Original story (published: 6 May 2014): Tesco will release a follow-up to its entry-level tablet, the Hudl, this year, according to the British supermarket giant’s CEO Philip Clarke.
Speaking with BBC Radio 5 Live, Clarke said the successor to last year’s £119 slate will arrive in September, adding that the original had sold 550,000 units so far.
This will be followed by a Hudl smartphone by the end of the year, Clarke said.
Unlike the affordable Hudl, Tesco’s smartphone may target the higher end of the market. BBC News reports that the Hudl phone’s specs will be comparable to Samsung’s Galaxy S5, but priced more aggressively.
The phone, like the Hudl tablet, will come preloaded with Tesco services as part of a broader ecosystem play. Clarke said Tesco plans to launch smartphone-based banking services in the near future, so it’s likely they will figure prominently on the handset when it arrives.
UPDATE: Tesco claims that it has shelved plans for an Android smartphone but the Hudl 2 is still on schedule for this month.
Since we originally published this story, Tesco CEO Philip Clarke has been replaced by Dave Lewis. This may be Lewis’s way of stamping his authority on the conglomerate.
Ditching a proposed high-end handset, “comparable to the Galaxy S5”, may end up being a wise move on Tesco’s part. After all, the Hudl is an affordable tablet, which ties in to the supermarket chain’s money-saving image. A premium Android smartphone, with a price tag to match, may have been to high a jump for Tesco.
Additionally, it has probably monitored the market to note that the entry-level market is currently dominated by the likes of affordable 4G handsets such as the Moto G and Nokia Lumia 635 – making a cheap phone an unpredictable option too.
Finally, the underwhelming reception of the Amazon Fire phone (which just hit the UK), may have been the final nail in the coffin for a Tesco Hudl handset. The premium Android device from Amazon, which like the Hudl carries retail-centric software, has failed to attract consumers in the US.
Nonetheless, Tesco hasn’t completely ruled out the release of a Hudl smartphone in the future. Robin Terrell, Group Multi-Channel Director at Tesco, states; “the mobile market has become even more competitive, [therefore we’ve] put the phone on hold.”
In regard to the Hudl 2, Tesco claims it will launch imminently and be a marked improvement on its predecessor in every department. Terell states that screen size will be larger this time round and speed and design will also be upgraded.