back to article Tablet boom quiets down a bit as growth slows

The meteoric rise in tablet sales could be tapering off a bit as analysts at IDC saw quarterly shipments fall short of forecasts. The research firm estimates that that while the market maintained positive growth over the same period last year, a number of top vendors saw both their shipment volumes and market shares take a hit …


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  1. Charles Manning

    Any surprise?

    Why would anyone be surprised by this?

    Once someone has a product that provides a function, they will only get a new product if there is some very compelling feature in the new product.

    Gone are times of yore when a year of hardware advancement makes a computer that is appreciably better than what came before it.

    There is typically no value in going from a plenty fast enough dual core to a faster than I can appreciate quad core. No surprise then that demand stagnates.

    I have a Kindle that is a couple of years old. It works fine. I've never maxed out the storage, so doubling or octupling the storage is of no value to me. The battery life is already absurdly long. Doubling the battery life would be of no value to me. I don't want more features (indeed the Kindle already has too many features that detract from its core function - email on a Kindle?? WTF).

    The same goes for computers (laptops and desktops), phones, phablets, .... There are very few people who will get a lift from upgrading because the computer is already faster than it needs to be (for most people).

    I used to buy a new laptop every 18 months (business expense: I like having something fast for compiling etc). However the laptop I bought 4 years back is not much slower than the laptop I bought 2 years ago and I see no reason to buy another.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Any surprise?

      Besides which, most of the apps suck, and much of the content sucks. And many of the input methods and input and storage restrictions suck.

      Other than those three things, tablets are awesome.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Any surprise?

        Oh please, tablets are good for what they do. If you're worried about "input methods" and "input and storage restrictions" you need a laptop, not a tablet.

        I think part of the problem (if you can call it that) is that tablets aren't seen as outdated as quickly as phones. My girlfriend has an iPad 2 and she's quite happy with it still, and so long as it keeps working what reason does she have to replace it? Sure, newer ones are faster and have better resolution, but there's nothing wrong with what she's got until there's something she wants to do with it that can only be done with a newer one. She doesn't care about limitations with input methods, because she's got a laptop when she has laptop tasks. She uses the tablet for browsing and email, not for text editing.

        The high end of the market (both iPad and the high end Android devices like Galaxy Tab) is becoming more saturated, but there's still plenty of first time buyers to be had - the problem is that they're buying at a lower and lower ASP every quarter. Already well below where the cheapest iPad sells. That's good for the white box Chinese vendors, but not so good for Apple and actually not all that good for Samsung. Samsung's volume is increasing, but if you check their latest earnings call their tablet revenue barely increased at all, meaning their ASP dropped like a rock! And that's why Samsung reported declining YoY earnings.

    2. LarsG

      Re: Any surprise?

      Correct, I have the first retina screen iPad, why do I need to buy something new!

    3. h3

      Re: Any surprise?

      Sooner or later you have the choice of either stopping using the Google Play Store (And so having Google Play Services force updated) and using no apps from there or only using the Amazon Appstore.

      At some point the device will become useless like my Xoom has due to that problem. (The last ROM it got made it the best it has ever worked). There is absolutely no way around it - Whatever Play Services updates changes everything from working perfectly to totally laggy.

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Looks like we are seeing slowdowns across the board...

    Nasty GDP Report

    By Mark Thornton

    Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

    The latest GDP report for the first quarter can be reviewed here. GDP grew by only 1/10 of 1% in the first quarter [Must be Uncle Sam's superduper money printing still]. There were big negative reversals in both exports and equipment purchases from the 4th quarter of last year. The accumulation of inventories also was reduced, but is still accumulating rapidly indicating less of a need to add inventory in future quarters. Consumption grew at a 3% rate, but this was largely driven by a nearly 10% jump in health care spending, that was probably driven by the Affordable Care Act. The saving rate is also reported to be “unusually low.” The only bright spot in the report was that government spending was down for the quarter.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Looks like we are seeing slowdowns across the board...

      What do you expect since the Federal Reserve reduced the rate at which it was printing money?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Looks like we are seeing slowdowns across the board...

        I wouldn't worry too much about the Feds printing press, the slowdown is merely for maintenance to enable it to run faster.

        Consider the consequences of a protracted slowdown or even reversal in the money printing. No politician is going to stand up and deliver a balanced budget, since that means a cut in current spending of 17% (or a tax increase of 23% or thereabouts). This is also before the impact of future unfunded liabilities that are estimated at over $1m per taxpayer.

        Like the UK and most of Europe, the US is addicted to big state spending, and doing so with borrowed or printed money. As Japan shows, you can get to a point where other countries won't lend to you, but then you just roll the printing presses even faster, and in effect steal from your own citizens (which is how Greece managed before they pulled on the Eurozone straitjacket).

        This has to end badly, but how long before it does - could be weeks, could be decades. No politician with any chance of government is proposing to sort the mess out. In the UK opposition politicians are squealing like stuck pigs over "austerity", when the current government is still spending £100bn more each year than it raises in taxes. In the US the military-industrial complex is putting on a good show of the absolute need to continue spending more on "defence" than the next ten largest economies combined, and the Democrats are still wedded to their unfunded healthcare programme. California is the ghost of Christmas future for the wider US - spiralling public spending, with no political responsibility or accountability.

        It's enough to make you give up your tablet, buy a rifle and go to a log cabin in the wilderness.

  3. Thaumaturge

    Where from here?

    I think the next -perhaps only- area of advancement for tablets will be in added provisions for more periferal connections. The 10.1 inch I just purchased has TWO micro USB connectors on it, though they don't act the same. Only one of them will host a flash stick.(of course the same one the keyboard plugs in). . I've seen other models with -and I wouldn't mind having myself- a real RJ-45 network connector. One thing I'd really like to see added would be a microphone INPUT connector.

    Anyway, I predict more periferal connections. Maybe like PCexpress or whatever they call the narrow PCMCIA. Maybe a hot sync shoe on a real keyboard. Naw... then you'd need REAL software...

  4. Ralph B

    On the positive side

    On the positive side, when the batteries of the tablets start reaching end-of-life in a year or so, the tablet manufacturers can expect to see a whole new wave of sales. I mean, it's not like the Bad Old Days when the penny-pinching customer could just buy a new battery for their laptop, is it?

    So, hang on in there guys!

    1. Tromos

      Re: On the positive side

      I wouldn't bet on it. End-of-battery is not end of life and I can see several people getting their batteries replaced by either themselves or a third party service (and count me amongst them). As for the rest, yes, many will get a new tablet resulting in an temporary extension of new sales, but how many of them will insist on a replaceable battery this time round?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: On the positive side

        "As for the rest, yes, many will get a new tablet resulting in an temporary extension of new sales, but how many of them will insist on a replaceable battery this time round?"

        Very few. The people who worry about replaceable batteries (like you and I) are thinking two years ahead, and about keeping kit in operation. Most people don't think like that, and work on the basis that they'll have a new one. Hasn't done Apple any harm to have non user replaceable batteries, and whilst the batteries can be replaced on almost all sealed devices, I'm not convinced that many are.

        The other consideration is that the highly streamlined supply chain means new tablet costs are low, whereas the convoluted supply chain for parts, plus the relatively time intensive work to dismantle and reassemble a device often make replacing the battery relatively expensive if you're paying somebody to do it.

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