The Next Big Thing
Have tablets peaked?Brian Cooley discusses the slow-growing tablet market and what manufacturers need to do to make sales spike.
Tablets, we haven't talked about them in a while and there's a reason for that. You don't need any research to know that tablets flag behind Smartphones substantially just look at the people around you. IDC predicts will end in 2014 with 1.2 billion Smartphones shipped, almost 20% more than the year before. Compare those numbers to tablets, slated to move only about 250 million units in the year about a fifth of the smartphone sales and declining in 2014 for the first time. Best Buy CEO, Hubert Joly recently said that tablet sales at his store were, Collapsing and you hear anecdotally from consumers that they find that the older tablet they bought a number of years ago, it's still good enough. I almost never hear them say that about their smartphone. So in light of all this, manufacturers are, of course, doing what they can to spark a market. A large market, but one that seems to have crested. Here are some what you should watch for, starting with Phablets. Depending on the size and who's counting, these little big screen devices can count as tablets or phones. Either way, they are arguably the hottest thing going right now, at least related to tablets. Convertibility. Now, a lot of users have realized in the last couple of years that having a smartphone, a notebook, and a tablet is a device too many. The phone is supremely portable and applicable, the notebook is the most powerful. So convertible tablets seem to have found some traction being the most positionable. Pretty tough road. This was a big gotcha for a lot of tablet buyers who realized no a tablet is not a thinner, skinner laptop. It's got less power. It has less applicability. It runs less powerful software. So now we're finding that there's a one off out there with Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 which is the only one that's really trying to say a tablet can be a full PC replacement. They're alone in this one and having a pretty tough road. Display quality. This one tends to have good traction in the tablet market, because it's a big enough screen where you can really show off and be wowed by and appreciate the improvement in the display technology. Brighter, better color, a finer dot pitch, more than HD resolution. These really pop on a tablet. It's kind of hard to appreciate them on a phone. Finally, there's the very pedestrian-sounding keyboard quality. But go to a big conference or a huge classroom today, where you used to see a sea of notebooks a few years ago, you're likely seeing a sea of tablets today, with keyboards attached. If you really wanna get into your tablet and do some kind of work, having an excellent quality keyboard is essential.