It was the device that was going to do away with the PC. The one that showed that a format directed specifically to the consumption of contents could triumph. The iPad set the tone, but unlike what has happened with the iPhone, this disruption has been a short – range.
This is demonstrated by the evolution of unit sales over the last quarters: all manufacturers are resenting, and although the tablets still have their place, they are being cornered by the big diagonal smartphones. Fortunately the format is living a second youth thanks to its reinvention: convertible tablets make more sense now than ever.
Digitimes appeared this week in the news of how ASUS was reorganizing the division dedicated to the segment of the tablets. He started doing it in 2016 and “has significantly reduced the number of his projects for new tablets, as well as the number of units distributed in 2016.”
The restructuring of this part of the business ASUS has made the company relocate hundreds of employees formerly devoted to the development and commercialization of tablets divisions such as virtual and augmented reality, but also their business smartphones, and according to Data of this newspaper that process will conclude in 2017.
It is not the only manufacturer that is ran away: Dell said goodbye to summer pure tablets, and those who have not left the ship are clearly reducing their dedication to these devices. Even Apple, which continues to lead this segment, has seen the importance of this part of the business was reduced in the last fiscal quarters.
Even Apple, which continues to lead this segment, has seen how the relevance of this part of the business declined in recent fiscal quarters
The latest report from IDC showed the bleak outlook for the tablets: in the third quarter of 2016 have been distributed (not necessarily the same as “sold”) 43 million units, representing a 14.7% less than the same period of the previous year.
Almost all manufacturers are losing ground, and there is only good news for Amazon, which has managed to take this time to sell their cheap tablets like hotcakes, and Huawei, which curiously has also managed to capture the interest of the Asian market.
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That loss of relevance seems inevitable, and by a study by Gartner a year ago, encrustation consulting to technology consumers also confirmed the loss of interest. Purchase intent in the coming months left some striking figures: 50% of respondents planned to buy a PC (or laptop) over the next 12 months and only 21% planned to buy a tablet.
That fact does not help the fact that the segment has been attacked by all fronts. Smartphones have increased in size gradually and already provide many of the advantages of the tablets, but the tablets and convertible notebooks have become much more versatile versions of these devices.
There is also another important factor: the renewal of our smartphones is relatively fast, and many users change phones every year or at least every two years. In the segment of tablets that need renovation it is much lower , and the cycles are extended. Maybe not as much as PCs and laptops, but certainly enough to make manufacturers can not apply the same model as smartphones.
The tablets are reinventing themselves: live the convertibles
Salvation market is underway, however: the emergence of devices like the Surface Pro Microsoft has led the way for tablets convertibles, devices that can be used both as tablets and laptop computers thanks to the inclusion of deployable and folding keyboards or Which also offers this capability.
All manufacturers are now migrating to that concept and combining it with the convertible notebook, adopting the traditional notebook format but have a traditional keyboard and a detachable screen or rotating tablet to provide that format that gives users more options.
It seems unlikely that we see successors to the iPad Air 2 or the iPad mini 4, something that is especially significant: if the one who created the category stops believing in it, it will be for something
The movement of the manufacturers towards this new segment of devices is patent. Launches convertible tablets are becoming more frequent, and intentions of companies like Dell also indicated that ad – or HP.
We interviewed a few months ago Achim Kuttler, vice president of personal devices, and he himself admitted that “The tablet market as such is disappearing, the 2 in 1 grow to 80% “.
Even Apple has had to give in to the evidence: the emergence of the iPad Pro proves it: the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 4 were the company’s latest pure tablets: launched in October 2014 and September 2015 respectively, and since then there has been a renewal of these formats, something that is especially noticeable in the case of the iPad Air 2. It seems unlikely to see successors to these devices, which is especially significant: if the person who created the category stop believing in it, will be by something.