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Market now refusing to take its tablets


via Flickr © melenita2012 (CC BY 2.0)

That was quick! The rise of tablet is apparently over and we’re now witnessing its decline and fall. Apple, for instance, the instigator of the tablet market when it launched the iPad to great acclaim in 2010, has been losing both market share and volume over the last two quarters, indicating a 23 per cent year-on-year decline.

Samsung too, the other big player in the tablet market, has suffered an even bigger 30 per cent decline in tablet sales.

What goes around, comes around. The tablet was widely thought to have caused the crash of that  sudden arrival of the mid naughties, the netbook - a light-weight, tiny, underspecified PC whose main advantage was that it was the low-cost option in the computer store.

The tablet appeared to muscle in on this market as an even less demanding product to use but one aimed squarely at Web access. So even the iPad (which wasn’t exactly cheap) soared away in the sales charts. So what’s crashed the tablet?

There seems to have been a range of factors. Analysts talk of a market in transition (they always say that) but there’s no doubt that three culprits are in the frame:  the phablet category provide an ‘almost’ tablet media experience with smartphone portability; the Chromebooks fill the low-cost niche formerly occupied by the netbooks but do so with smartphone sophistication and low levels of complexity; and the new, 2 in 1 category of tablet/PC fill the multiple use-case slot.

The tablet won’t go away, but it will simply take its place as one of the gadgets which might be most useful in certain circumstances.

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