Following a, tablets won't have to do much to impress us in the upcoming new year. Since tablet manufacturers laid low in 2014, we expect some fireworks in 2015. By no means do I anticipate astronomical innovations in the category, but, like a , tablets will have to inject undeniably exciting elements into new models to capture the hearts and wallets of prospective buyers. Check out my expectations and hopes for what 2015 has in store below.
Better budget buys
Amazon changed the game with athat's actually worth your time and money. This new budget tablet benchmark means that you can no longer simply judge a slate by its bargain basement price. For penny-pinchers who desire a tablet that smoothly executes basic tasks -- like Web browsing, checking e-mail, and video streaming -- this new turn towards affordable pricing and adequate performance is a welcome sight. To be sure, rinky-dink tablets like the are still more common than we'd like, but we're hoping upcoming budget models will successfully rise to our new expectations. We'll see a few fresh models debut as soon as January and we expect many more as the year progresses.
Give me a killer app
This year there was a subtle rise in fancy features on high-end tablets and, unless you were paying close attention, you probably missed some of them. Theand house trendy fingerprint scanners, the rocks a 3D camera, the packs a projector, and the offers nifty item recognition software. In an oversaturated scene, these bells and whistles help slates stand out among their competition. The extras make pricey sweeter deals -- starring as the cherry on top of the cake -- and I hope to see more innovative dressings in the upcoming year.
Rise of the midsize
Historically, tablet sizes have ranged from 5 to 13 inches and, for the last few years, 7-inch tablets reigned as the prevalent form factor for portable models. In 2014 -- combined with the growing presence of-- we saw 8- to 9-inch tablets rise in popularity, taking over the 7-inch slate scene. These midsize tablets are still compact enough to easily carry in your bag and hold in one hand, but they offer more screen space for enjoying activities like games and movies. An excellent example is the . It's thin, light, easy to use in one hand and packs gobs of software features for its competitively low price. I expect to see more models in the 8- to 9-inch range continue to replace smaller slates.
Move beyond 'thinner is better'
In 2014, at least three different tablets claimed to be "the thinnest tablet ever" and, though a sleek aesthetic is always welcome, how much thinner can tablets get? At a certain point, the focus needs to shift from fashion to functionality. Superslim and lightweight slates are mighty fine, but a move toward inspired ergonomic design with a practical purpose will impress me more than another razor-thin tablet. Thehit the nail on the head with its sturdy aluminum frame and built-in adjustable kickstand. You can lay it down at an angle for comfortable typing, or prop it upright for hands-free video-watching. As it's a device that's primarily meant to be handheld, it's refreshing to see a thoughtfully designed model that enhances everyday use.
Tablet innovation hit somewhat of a plateau in 2014, despite some commendable releases. In the dull shadow of a humdrum year, we want upcoming 2015 models to give us a little something more to talk about and I'm hopeful for what's in store. What do you want to see from tablets in 2015? Let us know in the comments section.