If I were the head of some tech company like ASUS that just made the first Android tablet that had any reasonable amount of consumer demand I'd be quite happy to let my potential customers think that we had made every single tablet that we could. The thing stopping us from making more is, we're having certain supply issues. Kind of adds that "must have" feel to your product doesn't it?
That's not going to be good enough for ASUS. No sir, they want you to know that they didn't forecast demand at all, they just shipped what they have on hand from the first production run and hoped it didn't come back.
When asked about the Transformer shortage ASUSTek Spokesperson David Chang said:
"It really depends on the demand. The current demand surpasses our expectations by far."
The Transformer was conceived, designed, developed, produced and shipped with no idea at all of it's demand. I guess that's the quick and inexpensive way of conducting market research. Ship 100,000 units and see what happens. Ship 200,000 the next month and hope for the best. Sold all 300,000? That's a winner!
Who can blame them, really? The Galaxy Tab and Xoom aren't lighting the world on fire and Android tablet demand just doesn't seem to be there. Why order 800,000 units like Motorola did with the Xoom if there is no demand?
The tech world is littered with failures in the CE space. Look at all of the MP3 players that came after the iPod. The Zune, everything from Creative and SanDisk. Some of these were really great products, but they weren't iPods, so they fell on their collective faces. How was ASUS to know that their Transformer wouldn't be the next big flop?
They could have done a little market research to gauge consumer interest in their product. Car makers do research. Clothing makers, beer brewers, fast food restaurants, Apple. They all float their product ideas in front of a tightly selected group of consumers to gauge interest in, and demand for their next great thing.
A little market research goes a long way.