Many bloggers out there are making a pretty big deal about the tablet sales decline over 2014. I would like to throw my opinion into the pile.
My point is plain and simple: DUH!
We called this in 2012 on our Podcast when we debated “Post PC Vs. PC Plus”.
Tablet sales grew fast at first because no one had one! As soon as the critical mass of sales hit a certain point it was inevitable that tablet sales would decline. There is a very simple reason for this (in my opinion): it’s too hard to WORK on a tablet.
It is difficult to do actual work on a tablet, let’s be honest! In order to make it more usable for business or work you need to buy all sorts of attachments, like a keyboard, etc, and by the time you’re done your tablet looks like a smaller more cluttered laptop! The only difference is that it is less powerful, it has specialized software to does things that existing software already does, and it takes much longer to set up. Soooooooooooo, tablets suck for work!
The ONLY exception is the Microsoft Surface Pro, because you can develop Windows mobile apps on the same device you plan to run it on, which is pretty convenient. Control + F5, and your app is running! No need to export to a package or anything painful like that. PLUS you can use all legacy and modern Windows applications! I digress…
Tablets have been more conducive for content consumption rather than creation. By the way, I already spent a bunch of money for a content consumer… My smart phone! So, if my smart phone can do whatever my tablet can, then what is my incentive to buy a tablet? If I cannot use my tablet for work, then it is basically a big phone with no phone or Internet service. NOW Apple is launching iPhones with larger screens (Android has done this for years already) and I believe that pretty much covers the need for a tablet.
So are we in a Post PC or a PC Plus world? I believe that has never changed: PC Plus. At least for the foreseeable future. For now, I believe that hybrids are the most usable technology. We have many decades of technology that are based on the “point and click” methodology, and “touch” technology (albeit cool and very useful) is not refined enough for more in-depth computer “work”, such as programming. I love touch screen monitors a lot, and I think as far as home or office work is concerned a beefy desktop or laptop with a large touch screen monitor is perfect! Tablets are great for on-the-go, BUT so is a smart phone. Also, older model tablets are still just fine, so there is no incentive to buy a new one ever few years, like there is with ever expanding smart phones and eye-popping improvements with PCs. I still use my Surface Pro first gen, and it does everything I need. The Phablet craze may be what overtakes tablets in the short term, simply because they are more usable.
It’s not like tablet sales have stopped! They have just slowed down. That doesn’t mean that tablets will go the way of Sega Dreamcast, it just means that there is some more innovation that needs to take place in that arena. Maybe with more competition we can achieve that. As long as the big 3 are raking in all the sales and getting all the attention we can expect little improvements over time.
Just my two cents!
Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!