The Small Tablet Market Is Doomed?

This is very odd.

Two opinion pieces appearing at PadNews on the same day that seem to reinforce one another.

The first argues that the smartphone is taking the place of small tablets, so small tablets are unprofitable and manufacturers are moving to large — ten-inch and above — tablets [Google Translate]:

Industry insiders believe that, over the past 7-inch tablet is mainstream, but for telecom operators and hardware vendors, selling 7-inch tablet to make money. Now consumers prefer large-size screen, plus telecommunications companies began to subsidize eight inches above models, the estimated replacement tidal wave of tablet, will stimulate demand for large-size flat growth. Moreover, now the mainstream 7-inch tablet is price competition, which also caused manufacturers profitability plummeted, so manufacturers have started digging flat added value and location of large-size flat, hard price competition in the Red Sea off the market.

The report opens by using the World Cup as an example of this shift, with a large number of people reporting they used a smartphone to watch it — or keep up with it — instead of a tablet. They claim the smartphone is the real “second screen” (the first being a TV), not a tablet.

The second piece, which lists “seven lies” about the tablet market, doubts there’s any case for the existence of tablets outside of the iPad [Google Translate]:

Lie One: Tablet PC is the most important platform for mobile Internet era

We are engaged in the Tablet PC was the vision are: Tablet PC will be integrated into modern life and become a part of people’s lives, becoming the mobile phone, PC and TV screens fourth, its market capacity and prospects immeasurable, with hundreds of millions of the world’s annual demand Taiwan dollars.

The reality is: the tablet bad user experience (except for IPAD outside), and functional positioning vague, with large-screen smart phone coverage in the consumer market has been growing marginalization. Now we find that the “big screen mobile phone” is becoming the most important platform for the mobile Internet era, rather than the tablet.

And then, like the first piece, the case is made for smartphones over tablets:

Lies II: Tablet PC everyone might buy

Our vision is: a big-screen tablet experience is irreplaceable phone, whether it is entertainment, office and the Internet will be stronger than a cell phone, if everyone needs a mobile phone, then buy the Tablet PC is a matter of time.

The reality is: the people around us, very few people buy a tablet PC we produce, we ourselves are rarely willing to do their own flat. The reason for this is domestic, white card flat, nobody really hard to do input costs to the “good flat”, while lowering the cost to go blindly cut materials. Tablet us “Shenzhen-made”, especially the export of tablet PCs, mostly low-end products rough (the cheapest 29 dollars), without any user experience at all, compared with the phone, whether it is product design, quality and the growing gap between the user experience.

In contrast, the rise this year in Shenzhen smart phone industry, whether it is technical innovation and product quality are rapidly improving, “Shenzhen-made” mobile phone turned out to be the quality benchmark for the international market.

And for anyone pinning their hopes on Windows-based tablets, prepare to have those hopes exterminated:

(2) Intel’s Windows tablet is the “practical” tablet, with Windows for free, making the tablet’s “universal” as possible.

I want to remind everyone that: (1) Windows tablet can not be made “practical” flat, it was only a PC netbook alternatives or new forms of the existence of the Internet. As a Tablet PC operating system, Android after years of development, and applies more professional than Windows. Windows of the UI, the idea of ​​PC operation is no future in the flat, and only experienced the people would understand how bitter the Windows operating system and difficult to use as a tablet.

(2) Windows in a 9-inch or less free is conditional, there are threshold. Even if Intel can postures with our cottage Cock wire mingle, Microsoft is not quite resolved to our cottage, because we are a cottage with pirated Microsoft has never been common interests.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

That bit was such a hoot, I had to boldface it.

That final point is interesting, about how there’s no common interests between Shenzhen tablet makers and Microsoft. He sees Microsoft temporarily using and then dumping them. That could be so. Which is why Intel was smart enough to create a chip that both Windows and Android can use. Intel wasn’t going to be dependent on Microsoft or Windows for its future.

I can’t say I agree with small tablets being doomed. While it’s true that smartphones will always outsell tablets, I can’t see ten-inch and larger tablets succeeding as asserted.

At the low-end of things, we’ve seen Shenzhen tablet makers shift to “talk tablets” — turning seven- and eight-inch tablets into strange “phones” with 3G (and soon 4G). But will people hold those up to their heads like phones? Maybe in China.

I think there will always be a spot for tablets like iPad Mini clones and widescreen eight-inch tablets. They have the portability and lightness that bigger tablets lack and the advantage of a screen larger than most smartphones.

7 Comments

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7 responses to “The Small Tablet Market Is Doomed?

  1. E.T.

    Microsofts attempts to enter the cheap tablets echo the early days of PCs, when they aggressively tried to put a stake in every PC. There’s a very interesting description of those days in a new podcast about the history of the Internet (http://www.internethistorypodcast.com/category/chapters/chapter-2).

  2. Cody

    i personally agree with the first comment, i never saw the point in buying a 7inch tablet like the nexus 7. given the fact that 5 – 5.5 inch phones are quite pocket-able, it made no sense to me to invest further into buying another device with a 1.5 inch bigger screen, especially given the fact that phones and tablets hardly have any difference in user experience or app compatibility (android). to me it seems more worthy to purchase a 8.9 – 10.1 inch tablet since that can significantly provide a better experience in web browsing, book reading and watching videos, but provided that it its lightweight and gives good battery backup.

  3. Cody

    hey mike, what’s your opinion of the new surface pro 3?

  4. Craig walkerdine

    Hey mike!!! What would you say would be a better choice, this tablet or the mipad? I don’t even know if the mipad is going to be shipped to the UK however I just want something cheap with good power for gaming :P

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