Really? Tabs are dying? Tabs are no longer in frequent use? Or is it something like people are using them only when they need them? Like something really useful which is to be used only when required and not for all-time purpose. And we did already have a debate on this recently in a friends’ meet.
Yes, tabs are dying!
For a few years after the 2010 launch of the iPad, there seemed to be a gold rush, with every company — from PC makers like Dell to phone companies like HTC and even the cassette-tape vendor Maxell — making tablets. Fast forward to 2017, and 2-in-1s, which serve as both laptops and slates, are popular, but the market for stand-alone tablets has fallen through the floor. Do you even need a tablet these days?
Tablet sales have dropped 30 percent since their peak in 2013 and declined a full 15 percent between 2015 and 2016. And trust me, it could have been ever sharper!
The public’s romance with tablets is over, because average phones have gotten large enough to serve as great mediaconsumption devices, and because laptops, which are far superior productivity devices, have gotten lighter and more affordable. A 2016 consumer survey from Deloitte asked 30,000 respondents to name their preferred device types for 15 different activities, which ranged from watching TV to conducting video chats and shopping online. The tablet was the preferred device for none of these activities. Alarming, isn’t? (asking the tabs lovers!)
But wait…what if, tabs are getting to the point of being really useful?
Tablet PCs today are more like landlines phones and calculators. People have them but they hardly put them to use. And when they use these devices, their requirements are limited to a specific set of pointers. Despite the lack of appeal for consumers, markets continue to see new devices still flourishing. Why is that even happening?
Before understanding this crucial part, let’s explore the current market situation for tablets. Worldwide tablet shipments, inclusive of slates and detachable, reached 38.7 million in the second quarter of 2016. The sharp decline in sales is seen due to a thrust given towards either large screen phones or their elder brothers named laptops.
What made the mindset change?
Logically, there is a sharp change in mindset these days. Usually when people consider buying tablets, they would rather opt for a phone with larger screen, as mostly the latter would do almost all the work that can be done on a tablet. The market for tablet initially started as a trend, with larger screen size for playing games and watching videos. It was the perfect pass time device which can be used anywhere and anytime.
Long gone are the days when Samsung used to unleash a new tablet every month in order to have an edge over its competitors like Asus and Sony. Tablets that are still making through dry time are the ones that are mostly ‘hybrids’ such as Lenovo’s Yoga Tab 3 Pro and Google Pixel C which are mainly semi laptops a.k.a tabtops.
Are smartphones killing off the tablet PCs?
With upgradation to slimmer, sleeker and attachable keyboard, tablets are becoming like phones or laptops. It is used as a leisure device at home for celebs’ latest Twitter rant, binge-watching The Walking Dead in bed, or checking Facebook, and most people’ needs are fulfilled by the model they already own.
The entertainment purpose of tablets is slowly diminishing, and diversifying into anything which is related to mobile phones or laptops. Ideally, it is more common to TVs, PCs or gaming consoles. They’re an investment you make once every few years, and, ideally, when you feel like upgrading it, you’ll be getting something significantly better than what you had before.Additionally, the luxury aspect is also declining.
Is the next wave of tablet innovation in the making?
However, the action is still not completely off, as companies like Microsoft, with its Surface line of tablets, is still making noise. In the meantime, Samsung TabPro S, Google Pixel C and Apple iPad Pro are all making strides, too. Well, the tablets may not have a consistent future, but it is sure that they’re not dead yet. It’s just that for now, the companies need to develop a new approach to have stability in market. There is a significant difference between slate tablets and detachable tablets and that detachable tablet shipments are expected to grow over 30%, due to increased market demand and new models launched by vendors. So, the next round of innovation in tablet PCs might be on its way.
Whatever the future of tablets maybe, one thing can be said that most of us will be viewing this article on phones or laptop, not in that 2-year-old tablet which were perhaps received as a birthday gift.
Tabs are dying or not, the hype is definitely dead!
But the only hope remains, may be tabs would come back, or at least they would find a way in the “useful” zone. Even though their popularity is waning, there’s still a place for tablets, however limited. Predictions say that tablet sales will fall another 10 percent in 2017, but that still amounts to around 165 million units worldwide. One of those tablets could be right for you, but only if you need it for a very specific purpose.
Reasons to Buy a Tablet:
Despite their limitations, there are several reasons you might buy a tablet, though these motivations don’t apply to everyone.
- Kids’ device: Tablets are ideal first devices for children who are too young to have a smartphone. There’s a huge ecosystem of kid-friendly mobile apps and games for both Android and iOS, and the interfaces for the two mobile operating systems are so simple that even a toddler can master them. Children ages 10 and under use tablets a lot, but by age 14, most kids employ either smartphones or laptops as their primary computing devices.
- Reading: If you want a larger screen for reading books, an inexpensive 7- or 8-inch tablet could be your best choice. While many bookworms prefer dedicated eReaders like the Amazon Kindle, tablets can be used to surf the web, play games or check social media for those times when you’re not reading. Small tablets are the best choice for reading comic books and graphic novels, because they offer full color.
- Entertainment for travelers: Whether you’re flying around the world or taking the bus to work, you need to stay entertained on your journey. You can watch movies or catch up on your favorite shows on a tablet. Though you can, of course, perform these tasks very well on a smartphone, using a tablet will preserve your phone’s battery and give you a larger display to view.
- Large-screen drawing and note-taking: If you need to take notes or fill out forms while standing or, if you need to do serious drawing, an 11- or 12-inch tablet like the iPad Pro or the Surface Pro 4 could be a good solution. Most tablets in this size and price category also have optional keyboards that make the devices good for writing. Expect to spend $700 or more. However, at those prices — or even for less — you can just buy a dedicated 2-in-1 that turns into a tablet.
“ Whatever the future of tablets maybe, one thing can be said that most of us will be viewing this article on phones or laptop, not in that 2-yearold tablet which were perhaps received as a birthday gift.
You Don’t Need a Tablet for These Tasks
- Photography: Your phone probably has a much better camera than anything a tablet can provide. And a smartphone is easier to point and shoot.
- Mobile gaming: Unless you want to get a tablet for a child who has no phone, a smartphone is better for gaming and makes it easier to move or steer in games that require tilting the device.
- Email and social media: There’s no real benefit to engaging in these activities on a tablet rather than your existing phone or computer.
- Productivity: A 2-in-1 or a clamshell laptop is much better for writing and editing documents.