said: ‘Fire is a premium phone with breakthrough technologies Dynamic Perspective and Firefly, access to exclusive features including live video tech support with the Mayday button and free unlimited cloud photo storage, plus a full year of Prime membership-for £0 on the £33 O2 Refresh tariff only from O2.‘
In addition the the Amazon Fire, the Hudl will face yet more stiff competition, including from Samsung‘s latest Galaxy Note Edge, unveiled at the IFA technology show in Berlin last week, and the highly anticipated new iPhone 6 unveiled in San Francisco yesterday.
The supermarket‘s smartphone is also in competition with its supermarket rival Aldi, who launched their own smartphone at £79.99 last month. Competition between supermarkets is continuing, and the ability to lead the way in new technology will play a major part in who succeeds in this competitive environment. The newer version of Tesco‘s smartphone is said to be a significant improvement on the original Hudl, from screen size to speed, design and accessories. It has not yet been confirmed by Tesco when the Hudl 2 tablet will be released.