The tablet has become a niche device. Why has evolution led us to a dead end?


You can consider tablets as enlarged copies of smartphones, the main difference is in the screen and

sizes.A tablet is not the most mobile device possible, and in order to travel around the city with a tablet, you will need a bag, albeit a small one. At the same time, the smartphone can easily be hidden in your pocket. It is the size that is both a plus and a minus for modern tablets, they are not very mobile.

Sales of tablets have reached a relative plateau, year-on-year changes are small, we can assume that the market has formed. Look at IDC data for last year.

In the ideal world of marketersof manufacturing companies, the buyer purchases a smartphone, buys a tablet for it in order to use it for other tasks, and if there is also a TV in the product line, then, of course, he buys it. And if there are many rooms in an apartment or house, then each one needs to be plugged in on TV, that's where the expanse for the dreams of Harvard graduates is. Alas, these dreams are shattered by the stubbornness of the world, people proceed from their ideas of beauty.

Please note, the tablets suddenly stoppedbe universal, unlike smartphones. The large screen diagonal has turned them into specialized devices that in theory are suitable for different tasks, but are used in practice for one or two.

With the advent of the Galaxy Fold line, I abandonedusing the tablet as such, I no longer needed it - it took up extra space in my backpack, did not give any clear advantage in everyday tasks. Especially since I always had a computer with me. An intermediate link in evolution for me has become a fossil, an endangered species. I began to notice that many acquaintances and friends who used to shine with their iPad Pro suddenly stopped carrying them with them, the screens in smartphones became larger and more convenient, and carrying a large tablet is not so easy.


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Extinction is an evolutionary process, but tabletsremain in demand, the statistics above speak directly about this. It is clear that during the crisis, sales will drop, price segments will change, but in general, tablets as a class of devices will remain, occupy their niche. We can say that tablets are to some extent the antithesis of smartphones, they have ceased to be universal, but have become specialized devices. With the same capabilities that are embedded in smartphones and tablets, the latter have turned in the hands of users into devices of one or two functions at most.

For example, the advent of the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra brought backme in the ranks of those who use tablets. For me, the tablet is a kind of portable TV, the 14.6-inch diagonal is huge and allows you to comfortably watch movies. I looked at the statistics of using the tablet, 98% of the time is the consumption of video content, the remaining two percent is searching for information in the browser. We can safely say that my tablet works as a portable TV, which is convenient to watch movies or TV shows, including when traveling.

I judge by my friends, they also have tabletsspecialized devices. For parents, this is to some extent a children's device - watching cartoons, an opportunity for a child to draw or play. Universality yields to a specific use case.

Another option is an e-book, sort ofbedside device on which they read, watch movies. Perhaps they are doing something else. But if you compare a tablet and a smartphone head-on, then the second will use dozens of different applications and functions. There are those who draw on a tablet, this is also a rather niche story, after all, we do not have so many artists. My daughter draws on a tablet, but surfs social networks, the Internet from her phone or computer. For her, the tablet is akin to a digital board, where it is convenient to draw something.

Manufacturers quickly learned about this, tablets are notbecame vital devices, they closed only a small circle of human needs. And so the level of their sales remained low. In numbers, the story looks staggering - last year, according to IDC, 1.354 billion smartphones were sold in the world and only 168.8 million tablets. That is, for each tablet, there are approximately ten smartphones. The statistics speak for themselves.

Very quickly, the manufacturers tried to eat offa piece of computer sales, they began to position tablets as universal solutions, a replacement for a computer. Buy an additional keyboard or get it as a gift with pre-order, and voila, you have a semblance of a computer. But here everything is not going very positively for tablets - a small number of connectors, the high cost of the kit compared to conventional laptops. Even the advantage of compactness disappears, as modern laptops are quite thin and light. The tablet as a replacement for a computer has attracted huge advertising investments - Apple, Samsung, Microsoft play in this field. But none of them was able to achieve unequivocal success, in the eyes of most buyers, a tablet for work looks like a compromise.

You can convince yourself that such a device is convenient,and I personally know a nth number of people who love their tablets, use them as a replacement for a computer. But to say that this is a common scenario for using devices is impossible. Exactly the same niche application.

And here we come to the curse of anymarketer, people are not ready to spend money on tablets. As a result, manufacturers raise prices for them, since the circulation remains moderate, the devices do not become mass. Let's take a look at Apple's example, you can buy a MacBook Air for $999. The iPad Air of the same memory capacity will set you back $749, plus throw in a keyboard case for $129 to $299 (the latter being the cost of the Magic Keyboard). It turns out at least comparable, and in terms of the convenience of the keyboard, the MacBook definitely wins, this is a complete, one-piece device, and not a “stick-string” system, let tablet fans forgive me.

It turns out that tablets that have more or lessthe same characteristics as similar computers, are more expensive. At the same time, computers have higher performance, a different operating system, and lower cost of ownership (above I did not remember the need to buy a separate charger for the tablet). A rational buyer today does not see any special advantages in a tablet. And the tablet has become an add-on for most, a purchase because money burns your pocket, or you have some use that you are sure of (children's tablet, you are an artist, a replacement for a portable TV). Attempts by companies to promote the tablet segment turn into failures, they follow one after another. On the one hand, the share of tablets is taken away by smartphones, their growing diagonal makes these devices unnecessary. On the other hand propped up computers that have a virtually unlimited life cycle. Machines that are more than ten years old are still working at my house, at the same time, tablets have ceased to be updated, their software has stopped developing. And here the question arises, which is more profitable - a tablet or a computer. In my opinion, the tablet is convenient due to the touch screen, not all computers have one. But the life of the tablet is still less - I have a ThinkPad X1 that works fine, which is about ten years old. An excellent indestructible machine, but the first iPad can no longer be used, too slow. Of course, the comparison is far-fetched, the cost of these two devices at the time of release differed like heaven and earth, ThinkPad cost as many tablets. But if it were a different computer, the meaning would not change. Hence the conclusion that rational buyers avoid tablets as a category, they do not see the point in them for themselves. A sort of intermediate link in evolution, which leads to a dead end. And smartphones with flexible screens are also beginning to squeeze tablets, not very much yet, but this segment is just beginning to spread around the world.

I don’t think tablets will die out, there arespecialized niches in which there is nothing to replace them. Those who are used to drawing on a tablet will not be able to do it as comfortably somewhere outside the home, on the go. Other application scenarios are also specific. But for the mass consumer, tablets are limited and expensive, so they can't skyrocket in sales. Let's put the world crisis on this and we will see that tablets will begin to gravitate towards the middle segment, such devices will become predominant. But sales of flagships will also remain approximately the same. The shrinkage of this market has already occurred, it is probably not worth waiting for a strong fall. But the take-off will not be able to take place, and why, we have spoken above.

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