Tesco brings personalisation to the fore with new Hudl tablet

Tesco has focused on personalisation for the launch of its new Hudl tablet as it looks to use the launch to prove its innovation credentials and that it is listening to what customers really want.

Video: Tesco explains its new Hudl tablet

At a launch event in London this morning (3 October), Tesco’s group digital officer Michael Comish revealed a new device that he said was a complete redesign of the original. He said Tesco had designed the new tablet “with customers and what they said they wanted” in mind, with the aim of launching a device that is “welcoming and accessible to all”.

“We take pride in making technology accessible. The first Hudl was about showing that technology is for everyone not just the few. But half the country still has no access to a tablet,” he added.

In response to a question from Marketing Week, Comish said the new Hudl is aimed at portraying Tesco as an innovative tech company that listens to its customers and reacts to what they need.

“[The Hudl brand] starts with innovation. When Tesco is at its best it is listening to its customers and it is innovating around what they need. That is exactly what this device has done. At its best it is us really understanding what our customers want and making it really simple and easy for them to meet those expectations,” he said.

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The new Hudl will offer greater personalisation than the first device. The tablet comes in eight different colours and a range of accessories so customers can create a personalised look, with more than 200 colour combinations available.

On the device itself, widgets offer customers easy access to Tesco services. For example, the device will offer information such as how many Clubcard points customers have, when their next Tesco online order is being delivered and how far through reading a Blinkbox e-book they are.

Despite rumours that new chief executive Dave Lewis is considering selling Blinkbox, he digital service takes pride of place on the tablet. Access to services including Blinkbox movies, TV and books is available, as well as Tesco’s shopping services, is available through a dedicated button.

Tesco has also introduced a “parent filter”, working with parent support group The Parent Zone to develop controls that let parents filter content that might be unsuitable for children while allowing adults full access. The app lets parents assign profile to up to 7 people that filters websites and apps and limits how long each user can spend on the tablet.

The first Hudl was a surprise success, selling 750,000 units, and Tesco hopes the latest version will take “user experience” to the next level. The device is three times faster than its predecessor, comes with a bigger 8.3-inch HD screen and improved front and rear-facing cameras.

“We think this is the best tablet in the UK. The first Hudl was used as a secondary device, we expect this to be the primary device for many people,” said Comish.

Despite the decision to can the planned Hudl smartphone, Comish said Tesco’s foray into tablets is “commercially viable”, although he wouldn’t be drawn on whether there will be further iterations of the device. New boss Lewis is currently conducting a thorough review of Tesco which is expected to result in ventures that are not core to its grocery business being shut down or sold off.

Lewis has previously said that Tesco needs to “go back to the core” to turnaround a faltering performance that has seen the retailer issue a number of profit warnings as sales and market share fall. Last week it warned that profits would be £250m lower than previously estimated due to accounting errors, severely hitting the brand’s reputation.

The new tablet goes on sale on 9 October for £129, slightly more than the first iteration which cost £120. It will also be available through the Clubcard Boost scheme, meaning Tesco customers that save their Clubcard points will be able to buy one in exchange for as little as £65 worth of vouchers.

A marketing campaign to launch the new tablet will launch next week.

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