Since November there has been a sway of articles over the demise of the tablet market, with percentages showing drops in sales figures over the years that the tablet has reigned 2013 – 2014 (just google/bing the title of the article and you’ll see)
Personally I think that’s tosh, there can be clear reasons that tablet sales have slowed (of that there’s no doubt) but the device is far from its last throws.
The Apple factor
Apple I have to admit won the marking war with the iPad without doubt, that and their customer loyality made the tablet synonymous with the word Pad. So it’s strange that it’s that company that are leading the tablets mourners saying the market is drying out and on the verge of death!
The reality is that Apple only recently entered the phablet /larger phone market. The gadget gurus and the loyal fan base, have something new to focus their wallet and purse strings at, leaving the ipad lower down on the priority list.
Added to the fact that phones are considered, more of a consumable than the tablet, after all you carry your phone more often than a tablet on your person. The device is going to get more wear and tear than the tablet and therefore will be replaced first before the precious ipad does.
Apples pricing and the introduction of a “big phone “ appears to have confused its following, the several variants of the smaller Ipad mini don’t give that much more to offer its user base (okay retina screens and fingerprint lock just aren’t essential) SO why bother to spend and upgrade a working tablet?
By entering the market late with a required device (everyone wanted a slightly bigger iphone before the 6 launch) throttled their own sales. The situation is likely to get more confused with the rumour that a C type 6 model (cheaper cut down) is likely to be treading the boards in 2015.
Samsung have a wide range of tablets, they also cover the bases on the must have phones with the Galaxy range. They went earlier than apple in the phablet market with their winner the Note, but there was a clearly defined difference between the phone/phablet/tablet range within the Galaxy famility, so Samsung rode the tide better.
The Tab range of tablets are cheaper and more accessible to buyers, so getting a tablet in addition to a phone is a more economic viability. The smaller cheaper tablets can be bought easily for kids as a spare machine Which opens up the field for more sales of the device.
Still in the same sea of confusion as apple owners, they’ve produced a solid and reliable tablet, so again Samsung owners, and even people with the impressive Nexus tablet don’t need to instantly replace the tablet as often as the phone, with its wear and tear and impressive new features, which Samsung look to be very good at pulling the bunny from the hat on a regular basis.
Again to a degree brand loyality comes onto play, but the S4 S5 were not quantum leaps of change, and the company has felt the slowdown in the mobile market (as have other manufacturers), quoting loss in profits this year.
The Windows factor.
The slumbering giant, dogged by critics when Microsoft launched Windows 8 the tablet market practically rolled over and belly flopped on Microsoft. The Surface tablet was okay but didn’t really show the full effect of Windows with them relying on (initially) the RT version of the OS ( a cut down risc processor based system)
The later releases with a full fat 8 and then 8.1 an improved version of the OS arose a little more interest even though it was more designed to keep the desktop brigade happy, and a few months later the Surface 3 entered the market.
Microsoft now had a machine that was worth the expense, the higher ranged variant of the model is on par with the mac book, and offers the user more easily accessible software range, being able to run the older PC software as well as the newer market place apps.
The high cost of the original tablets for a not very powerful device held back the windows tablet market, thankfully It was Microsoft opening up to other manufactures that also kept the tablet market alive for Windows, as of Christmas 2014, a tablet with full OS, the mighty Office series of apps was available for sub £200 for the 10” models.
If you’re willing to go smaller to 7” prices can be as low as £80, the market was a wash with brands from HP, Toshiba, Lynx, Bush etc. It would seem odd for people to manufacture such hardware to a dying market place.
2015 The Giant awakes ?
The PC desktop market has and will continue to decline, agile working staff flexibility all contributed to the breaking away from the desk. Also next year brings a new Windows O/S, where the company has listened to the users in an attempt to woo them away from the security of Windows 7.
The Kerfuffle caused by XP demise has mostly blown over, and now wer’e another year closer to the eventual retirement of Windows 7, users and IT now have to face the fact that going to new Windows will be a only option, for whatever reasons to dislike 8 it will be difficult to draw the same arguments for an OS that for the most is being led by users feedback
10 is going to be a highly polished and improved version of 8.1 The promise of an Easy upgrade path (if that happens) will be good for the existing user base, and a welcome reprieve for those that moved to 7 after the XP fuss.
The promise of an even better clear OS working across a range of devices, and the wide availability of the windows tablet in its many forms looks to be the right kind of tinder to light the fire and get Windows back in favour with users.
At the end of 2014 the Surface 3 was announced at the gadget of the year. A great but unfair title as the Surface is no gadget, it’s a well designed device that has grown and fitted well into a place in the market (the tablet that can replace your laptop). So Microsoft have become Apple with their hardware leading the market, but not just their own device, the availability to have a Windows based “pad” from an alternative manufacturer has allowed them to control a range of devices for the tablet market with other OEM’s.
HP’s Stream move the tablet into Chromebook territory (with the advantage you can work off line too) again opening up a new possible approaches that tablet can transform into (netbook/2 in 1)
The tablet is far from dead, without doubt market trends have slowed/reduced sale but they’re not for the bin just yet. People’s familiarity with the touch screen is an easy transferable skill to move to the tablet. Come mid 2015 especially for Windows I think you’ll be seeing more of the Windows tablets and less of the “pads”.
With CES kicking off wait and see what the manufactures reveal and we’ll see if the tablet is truly dead.