Tesco has scrapped plans to launch its smartphone to concentrate on Hudl 2 – the successor to its tablet computer – after admitting that the mobile market was too competitive for it to succeed.
At the time it was announced in May, the idea did not go down well with analysts, with one independent advisor Steve Dresser saying Tesco needed to “stick to the knitting”.
Now, writing in a blog post, Tesco group multi-channel director Robin Terrell said: “As we developed the 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.”
Tesco has sold more than 500,000 Hudl tablets since launching ahead of Christmas last year, and Terrell claims it has been “tremendously successful for families” by bringing to market a product that is affordable for all its customers.
He added: “We have built on the success of Hudl to develop Hudl 2, which will launch soon. Giving just a little detail away, Hudl 2 improves on just about every area of its predecessor, from screen size to speed, design and accessories.
“Where the first Hudl was used by many as a secondary device, Hudl 2 has the capability to take its place as customers’ primary tablet in the home.”
Although Tesco says the decision was made back in July – before the exit of chief executive Philip Clarke – it is likely to be the first of many changes under new boss Dave Lewis, who has already pledged to concentrate on the retailer’s core business.
One analyst said: “Inevitably what we will see over this period of change is some of the things that were done in the past couple of years will be sidelined. They might not have been wrong at the time but the full focus might be on the core business in terms of financial resources and where execs spend their time. The phone has been put on hold and likely will be shuffled silently out and we’ll see that in other areas as well.”
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