According to IDC Tablet sales are falling like hot potatoes whilst smartphone or PDA (does anyone use that term any more!!?) form factors are holding strong. However it was only a few months ago we were all heralding the 7″ tablet as the next big work tool, so what happened?
1. All the Apps are on Smartphone
…and not on Tablets. There’s no way round this one and despite IOS and Android being pretty consistent across the 2 types of devices, there are still lots of thing people do on smartphones that they won’t or don’t on tablets and the apps follow that trend.
2. Tablets have terrible battery life
Add a 3G chip into a tablet and use it like a smartphone and you’ll see what I mean. That screen area takes a lot of power to keep running, even over a 5.5″ Phablet there’s a noticable difference in battery life. Rugged tablets with 10,000mAh batteries can buck this trend a little but the sized battery can add weight and bulk.
The camera’s in smartohones are an integral part of the device, they get a lot of attention and they can be a key part of the business, let alone consumer purchasing decision. Camera’s on tablets are often an afterthought but also using the camera on a tablet is way less intuitive, not to mention you look like a dork using it on a big tablet!!
4. Mobility Versus Mobile
Tablets are still finding their feet in the mobile world and still seen as a tool that just takes the desktop more mobile by many. So it turns out that tablets aren’t really focussed or optimised for 1 purpose, rather being a bit of a half way house between the smartphone and the desktop/laptop. Some Enterprise markets specifically need this but for many businesses this is the key reason, even they can’t quite put their finger on, why they don’t end up going 7″!
5. The “Do all” Phablet
The advent of the 5-6″ screen has given rise to a form factor that seems to just work for any scenario. Not only has the phablet proven the best size screen for reading but it’s in high demand in business/enterprise as the best compromise between screen size, portability and battery life.
I think we’re seeing these trends and behaviour across all markets where the ideology of the 1 device that can do all, finds it’s feet in the smartphone form factor rather than the tablet one.