“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change”
We think technology industry follows this quote the best. Every few years we see a major change such as from floppy to CD to Blu-ray disks, from just 128 MB RAM to massive 16 GB RAM (in very few computers) and so on. Similarly we moved on from room sized computers to table size computers (called as desktops) to laptops. The bulkiness of laptops also gave birth to the Netbook fad offering the screen size of either 7″ or 10″ with impressive battery life. Though, they were certainly portable, they weren’t very powerful, hence the phenomenon died in just two to three years.
The quest to find lighter and convenient to carry alternatives to laptops gave way to the tablets. It’s not a new or innovative technology. But, the iconic Steve Jobs made this form factor usable by all through iPad in 2010. In such a short time, tablets have caught on a growing preference by everyone and being cheaper also makes them very enticing.
According to various analytics firm, it’s only a matter of time when the tablets boom will surpass those of PC shipments. These analysis points out two things: Constant decline in PC shipments and Rise in tablets sales. According to Gartner’s predictions, the year of 2013 will see 10.6 % decline in PC shipments, while whopping 67.9 % rise in the tablet shipments. Similarly, Pew Internet finds that the in just a year, number of Americans using tablets have almost doubled (Sample data of more than 2000 adults). The IDC has made a forecast for the PC shipments till the year 2017, and it suggest that after reaching the tipping point in 2010, the PC shipments are on a downward trend. However it is not seeing very huge interest towards tablets and even had to change its forecast of total shipments to 227.4 mn units from 229.3 mn units in year 2013.
Why tablets are rising?
There can be several reasons for the rise of tablets, let’s discuss them one by one-
1) Attractive Price
Tablets are more in the territory of smartphones, than a full-blown laptop, which means that they are priced significantly cheaper than the laptops. This is very important fact as in emerging countries, many first time buyers are turning towards the tablets, rather than the laptops. Even in developed countries, people are preferring tablet for this reason.
As compared to laptops, a tablet is very easier and comfortable to carry. It can be used anytime and anywhere. It also has considerably better battery life than the laptops, which usually have to be carried along with their chargers.
3) Ease of use
The tablet requires no learning curve and from a child to an adult can easily get used to its interface and features. This is due to the intuitive iOS and Android OS running on these devices. On the other hand, sometimes even regular users get confused for normal things while using a laptop.
4) Better option for general purpose needs
An average user use the laptop for internet surfing, entertainment purposes like listening music/ watching movies and occasional work related stuff like reading emails, viewing documents. All these tasks can be performed on a tablet with more ease and even quickly than in a laptop. Even casual gaming can be very fun on a tablet.
While all the data points towards the obvious, laptops will be dead soon, we think they might have a fighting chance. For all things mentioned in favor of tablets, there are some real use case scenarios for the laptops. People still prefer real typing keyboard for writing purposes. Laptops are the best for serious stuff like photo/ video editing or coding. Even, hardcore gamers like playing on laptops for their sheer power.
This certainly means that if laptops are able to overcome one serious flaw- Bulky Weight, they can become more interesting. That is already happening with the ultrabooks and sleekbooks launched by almost all companies. Microsoft has also targeted its Windows 8 OS to touchscreen devices, thus making the laptops feel modern. Many companies are also able to merge both laptop and tablet into one through hybrids. Lenovo Yoga is the prime example, and other companies such as Asus with Transformer Pad and more also developing such devices.
In the end, we believe that tablets will surely continue to rise. But, if laptops are able to transform themselves, then they will not be going anywhere.