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Technology Trends: What's Next For Tablets - Executive Leadership Articles

Technology Trends: What's Next For Tablets

Executive Leadership Articles

Technology Trends: What's Next For Tablets

The surge of tablets in the marketplace continues, and with so much product vying for space on the shelves, new concepts arise to fill niche demand. Tablets for young children, tablets for students, convertible tablets with full laptop functionality, tablets for book lovers, and tablets only slightly larger than the latest iPhone have emerged in recent years, and we seem still to be in the upswing of new ideas for the devices even while sales are dipping. Here are a few things we can expect in the coming months for this technology.

Consumer Reports predicts a growing selection of low-priced tablets, citing Amazon's Kindle Fire HD 6, which starts at $100. Barnes and Noble recently partnered with Samsung to produce a Nook-themed version of its seven-inch Galaxy Tab 4, which begins at $189 but with various discounts (and a trade-up of Barnes and Noble's Nook Color and Nook Tablet models) can be had for about $130. Although Consumer Reports has yet to recommend a tablet in this price range, a functioning tablet one can afford is better than no tablet at all, and an inexpensive tablet should lure the interested buyer who's not ready to invest an entire paycheck.

Global Web Index reports that tablet usage is slightly down among earliest adopters (higher income users and users in China), suggesting that perhaps the novelty has worn off, and now users struggle to find reasons to turn on their devices. We've noticed some of this attitude ourselves in casual observation of friends and family who've recently acquired their first tablets. Once the neat factor wears off, many find themselves wondering where it fits into their lives.

With Apple about to launch its smart watch this year, NewYorker.com editor Nick Thompson (via the New York Times) says the product's success or failure could be crucial for Apple, since iPad sales have been dropping. Whether or not the smart watch's portability will trump its smaller size and take a bite of the tablet market may be a sign of things to come.

While purchases of the devices themselves are in decline, revenue from tablet games is expected to triple in the next five years, according to BizReports, from $3.6 billion to 13.3 billion by 2019. With more than a million game apps already on the market, competition will be keen for games to find their audiences, with some apps resorting to older technology to vie for attention. Advertising for game apps has crept onto public transportation and into newspapers and magazines.

Tablets as entertainment devices and social tools are old news, but what practical use remains for these things, and where in our lives they will settle seem to be unanswered questions. While niche markets seem to remain largely untapped (e.g. human services) and sales drop, are we seeing the end of a fad while the world awaits the next big thing, or a period of adjustment while producers and consumers negotiate to identify needs, wants, and wishes? This could be the year we find out.

Reference Links:
Consumer Reports: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/12/ces-2015-top-computer-and-tablet-trends/index.htm
Global Web Index: http://www.globalwebindex.net/blog/tablet-trends-the-latest-figures-and-behaviors-for-tablet-usage
New York Times: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-to-expect-in-technology-in-2015/
BizReports: http://www.bizreport.com/2014/09/revenues-from-tablet-games-to-triple-in-next-five-years.html


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