It doesn’t feel like it was very long ago that tablets were the must-have household item. Not only are they a hybrid medium to accessing the digital world, but they also provide an experience unlike any computer or smartphone. That trend is starting to fade though. Tablet sales are diminishing, and we have some pretty good ideas as to why:
The Necessity of Mobile Phones
When consumers picture the perfect mobile device, one of the most common requirements is the ability to instantly access the device, and therefore the internet, at any time and at any place. While smartphones are a no-brainer for an on-hand mobile device, this area tends to be the weakness of tablets as a whole. Due to the size of most tablets, you won’t see anyone walking around with one in their pocket. Smartphones on the other hand are easy to carry and always available. Phones can also be used with only one hand. And because they are so portable, convenient, and easy to use, it makes perfect sense as to why tablets are starting to become less desirable in the consumer market: Smartphones can do pretty much anything that tablets can do, and usually can do it better.
Inconsistent Pricing and Too Many Options
You will really only ever need one mobile device. Why bother buying both an inexpensive tablet and a mid-range cell phone when you could just get one high-end device? Considering recent sales figures and trends, it seems as though most consumers agree. While being able to own top-of-the-line devices for every occasion would be luxurious, it isn’t always practical. Until prices go down, consumers will have to choose between one or the other, and is putting a serious dent into the tablet market’s sales.
Beginning in 2014, tablet sales have been surpassed by PC sales.
Limitations of a Tablet
As previously mentioned, your mobile phone is able to be used virtually anywhere, giving it a huge advantage over tablets. Most of the time, tablets are used at home, work, or school, due to their size and method of operation. Because they can’t be used anywhere, they have a serious disadvantage to other mobile devices that offer all-in-one solutions. And with most tablets running the same operating systems (iOS and Android) as most mainstream smartphones, the only real difference between the phone and tablet is the screen size.
Absence of Improvement
When the iPad first arrived on the market, consumers flocked to the tech giant to drop car payments on what was at the time the holy grail of technological innovation. Nowadays, tablets have been carbon copied to the point of redundancy. Most tablets all offer the same exact features and selling points, essentially saturating the market to death. Smartphones, on the other hand, have been and continue to be the cash cows for major companies such as Apple, Motorola, and Samsung. In order to sustain the revenue gained by these devices, innovation must be abundant and releases must be annually; There must be a better alternative on the market every nine to twelve months or it dries up. Even Apple has been struggling with lack of innovation in the tablet market. Sure, they have announced the iPad Pro, but the only major differences between the new release and the previous generation of iPads is that it now is a tad bigger and has an additional-expense pencil stylus, a feature quite a few tablets have had for a while now. Companies are still scrambling to create the next must-have tablet, but all of the recent ideas that have been brought to the table are nowhere near as good as they would need to be to resuscitate the market.
Smartphones, Tablets, or Phablets?
Remember the first iPhone? That tiny, rugged piece of aluminum and glass was the absolute hottest thing to have. Now compare that original design to recent smartphone releases. The sizes are humongous compared to their original forefathers! This fad is known as the “phablet” craze, or hybrid phone-tablets that catered to consumers who wanted the portability of a mobile phone while having larger screen size. This middleman is eating a huge hole in the tablet market, as it is essentially destroying one of the largest selling points of tablets: the large screen size. With a phone that offers a large, high-resolution screen and the ability to still fit in your pocket, why bother buying a full-blown tablet? You have the next best thing.
The original iPhone alongside an iPhone 6 Plus
In the smartphone market, the name of the game is to have consumers upgrage their phones every single year. It keeps production numbers high, revenue flowing abundantly, and contract extensions signed. Personally, I upgrade my phone every two years, but many providers are offering some deals that are pretty hard to refuse, and lots of people are getting new phones as soon as they are released. While I have had three different phones in the past five years, I have only purchased one tablet, and it still does everything I need it to. The bigger screen isn’t going away anytime soon, but the fact of the matter is, the things tablets are designed to do don’t require advanced hardware. This pretty much eliminates the need for upgraded models going forward. Of course, the latest and greatest development in the mobile market seems to be the introduction to 64-bit processing, but tablets will likely never have to handle anything intensive enough to make 64-bit computing a requirement. You won’t be crunching complex mathematical calculations with extensive floating-point accuracy, you’ll be watching YouTube videos and playing the occasional 3D racing game while on a car ride. With that being said, not only are the hardware improvements somewhat pointless, but also consumers don’t even want them.
Because innovation seems to be at a standstill in the tablet market at this current time, the market won’t be expanding anytime soon. Sales will likely continue to decline, meaning a high supply of tablets, low demand, and ultimately low prices. When it finally becomes affordable to own both a cutting-edge smartphone and a top-of-the-line tablet, we could experience another boom, but until then, tablets are starting to become more and more irrelevant.