As quickly as the tablet came is as quick as it’s predicted to be replaced.
The rise of phone/tablet hybrids, or phablets, and consumers’ willingness to hang on to their current devices are slowing down the tablet market, says research firm IDC, who further defined phablet as a smartphone with screen size of 5.5 to 7 inches. But, is the tablet’s demise completely just or is this mobile device under premature scrutiny?
Forecasts for global tablet shipments in 2014 dipped to 245.4 million, compared to the original forecast of 260.9 million. Overall, tablet shipments are expected to jump 12%, substantially lower than the 51% year-over-year surge in 2013.
What’s the source of this drastic change in tablet allure?
The simple ‘unknown’ of tablet purchasing habits has been a main factor in the rise of phablets. It has been determined consumers are hanging on to older tablets a lot longer than anticipated. Unlike smartphones, which are typically upgraded within 12-18 months, tablet owners pass off their older devices to other potential new tablet buyers.
The rise of phablets are causing many people to subsequently second-guess their initial tablet purchases as the larger screens on these phones are often seen as adequate for tasks once reserved for tablets.
IDC analyst, Tom Mainelli, says new smartphones with larger screens, specifically Samsung’s Galaxy Note, are playing a significant role in the tablet slowdown.
Taking cues from each other, Apple and Samsung seem to be on the same page about this tablet dilemma as both lead the mobile industry into the phablet era.
However, Apple plans to one-up Samsung by introducing, not one but, two models of the iPhone 6, one considered to be a phablet. While the smaller version is predicted to release a month prior to the larger, consumers now expect high-end devices to have large displays, and Apple’s absence in this market will clearly not last long.
Does Apple want to introduce a phablet? Who knows. Do they need it to succeed as of right now? Absolutely.
Asus took the phablet idea in a different direction. Their latest invention, the PadFone X, is more or less a brainless docking station that turns into a fully functioning tablet when a smartphone is connected – the literal coming together of smartphone and tablet.
The phone and the PadFone Station are in a co-dependent relationship: The tablet keeps the phone alive with power so the phone can provide the tablet its brains.
This unexpected shift from tablet to larger-screened smartphones is welcomed with open arms by vendors with a model already on the market as the average selling price currently remains roughly 50 percent higher than it’s sub-8-inch counterpart.
Although short-term growth has slowed, IDC predicts the tablet market will rebound as manufacturers focus on regaining consumer desire of larger screen devices.
The phablet. Is it a phone? A tablet? It’s not entirely clear yet, but what we do know is that consumers want it – for now anyway!