Sunday, December 14, 2014

What about Tablets in 2015?

Growth in tablet sales (like the iPad and Samsung Galaxy) is slowing--even as competition is increasing and technology is evolving. Intel (of "Intel Inside" ingredient branding fame) is pushing makers of mobile devices to move to wireless charging, a convenience that many users will find valuable--to enhance replacement/upgrade purchases, especially.

Tablets are still expected to be the computing device of choice for the next few years. By more than one estimate, 2015 will be the year when tablet sales exceed PC/laptop sales for the first time. PCs have been in the maturity stage of the product life cycle for some time. Yet with the release of Windows 10, for example, PC purchases are likely to get some boost in 2015.

Given the rate of technological change, it's likely that tablet computers will be in maturity very, very soon. Yes, there will be incremental innovation in tablets, but as Apple (which pioneered the product category) has discovered, consumers appear to hold onto tablets a little longer than they hold onto iPhones. Sales of iPads have slowed and Apple is rumored to be working on the introduction of a hybrid iPhone/iPad-sized device. The much-anticipated Apple Watch is also set for introduction in 2015.

Speaking of iPhones, viewed from the perspective of diffusion of innovation, smart phones are in the "late adopter" stage within the markets of developed countries, according to Gartner Group. If that's the case, only the "laggards" (16% of the market) remain to be convinced to adopt smart-phone technology. So watch for lots more features and functionality to extend the product life cycle and convince early majority and late majority to trade up again and again.

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