Canalys: Microsoft to Own Just 5 Percent of Rapidly Expanding Tablet Market in 2014

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John Pombrio

So did netbooks. Remember them? Tablets have their uses but sooner rather than later, the market will saturate. The exact same crazy growth curve was predicted for 3D TVs,(now its 4K TVs), netbooks, Chromebooks, and high end razor thin laptops. All had their growth chopped short as market saturation occurred. Apple's dominance will be short lived as competitors catch up to the chachet of the brand.
Of course, I said this two years ago so my prognostications are suspect.

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Eoraptor

Netbooks and 3d TVs did not fail because of market saturation, they both failed because the market failed to materialize at all. No one wanted a $300 netbook when two hundred dollars more at the time) could buy them four times the computing power in a full-power economy class laptop. 3d TV failed because of the fact that home users had no interest in watching Football or Sitcoms in 3d and for the fact that the technology was not suited for more than 90 minutes of viewing a day, while most home users watch two to five times that much TV.

Tablets, on the other hand, do fill a verifiable niche; that of users who want a quick, always-on access to simple tasks like messaging, web surfing, and email. Yes Tablets will reach saturation, but not until after they have saturated their own market and replaced a lot of smaller laptops and out-dated bedroom desktops too.

I imagine in about five years the computing landscape is going to looks a lot different. a household will have three or four tablet type devices, whether those are tablets or smart phones, and then one or two large full power desktops or laptops for things like printing, photo and video editing, and productivity work. everything else will be handled by the media-center device, which right now looks like it will be not a PC at all, but a next-gen gaming console or a linux-based board built into the smart-tv itself.

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fung0

Tablets will saturate sooner rather than later. Probably within 2014, unless we see some new breakthrough.

When you delve into the statistics, you find that a surprisingly high proportion of tablets tend to be unused, or at least under-used. Stats also show that a fairly high proportion of people who report buying a tablet "instead of a laptop" realize within a few months that the tablet is no substitute, and they do need a laptop after all.

This suggests the same sort of adoption 'bubble' as with netbooks: initial enthusiasm for the concept, rapidly followed by disillusionment with the reality.

Personally, I love my tablet as an e-book reader, or for a rare bit of video viewing when I travel. But I can't imagine buying another one until my fingers wear through the glass on the one I've already got. Unlike PCs, or cell phones, tablets just don't fill that big a hole in our lives.

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John Pombrio

Netbooks sold all right, over 85 million of them by 2010 from Intel powered ones alone:
http://liliputing.com/2010/05/intel-more-than-85-million-netbooks-sold.html

Yeah, too right. 3D TVs were overhyped and undersold. Let's substitute in huge HDTVs instead, OK? Heh.

Frankly, I am not sure when tablets will reach saturation, but once the marketplace creates a commodity out of them like the PC, they will turn back into what they always were, a hobbled computer with limited capabilities. They indeed will have their niche but not as much as the tablet makers expect. Smartphones are here to stay tho.

I agree about the Media device. I am not sure what it will be or how it will work but already I use them a lot. Will media move out onto the web/cloud? It is sure looking that way.

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Eoraptor

It already has. Netflix weathered the storm that Hollywood and big media tried to put on them (if only barely, remember 2009 when everyone said netflix was dead? they nearly were) and now have become a producer of original content as well as a clearinghouse for existing media. Others like Hulu and youtube are still chugging along as well, though they lack the brand recognition and a lot of the original content (I guess youtube is going to try to get into sponsored content). Even holdouts like big sports are moving into the cloud... last year you could watch the entire superbowl online for the first time, likewise sunday night NFL games. most colleges now have some kind of streaming option for their games too in many sports, just two years after launching dedicated TV networks.

right now it's down to a few big market items like Discovery Channel and National Geographic which have yet to offer a serious streaming option, and first run network shows which still make you wait about a week to catch their content online.

the cable companies are leaving money on the table right now, because they're so heavily invested in the reality TV that no one would pay or waste bandwidth to watch online... the networks have a similar albatross around their necks with the local affiliates. they live and die by the network prime time block and if people can go to the net to get that few affiliates still do any original programing aside from the local news to keep their local viewers watching except during weather and news emergencies that only happen a few times a year.

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Paper Jam

@ John

I agree with most of what you said, but I think you have underestimated the role tablets will play in tech.

For one, tablets represent a much better mobile solution than laptops for the average user. You get much better battery life, and portability. And the emergence of convertibles offers a better solution for those needing more productivity. If anything, I think power hungry desktop replacement laptops will become the niche device. Most people need the longevity versus the horsepower.

And for my second point, tablets represent a convergence of different technologies with some benefits over smartphones. E-readers and portable media devices like DVD players are becoming obsolete, while tablets are capable of so much more than either of these devices. And smartphones are great while on the go, but when you need to read or watch a video tablets offer a better and less eye straining experience.

tl;dr: I think tablets will get a lot more popular, at least until the next big thing.