back to article It's a TAB-tastrophe – 83 million fewer units to ship in 2014

The mist has cleared in Gartner’s crystal ball and the resident mystics have deduced that the tab revolution is coming to an end: some 83 million fewer fondleslabs are to be flogged worldwide this year than previously forecast. Shipments of slablets into retailers and tech disties will still grow 10.6 per cent this year to 229 …

  1. Necronomnomnomicon

    People are keeping them for three years?

    So in other words, nearly everyone has still got the first tablet they bought and haven't yet replaced it?

    Certainly fits with nearly everyone I know.

    1. Darryl

      Re: People are keeping them for three years?

      Well, everyone did say that tablets will take over from PCs and laptops. Looks like they've taken on the refresh cycle already. As with PCs and laptops, "It's a half mm thinner" is not a good enough reason to buy the new model.

    2. rotmos

      Re: People are keeping them for three years?

      They are still trying to figure out what they are good for.

      1. Stuart 22

        Re: People are keeping them for three years?

        "They are still trying to figure out what they are good for.

        Nope - I, and the family, luv 'em.

        That's an Asus Transformer (about 4 years old), HP Touchpad (androided) 3 years old, Nexus 7 2 years old. All running perfectly. Why would i even think about replacing until one borks?

        Oh and i forgot a year old iPad Air given by my partner's employer that has never been out of the box. That will replace any of the others that do die.

        If it is three years now, next year it may be nearer four.

  2. kmac499

    LIfeSpan of a Tablet calculation

    On the assumption that you have a tablet that can do iPlayer et al and the almost current vesion of it's OS

    you will need to replace it when..

    1) The number of recharge cycles leaves the battery life at less than an hour.

    2) The USB port wears and goes slack so no charging at all

    3) The OS gets at least two versions beyond what's on your Tab.

    4) The screen is no longer touch

    5) The Dog uses it as a replacement chewy toy..

    6) The Child uses it as a replacement hammer toy..

    7) You loose it

    8) The draw of the new shiny shiny Tab and the sale value of your current Tab on Ebay almost cross

    In other words I reckon that it doesn't take a genius to work out that the replacement cycle is about three years, with a small percentage for distressed purchase replacements.

    Gartner can I have a job please..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: LIfeSpan of a Tablet calculation

      My original iPad 1 is already three iOS versions behind, but it stills plays videos and I can read books on it fine. Safari crashes more and more, as web pages are not tested against such "old" browser, but for most casual browsing works fine.

      Battery is starting to degrade, to the point of having to charge daily instead of every other day. Net result is, if I ever want a new tablet it will be for... reading books, play videos and casual browsing, and I don't see any specific advantage in getting a new device when the old is still working almost fine. Other than the browser being more capable and less crash prone.

      1. Stu 18

        Re: LIfeSpan of a Tablet calculation

        Safari crashes more and more - that is a definition isn't it?

  3. Deft

    Fun job?

    I've always wondered whether meticulously predicting the future, yet revising those estimates with hindsight must be the most depressing job ever. The futility of it all.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    well that's a surprise, also I'd be shocked if a lot of folk that rushed out and picked up a tablet over the last few years realised it had absolutely no use.

    Back to the old "why would you upgrade your kindle when they work for years" tablets will have a better turnover then e-readers but even then the "it still plays video and I can browse the internet just about."

  5. Robert E A Harvey


    Got one.

    It works.

    I'll maybe get another when it doesn't work.

    Some suspicion that Apple may have deliberately borked it with 8.0

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yep.

      My Air went from 7.1 to 8.02 - I have experienced no issues whatsoever,

      It works just like it did before, but there are a few more bits and pieces.

      1. Robert E A Harvey

        Re: Yep.

        And yet mine has lost the ability to reliably cut and paste, can no longer see wifi networks more than a few metres away, and safari, google+, flipboard, and the podcast app keep crashing.

        Perhaps I should not have used 8.0.0 first

  6. DuncanL
    Holmes Gartner

    1. [verb] To be paid to produce vague reports that serve only for brief news items and are then discarded; never to be examined in retrospect to avoid embarrassment at the inaccuracies in predictions.

    2. [phrase, informal] Expression of mock surprise at an otherwise obvious result or statement. See also "No shit, Sherlock!"

  7. ColonelClaw

    Note to tech companies: Make your stuff crappier to begin with then we will have a reason to upgrade more often. My 2.5 year old tablet (not saying what it is lest each side of the divide should take offense) still works absolutely fine and does everything what I want it to.

    BTW I was being sarcastic about the crappier thing. The trick is to make your new stuff compellingly better.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't seem too much interest from manufacturers

    I was looking at project with about 500 tablets that would be a great opportunity for a manufacturer to showcase their wares. It didn't matter whether it was Apple, Samsung, HTC, Microsoft etc none of them seemed interested in anything other than referring me to a reseller none of whom could get extra discount out of the manufacturer and so the prices were only a few dollars off the price you could buy them for in a high street store.

    If the manufacturers aren't that interested in shifting them even with a pretty strong marketing opportunity then I'm not surprise they aren't selling.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Re: Doesn't seem too much interest from manufacturers

      I sort of agree with you, except that in the new world of Millions of shipped items, an order for 500 would probably be seen as chicken feed. If you had said 50,000 it might have woken them up. But that is only as many as Tesco shipped HUDL last year, and that is seen as a niche.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Doesn't seem too much interest from manufacturers

      500 is nothing at all, so of course the manufacturers don't care. These are mass-market products, the resellers buy that many in a week if not less.

      You'd need to be asking for closer to 10,000 to get them interested.

      The only way they notice small numbers like 500 is if you're a high-profile event like the Olympics or perhaps Commonwealth Games, where they can justify it as a direct marketing expense.

      Also, the Android and Windows tablets have pretty tight margins, so discounts are very hard to get generally. (Apple have better margins but also have less reason to give a toss about such small numbers of devices.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Doesn't seem too much interest from manufacturers

        I didn't say 500 would change their life but they would've been used by up to 1/3 million people a year which you would expect to have some residual benefit.

        As the defacto tablet for many is the iPad it could allow their device to be seen and used by many people who could have their purchase influenced by them.

        Maybe I'm just too used to other markets where penetration in a competitive market is seen as somewhat valuable even just for brand awareness. In some cases they were asking for more than the retail price for a single unit, I guess due to the risk of having to ship a quantity of units and risking multiple returns.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Doesn't seem too much interest from manufacturers

          "Maybe I'm just too used to other markets where penetration in a competitive market is seen as somewhat valuable even just for brand awareness. In some cases they were asking for more than the retail price for a single unit, I guess due to the risk of having to ship a quantity of units and risking multiple returns"

          You're referring to the laptop/desktop market perhaps? Yes, in those markets you mention a bulk order of 500 devices and they turn they heads and start listening to you. But only because they are willing to give a -small as possible- discount with the expectation of (a) repeat orders and/or (b) cross-selling additional products or services associated with the machines.

          (a) is common to all kind of products products and very useful for them to manage left over inventory of kit that becomes obsolete, yet is still purchased as "standard" by organizations

          But the situation with (b) is quite different between a tablet and a laptop/desktop machine. There's almost no "value added" product or services they can sell with the tablet: no field repair service, no "pre-imaging" service, no customization service... there's much less commercial opportunity for resellers.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My last tablet lasted just under 3 years before it got too slow and bulky, so well done Gartner for guessing that 3 years is about right.

    Apologies to the tablet makers, sorry but my shiny new Samsung 8" tablet is going to have to last me at least 3 years as my Missus will not be best pleased if I ask for another £250 toy I only use for watching Family Guy on the tube in the morning. I sold her on the idea I would be using it to read tech manuals and watching tech seminar vids to increase my worth at work!

  10. Indolent Wretch

    What a stupid article. Seriously don't let Gartner get away with crap like this, call them out.

    "83 million units fewer"

    Than Gartner's clearly inaccurate previous prediction based entirely on guesswork.

    Smallprint.... shipments to grow over 10% year on year

  11. IHateWearingATie

    2 years for my Nexus 7...

    ... cause the battery is knackered.

    While I always welcome an excuse to waste my money on some more shiny shiny, I am a little annoyed I didn't get 3 years out of it.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: 2 years for my Nexus 7...

      you could be made to sit on the 'naughty step' for calling your device 'shiny shiny'. Shirley that is reserved for the desription of Fruity fondleslabs around here? Everything else is the 'bees knees'.

      1. tirk

        Re: 2 years for my Nexus 7...

        Perhaps 'shiny shiny' is a reference to the lyrics of the VU's Venus in Furs. In which case 'the naughty step' could be just where the OP wants to be sent??

        (Icon for obvious reasons.)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tablets will never be a full replacement for

    desktop PCs.

    They might be useful to look up information while sitting in front of the TV, but you can't do any real work on them.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Tablets will never be a full replacement for

      "but you can't do any real work on them."

      Oh dear - not that old objection. Yes you can.

      Just in case you think I'm guessing my wife got a contract to write her second book from a publisher and fulfilled that contract on an iPad. If that's not creative "real" work then I don't know what is.

      Yes - video editing is probably best left to beefier devices, but most "real" work can be handled by a tablet. You may want to consider the opportunities presented by bluetooth.

  13. Panimu

    Why do the figures in the article differ so much to those in this link (34% iOS, 50% Android)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think that I, like many others who actually do work with their computers had a hard time finding a use for tablets and their invariably locked down, invariably limited software; but I do have one (ok, a couple) that I have learned to make use of. For reading - books - pdf manuals - maps - or just because for that simple reason that it's easier to roll it onto the floor without breaking at 3am after watching some sort of video (nevermind what kind) than a laptop is.

    For these, simple reasons - they've already made the ideal device, being basically a screen in some package that will only get out of date because of not being new in 'style', or - as became fashionable - because they glued in the battery. While early gen/particularly cheap tablets are low enough resolution to be noteworthy as a point to upgrade, I certainly don't need a 4k screen on one, and I'm certainly not about to buy a bigger one.

    So - what am I going to upgrade? I can only think connectivity (just tether to your phone) or miracast (if it ever worked). Ubuntu's idea of a converged OS/device docking was the only one that might require a powerful device (and yeah; that's still not here); everyone else just wants to sell you a tablet, phone /and/ other device then parasitise your data through their (not calling it cloud) online services.

    A better forecast would be when can we have a tablet with the LCARS user interface. At least that came with clearly identifiable, activable UI elements that were large enough to deliberately press.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Depends on the brand

    Two of my three Samsung devices have lasted less than two years: one Galaxy Note tablet started rebooting itself sporadically three months after purchase, and one Galaxy SIII mini started to do the same just short of two years after purchase. Their repair service is worthless as it is enough for them to be able to boot at least once to declare that they are fine and return them back.

    So yes, Samsung cycle in my case is less than three years, but it is the last time I purchase anything from that brand, now it is Sony and LG now for me... hoping that these last at least three years.

  16. Martin

    I have a tablet...

    ...and a Chromebook sitting on the table at home. I always pick up the Chromebook rather than the tablet - instant on, has a keyboard and is just easier to use.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Register buying into crappy analyst projections

    If there's growth of 10%, how is it a "tastrophe" of any sort? It is only bad for the idiot who projected it to rise 30% or whatever his previous figure was, and had to cut it back by 83 million.

    I predict 12 tablets will ship in 2015, and one billion Windows PCs. Look for my revised predictions based on three quarters of actual data one year from today, and for the Register article that will trumpet "incredible surge in 2015 tablet sales" and "Windows PC sales experience unprecedented crash in 2015"

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