Large Screens Won’t Spur Tablet Sales

 Tablets  Comments Off on Large Screens Won’t Spur Tablet Sales
Nov 152015

As the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro goes on sale at Best Buy, Apple stores and Amazon, a big question looms on many minds.

Will large screen tablets from Apple and Microsoft spur growth in the flagging tablet market?

12.9 inch iPadPro Tablet

Tablet Slowdown

Tablets have not been on anyone’s hot, must buy list for the last couple of years.

And it shows in the poor performance numbers of major tablet vendors.

It’s no secret that Microsoft’s Surface tablets have been a disaster costing the company nearly a billion dollars in losses.

Over the last three years, Microsoft has put out multiple versions of its Surface and Surface Pro tablet line (not including the Surface Book laptop with a detachable screen for use as a tablet).

Still, Surface/Surface Pro continues to struggle and Microsoft’s share of the tablet market remains pitifully low. According to IDC’s tablet market share estimates for the third quarter of 2015, Surface was not even among the Top Five vendors and had less than 1.8% share.

Apple’s iPad tablet sales have fallen for the last seven quarters.

The picture is bleak for Samsung, Asus, Sony and scores of other tablet vendors too.

Bigger Screens

Amidst a drought in tablet sales, comes a wave of 12-inch tablets.

Apple’s iPad Pro has a 12.9 inch display while Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 and Surface Pro 3 come in at 12.3 inches and 12 inches respectively.

Samsung’s new Galaxy View tablet has a whopping 18.4 inch screen while the company’s older line of Galaxy Note Pro and Galaxy Tab Pro sport 12.2 inch screens.

Asus, Sony, Dell and several other vendors also now offer tablets with displays of 12-inches or more.

It’s as if tablet vendors together believe that a bigger display is the silver bullet to galvanize sales.

Large Screen Tablets

Tough Times will Continue

In our view, larger screen tablets are unlikely to provide a fillip to tablet sales.

Apple, Samsung, Sony and others are chasing a chimera with their large screen tablets.

Tablet vendors seeking to drive growth face multiple problems that larger displays will not fix.

First, tablet owners are not in a hurry to replace their devices.

Most users are content with their existing iPad or Android tablets. Our four-year-old iPad 2 is going strong and we have no plans to replace it.

Second, businesses have never been a huge driver of tablet sales.

Barring retail POS and a few high profile orders at airlines, tablets have not made a huge impact in the business arena. Tablets remain largely a consumer entertainment play.

Third, tablet prices still remain at high levels while the cost of other consumer electronic devices like TVs have fallen sharply.

A 16GB 9.7 iPad Air 2 starts at $500.

The 12.9 inch iPad Pro starts at $800 (32GB model) and the 12.3 inch Surface Pro 4 at $899, both without must have accessories like the keyboard.

An entry level Sony Vaio Z Canvas Windows 10 tablet will set you back $2,200.

For the price of an entry level iPad Pro or a Surface Pro 4 tablet from Microsoft, you can get a 55-inch LED 3D TV from Sony or a 60-inch Vizio LED TV plus one full year of Netflix streaming.

As tablet screen sizes and prices increase, consumers will likely view large screen, smart TVs as providing better entertainment and gaming value.

The competition for large screen tablets will come from TV sets whose prices have been crashing.

Consumers might pick a second or third or fourth LED/LCD TV for their home rather than fork out $800-$2,200 for a large screen tablet.

Finally, market maturity in countries like the U.S. has also hit tablet sales.

There are only so many people who can buy iPads or Samsung tablets and those who do have already purchased them.

Unless there’s a miracle or a sharp price drop, pricey large screen tablets are doomed and will not boost tablet sales.

Tablet sales will increasingly happen at the low end with devices like Amazon’s 7-inch $50 tablet (buy 5, get one free).

Our recommendation for those in the market for premium tablets from Apple, Microsoft or Samsung is to wait for a few months for the discounts to start in full swing.

Rotten iPad Quarter Better than Glorious Surface Year

 Tablets  Comments Off on Rotten iPad Quarter Better than Glorious Surface Year
Jul 212015

The critics and analysts are shouting themselves hoarse that the sky is falling vis-a-vis sales of Apple’s iPad tablets.

Tis’ true that Apple’s fiscal 3Q of 2015 witnessed the sixth consecutive quarterly decline in iPad sales.

iPad unit sales tumbled to 10.9 million units, a 13% decline over the previous quarter and down 19% year-over-year.

But keep in mind that iPad revenues in the third quarter of 2015 amounted to $4.54 billion compared to $3.6 billion for Microsoft for the full fiscal 2015. Continue reading »

8 Devices Doomed to Fail

 Linux, Products, Smartphones, Tablets  Comments Off on 8 Devices Doomed to Fail
Jul 082015

In the digital media world, failure is the norm and success an aberration.

For every Xiaomi, MacBook, iPod and iPhone that rock the world and win millions of happy fans, there are countless Surface, Google Glass, Apple Watch, Windows Phone and Zune devices that should never have seen the light of day and ultimately kiss the dust after blowing through hundreds of millions of dollars!

And the story of failed music players, stick PCs, tablets, mini PCs and smartphones plays on year after year with scores of devices shunned by customers, languishing on store shelves and ultimately ending in fire sales.

No Hope Devices

In this post, we’ll look at eight consumer electronics eight devices that are currently available but have an extremely slim chance of success in the marketplace.

Intel Linux Compute StickIntel Ubuntu Stick

1. Intel Ubuntu Stick – It’s hard to believe thinking minds in Intel conjured up a Linux PC stick with 1GB RAM and 8GB of storage (actual storage is lower because of space taken up by the OS). Onboard storage is pitiful and the RAM so woefully inadequate that the device offers little value. If this gadget is around for even six-months, it’ll be a big surprise. Truth be said, it’s doubtful if Intel can get traction even for the Windows stick PC which comes with slightly better specs.

2. Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet – Against the backdrop of declining tablet sales, Sony executives must be living in la la land to dream that the pricey Xperia Z4 tablet has any hope of winning the favor of consumers. A modest improvement over the company’s Z2 Android tablet, the 10.1-inch Z4 tablet made it to Europe in June 2015 after its debut at the Mobile World Congress.

Sony Xperia Z4 TabletSony Xperia Z4

Poor quality speakers, bloatware apps, compulsory bundling of a mediocre dock (in UK), disappointing camera and a ridiculous price ($771 with the keyboard) guarantees that consumers will show little interest in the Sony Xperia Z4 tablet. The LTE version (available for pre-order) costs $897 (including the keyboard). Continue reading »

Sinking, Sinking, Tablet Market Sinking

 Tablets  Comments Off on Sinking, Sinking, Tablet Market Sinking
May 282015

Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
Tablet vendors should prepare for unsold inventory piling up on shelves and significant losses in 2015.

The market for tablets has slowed down as mature markets like the US hit saturation levels and consumers are reluctant to replace their existing devices.

In emerging markets like China and India, tablets have yet to catch on in as big a way as smartphones.

Increasing sales of phablets (large screen smartphones) is another nail in the tablet coffin.

So how should consumers take advantage of the current slowdown?

Consumers in the market for new tablets should wait a few months for the inevitable discounts and price cuts to begin before they take the plunge.

The tablet category includes both slate tablets and 2-in-1s.

Tablet Market Slowdown

Tablet Shipments – Sinking

This morning, market researcher IDC put out a depressing report on the tablet business warning of a 3.8% decline in shipments in 2015 to 221.8 million units. Continue reading »

Sluggish Market Leaves Tablet Vendors in Tears

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May 212015

Tablet Market Sluggish
The tablet market is basically imploding.

In free fall.

The number crunchers at ABI Research have found that shipments of OEM branded tablets experienced a year-over-year decline of 13% in the first quarter of 2015.

Here’s what ABI’s Research Analyst Stephanie Van Vactor had to say on the current challenging times for tablets:

There is no denying the market is losing its momentum. The market is in the process of going through a transition as developed markets shift to a refresh/replacement cycle. In addition, vendors are feeling the squeeze due to new devices gaining traction in the market that are in direct competition with tablets, for example, 2-in-1s, phablets, and Chromebooks.

If our experience offers any clues, consumers in mature markets like the US are not replacing their tablets. Our four-year-old iPad 2 is still going strong and we have no plans on replacing it anytime soon. And if our behaviour represents a microcosm of other buyers, the replacement cycle really isn’t all that strong.

Adding to tablet vendors’ woes, phablets (large-screen smartphones) and 2-in-1s are pushing into tablet territory.

ABI Research predicts branded tablet growth will remain flat to slightly negative over the next year.

Tablet Vendors – Painful Times

Major tablet vendors including Apple and Samsung are experiencing much pain. Continue reading »

Surface 3 – A Sure Flop Hits the Market

 Tablets, Windows  Comments Off on Surface 3 – A Sure Flop Hits the Market
May 062015

Surface 3 Tablet - A Sure DudSo far Microsoft’s Surface tablets have proved to be a huge dud.

Consumers across the world have largely yawned or shown the device their collective middle finger.

When it comes to tablets and their use on the Internet, consumers have flocked to Apple’s iPad. Even Google’s Android, despite the many vendors supporting the platform, has failed to crack the iPad citadel.

But it’s Surface’s dismal failure that has attracted attention since the product comes from the Microsoft stable.

Microsoft’s repeated discounts and price cuts have not helped Surface to curry favor with digital media consumers.

By our calculation, Microsoft has lost over a billion dollars on its disastrous Surface foray.

Microsoft’s mistakes with Surface were several – Late to market, too few apps, lacked the cachet of iPad, not a solid device, and too pricey.

A more sensible company would have thrown in the towel. Continue reading »