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The Great Tablet Gold Rush Is Over (mashable.com) 170

Earlier this month, Dell announced that it will no longer sell Android tablets. The company added that slate tablet market is "over-saturated" and is "experiencing declining demand from consumers." The company says it will focus more on 2-in-1 -- otherwise known as hybrid laptops -- devices moving forward. Dell is right. According to IDC, tablet sales have fallen greatly in the last few years. Mashable goes on to say that the "great tablet gold rush is over." From an article: Pretty much every major tablet maker's growth fell year-over-year. Apple's iPad and Samsung's Galaxy Tabs, the two most popular brands of tablets, were down 18.8% and 28.1%, respectively. [...] In the beginning, the pitch was: The tablet is the future of computing. It'll replace your phone and your laptop. Then it became: A small tablet will replace your smartphone. Today, the pitch: It's good enough to replace your laptop. But only for some people, and only if you're willing to get by with a mobile OS. Long story short: Tablets are a complete mess right now. We can't seem to decide if we want them to replace all of our devices or only a few of them.
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The Great Tablet Gold Rush Is Over

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  • Saturation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ann Coulter ( 614889 ) on Friday July 08, 2016 @02:53PM (#52472991) Journal

    It is probably market saturation. It happened with music players a decade ago and happens to almost every other invention.

    • Re:Saturation (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Friday July 08, 2016 @03:33PM (#52473467) Homepage Journal
      Yep, manufacturers overestimated the market capacity for Tablets. In the end they're a fairly niche product, and everybody who wanted one pretty much has one at this point. They aren't useless, but they aren't compelling for most people either. You get a device that's the size of a small laptop, but less capable because it's crippled with a phone OS and no keyboard. I use mine somewhat regularly, but only for a handful of tasks:
      1. Reading full color comics. The Kindle sucks for this.
      2. Watching video on the go. Much better experience than the phone, but this is only for long car rides and is used to keep the kids entertained.
      3. Playing games. My phone is an iPhone, so all of my Android gaming has to be done on the tablet. This is a very niche use, and it really only came about from me looking for a reason to even turn the thing on in the first place. Were it not for the Humble Bundle I don't think this would even make the list.

      Web browsing and email are also possible, but the experience is decidedly worse than a laptop so I don't usually do it. Especially if I have to reply to an email.

      The big advantages with phones is portability. They're always in the pocket ready to go. Tablets don't have that, yet they're stuck with the same drawbacks that phones have like touch controls and a locked down OS.
      • Re:Saturation (Score:4, Informative)

        by Shadow99_1 ( 86250 ) <theshadow99NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday July 08, 2016 @04:11PM (#52473931)

        Some tablets did have (very nice) keyboards. Some people would also love to replace their now antique tablets from 2011... But we can't because no one makes those anymore. The rush towards the bottom happened and 'high end' tablets became dinosaurs. Btw I never considered the android OS on my old tablet 'crippled', it did everything I could want form a tablet and even everything I needed for a laptop. I know not all tablets were like that, but it's been my experience.

        • What kind of keyboard was that?, like keys built into the tablet's body or a more regular external one?

          High end tablets never really went away as far as I know. Most are iPad or Windows x86.
          Quite recently there's been the Google Pixel C as a decidedly high end Android tablet with a keyboard.
          There are negative reviews that have to do with the OS mainly, people complain of running phone software scaled to 10" (which I imagine is worsened by the "flat design" trend) but I guess you'd do ok, as long as you know

          • Re:Saturation (Score:4, Informative)

            by Shadow99_1 ( 86250 ) <theshadow99NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday July 08, 2016 @08:21PM (#52475381)

            I commented on it elsewhere, but my tablet is a Asus Transformer Prime TF-201 from 2011 and it had a detachable keyboard with a hinged 'flip' to it. By default it had a micro-SD card slot, headphone jack, micro-HDMI, and an 8 hour battery among other things. The keyboard held a second battery with nearly the same charge as the main one, full-size USB and SD card slot, and the keyboard itself wasn't cramped (and so you could type at full speed). Heck do to USB I could even connect mice or a desktop keyboard and use them, and I've read/played things from/formatted USB drives with it. I've done everything from video editing to writing on it, so it could do anything I'd possibly want to do on a laptop. Sadly the gorilla glass screen and durable aluminum body construction haven't saved it from eventually getting cracks and dents, though these haven't made it stop working... yet. However it running Android 4.1.1 is both a blessing and a curse. It was still 'designed with tablets in mind', but it is outdated and the software doesn't exactly play well with it anymore.

            I have zero Apple products, so an Ipad is not tempting at all for me. Even if it was the wireless keyboards always seem to have more issues than I'd like to hear about and most don't seem all that good. Windows 'tablets' that I've looked at feel slow and clumsy and I just can't end up liking 'windows lite' apps. I dislike them even on Windows on desktops or laptops.

            I hadn't even heard of the Pixel C. Looking at it though it lacks USB and does the same silly 'no cords man!' thing that the Ipad and most MS tablets do. Even so it looks closer than most to what I'd want.

      • What makes you feel that a laptop is better? While admittedly a pain to carry places, a tablet gives a personal device that is less focused than a laptop. Using a laptop in a restaurant as an example (say eating alone) seems more anti social than a tablet...

        • Laptops have real OS's. I needed to put a new ROM on an Android phone once when overseas (reasons are complicated, but this was the only solution). I couldn't have done that with a tablet. It wasn't my primary phone; it was one I was using as a backup with a local SIM, but it made my life a lot easier to have it rather than pay through the nose for roaming data service.

          For surfing, a tablet is fine. But there are lots of things that require a real OS to do, and old laptops (mine is at least 7 years old) ar
      • Re:Saturation (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jafiwam ( 310805 ) on Friday July 08, 2016 @04:58PM (#52474323) Homepage Journal

        I am eagerly awaiting the end of the stupid trend for websites to all look the same with the same gigantic blocky format in an attempt to "capture" the tablet market.

        Every tablet can zoom, there's no need to dumb down the entire internet for them.

        • by GrBear ( 63712 )

          Tell that to Google who'll eagerly down rank you if your website isn't 'Mobile Friendly'.

    • Re:Saturation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Friday July 08, 2016 @03:51PM (#52473723)
      Lets tell the whole truth. Not just "Dell announced that it will no longer sell Android tablets", but that lots and lots of Android tablets were sold and now Dell will no longer provide updates, including security updates, to their customers for the tablets that they did sell. Now they want to sell something else. They hope to sell lots of them. Can anyone figure out what is going to happen when that market is "saturated"?
      • Re:Saturation (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Chryana ( 708485 ) on Friday July 08, 2016 @05:54PM (#52474633)

        You would have a point if Dell was an exception. Unfortunately, it seems software support ends for a lot of Android device on the moment that they leave the factory. I just checked the Staples site, and most of the tablets they offer are still running Lollipop. Now, even Google has stopped making tablets, so good luck finding an Android tablet whose manufacturer is willing to keep providing updates on it. Thus, I don't see how Dell is better or worse than the rest of the manufacturers out there.

      • by jbolden ( 176878 )

        One of the big upsides of Android is hardware diversity. Device manufacturers can easily customize the device for markets and sub markets. The downside is you have hardware diversity induced by easy customization and thus support is expensive and complicated. Two sides of the same coin.

    • Re:Saturation (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Shadow99_1 ( 86250 ) <theshadow99NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday July 08, 2016 @04:06PM (#52473885)

      It's also different people wanting vastly different things. I commented on this when the Dell news hit. Some are fine with a smart phone and the now rather larger screens on those for all their mobile needs. Other want something bigger, but tend to opt towards a laptop (especially the newer small form laptops and 'slates'). Personally I still want a viable replacement for my Asus Transformer Prime TF-201. It was every bit as viable as a laptop, while running the Android OS instead of being burdened with windows. This gave it battery life over 8 hours on it's own and with the keyboard battery it nearly had 18 hours of charge. It's downfall was horribly bad advertising on the part of Asus and it's price of around $500 which makes it compete with low end laptops. Personally I thought it was way better than any low end laptop I ever used, but most people looking at it purely by price would think the laptop might be the way to go.

      • The Transformer Prime was not a decent laptop replacement. I bought into the hype and purchased one when it first came out. The concept was good, and the battery life was great, But, the tablet OS was useless and the applications were phone apps. Try editing a document or spreadsheet with a phone app. The trackpad seemed to have little use without a real mouse cursor.

        In the end it, like most tablets, was a glorified phone. If all you wanted to do is surf with a crippled browser, play phone type gam
        • Dude, I don't know what you did, but I have edited many spreadsheets and documents (heck I wrote a fricking book on it and used to take class notes when I went back to take some college classes). I had zero issues doing those things. Heck I even edited video on it (that I took with a USB enabled camcorder). Maybe you just chose very bad software (apps)?

          I would agree the trackpad was useless, but it had a USB port and I connected wireless mice to it from time to time if I needed a 'real' pointing device beyo

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Tablets are facing the very same problem as desktops did (and still do): the hardware is easy. It's the software that is really hard. This is as true today as it was in 1968 when Alan Kay has envisioned DynaBook for the first time. Today's tablets are 1968's DynaBooks without a soul. We simply don't have that kind of adaptable, malleable, fun software we were supposed to get. Instead we get gigabytes of stuff that can't do almost anything useful. I wonder if it isn't some kind of mental block on part of the
      • by jbolden ( 176878 )

        I think we do have that kind of software.

        1) Presentation software, sales systems like powerpoint are way more advanced
        2) Interactive books (iBooks)
        3) Photo viewers and browsers to replace albums
        4) Shopping experience websites (tablet users love the interactive shopping experience)
        5) Tablet gaming
        6) Note taking

        I'd say that's a pretty successful. Apple's statistics show that their tablets are still heavily used. Where they have had problems is creating incentives for upgrades.

        • ...and now think again about how these tiny islands of functionality work together (almost not at all, even worse on mobile devices). Plus there's so much untapped potential for novel interfacing on mobile devices for many of these (calculators/simple programming with writing recognition? Grammar-based speech commands? Etc. etc...) that it makes one sad.
    • Speaking for myself, I lost interest in tablets because they break so easily.

      Smart phone cases are strong and the screens are generally small enough that breaks are rare. They happen, but in my family of six we haven't had a smart phone screen break in over three years. Tablets? Three complete tablet failures in three years. Five tablet screen cracks in three years. Meanwhile we have a netbook, two laptops, and four desktops, and the oldest machine is from 2006. The only traditional computer hardwa
      • Big brittle screens are going to break far more easily then small brittle screens simply because they have more length to twist over.
        It sucks.
        At least e-ink is starting to get flexible plastic screens instead of glass but they are still rare. LCD tablets with flexible screens may follow in a few years, but until then is you don't treat them like glass the glass breaks.
  • Bad input (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Friday July 08, 2016 @02:56PM (#52473025)

    The touch interface sucks for a lot of things, making it a lame replacement for many things. Browsing the web is good. Games are are largely bad. Many really need a game pad or mouse style input to be decent. So while an ipad can easily run doom or quake level stuff with ease, mostly the bad control interface ruins them.

    Typing sucks on a touch interface, too slow for anything beyond a few sentences at a time.

    So our ipads mostly get used to watch Netflix while cooking dinner, playing music, checking news, and not much more. Much of the promise is ruined by a lack of mouse and keyboard.

    • Re:Bad input (Score:4, Insightful)

      by The-Ixian ( 168184 ) on Friday July 08, 2016 @03:15PM (#52473233)

      I couldn't agree more.

      My uses for the ipad are:

      casting to the tv
      Playing one of the 2 games (The Sequence and MTG 2015)
      As a notifier and viewer for e-mail

      That's it. Everything else I do (playing music/podcasts, checking weather/news, etc) are all done on my phone or on my gaming PC.

      I don't browse the web on it because of the screen size.
      I don't reply to e-mails because I can't stand typing on a touch screen.
      I don't read my ebooks on it because the screen is terrible for reading (prefer print books or e-ink)
      I don't take pictures or video on it because it is too big and heavy to carry around with me all the time (ipad mini)

      • by mark-t ( 151149 )

        I don't read my ebooks on it because the screen is terrible for reading (prefer print books or e-ink)

        This is, interestingly, what I use my iPad almost exclusively for. I have acrobat reader installed on my Gen 1 ipad, and use it for reading pdfs all of the time.

        First of all, books are physically just too darn big. All of the books I have stored on my ipad would weigh upwards of a couple of hundred pounds.

        Also, while eink is nicer to read than the ipad display, eink's shortcomings with regards to refr

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )

          eink's shortcomings with regards to refresh speed and lack of color capability would not be amenable to the kinds of works that I read

          True, even the Jetbook Color comes nowhere near reproducing skin tones :)
          More seriously it's not likely to impress at any point due to backlighting making colors look more intense than reflected light - slideshow versus print.

      • by Threni ( 635302 )

        I'd add to that "reading PDF format books". I use my kindle for all other reading but 6 inches isn't enough for a pdf as-is, and zooming, rotating etc is just horrific, and trying to convert them into mobi/epub also yields horrific results. I'd really like an a4 size kindle, or, failing that, a 10 inch one.

    • For a small subset of games, the touch interface is an improvement. They are great for Netflix as you mention, and of course for Hulu, Plex, and Amazon video. They also take up less space on an airplane tray table, and weigh less than most laptops. Tablets and laptops are very different products with different niches, that happen to crossover a little bit because some tablets have keyboard covers and can run PC software.
    • by ranton ( 36917 )

      I did use my first iPad quite a lot, but I think only because phones generally had under 4" screen sizes in the beginning. As soon as I got my Note 4, I hardly ever used my tablet. Eventually when I broke my iPad Air I didn't replace it and I haven't missed it. A phone at around 6" gives enough screen real estate for me to replicate the functionality of a tablet, and for anything else I use a tablet or desktop PC.

    • This is why any future tablets I get will be Windows tablets. It makes them so much more useful. Want to play a game? Plug in a USB gamepad or a keyboard and mouse. You can always plug into a keyboard if you need to type up something lengthy. You can have as many applications on your screen at the same time as you want. Because it's running windows it's designed to work with a keyboard and mouse and those devices will just work. Plug it into a full size monitor and you basically have a full size compute

      • The lack of upgradable RAM is what I dislike most about this. Although if we end up with 4GB on really cheap hardware (not $500, morel ike $129) and 8GB or even 16GB on a more expensive one, that'll be decent.

        The issue of storage can be covered by UFS cards, they can replace real hard drives basically.

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        This is why any future tablets I get will be Windows tablets. It makes them so much more useful. Want to play a game? Plug in a USB gamepad or a keyboard and mouse ... will just work

        I've got one. Every time you plug in a USB device it says "detecting hardware" for well over ten seconds whether you've used the device on that machine before or not. "Will just work" my arse. On ALL other systems you pair the bluetooth stuff ONCE or it does the setup ONCE with USB and then it "will just work" afterwards - so

    • I would say that the only reason browsing the web is "good" on a tablet is because browser and website authors have worked (to varying degrees of success) to make it so.

      In the mid-to-late 2000's, when the touch screen smart phones were starting to take off, a lot of websites were not touch friendly at all. Many of them assumed that "hover" was a meaningful action you could take and incorporated things like Flash animations or menus that you had to hover over to activate.

      Most of the things you mention that a

      • I was a roughly day-one purchaser of the iPad, and I have to respectfully disagree, aside from flash issues and some occasional issues with forms, even the original iPad handled websites fairly well in desktop formats. It was one of the reasons I ended up with an iPad BEFORE a smartphone. It was very rare that I could not easily view, navigate, and enter data into a website. About the only major frustration was that for some forms and buttons the lack of a tab or arrow key was problematic in a touch environ
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Games are are largely bad. Many really need a game pad or mouse style input to be decent.

      False.

      Certain category of games are bad - action games in particular (the ones that require "twitch").

      But there are categories of games that a controller, keyboard or mouse is a poor substitute and a touch screen is perfect. Puzzle games (jigsaw, crossword, Sudoku, etc), for example are better to be able to touch and interact with the pieces. Board games too - some even have a smartphone app to interact with the tablet.

      • Handwriting/character recognition on touchscreen devices is pretty amazing these days. I can write in Chinese by tracing characters on my phone or tablet screen about as fast as I can type them using pinyin input with a keyboard.

    • So our ipads mostly get used to watch Netflix while cooking dinner, playing music, checking news, and not much more. Much of the promise is ruined by a lack of mouse and keyboard.

      So it seems like you're already using tablet as intended. Tablets are great for media consumption device, for browsing the web, social networks, or watching videos when you're on a living room sofa, on a bed, on a flight, or in the kitchen. Once you have an urge to use a keyboard, make yourself a favor and get a laptop. As the expe

  • I've used a tablet to take notes, read books, do research, keep kids busy, surf the net etc over the last 6 or so years (I have a gen 1 Galaxy Tab 8.1)

    The only thing I still use it for is reading books, and occasionally as an ODBII reader with Torque. It hasn't replaced anything, it's just another computer I use in situations where a smartphone isn't big enough (or I need the smartphone for something else) and a laptop is too big.

  • First they came for the desktops, but I didn't care, I could use a laptop with an external screen and keyboard.
    Then they came for the laptops, but I didn't care because ... Tablets!
    Then they came for the tablets, and I didn't care because Smartphones make tablets feel like boat anchors.
    You can have my smartphone when you pry it from my cold dead hands!

  • Good (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

    Maybe the people at Apple will get off their asses and finally update their computers.

    Will the 2016 Mac minis be as pathetic as the 2014 models? Not only do we need to be able to upgrade the RAM and HDDs/SSDs but a socketed CPU would be a welcome addition.

    • Funny you should bring upgradeability up, since that actually ties into the topic at hand for me.

      See, I'm still using a 2011 Mac mini. My original plan when I got it was to do some DIY upgrades to increase its worth, upgrade to the new model each time one came out, and then sell the old, upgraded machine to make up my costs (DIY upgraded minis regularly sell at or above the price of new models on eBay) so that I'd have a smooth upgrade path while keeping my costs relatively low or maybe even making a small

      • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

        You're lucky, at least you have an i7 (probably a quad-core too, you'll have no trouble at all in reselling it). The 2010 model was still on Core 2 Duo and that's the only thing I can't upgrade on mine.

    • Will the 2016 Mac minis be as pathetic as the 2014 models?

      Currently, it looks like the 2016 Mac minis will be the exact same model as the 2014 model. It's been almost two years without and update. Even worse on the Mac Pro side of things as it's getting near three years. Cook says that they expect users to upgrade their computer every three years, but we're certainly not going to do it when they are literally the same model when it comes time. I can deal with a lot of things such as loss of ports, but I expect at least yearly updates.

  • But then again, I don't need a laptop for most of what I do, in terms of personal, recreational leisure. I don't even need a desktop. I use my desktop pretty much when i'm having breakfast.

    I read books. I watch movies. I do a bit of web surfing. I look at radar when the sky turns battleship gray. I read/write email. And that's about it. A tablet does all that very well, especially the movie, book, web and radar parts.

    If I'm home, or on a plane, or in a hotel, I use the tablet. (first model of iPad A

  • I think if people could use the same data plans on tablets that they use with their phones the demand would be greater. But as of now, mobile companies are afraid of tablets because they think tablet users would suck away all their precious data. I think some people settle for the smaller phone screen for that reason.
    • I use the same data plan on my phone and my tablets. (Ting)
      My tablet has a phone number and works fine with a headset, although I use google voice more than I use the (relatively cheap $6/mo) phone service.

    • by ranton ( 36917 )

      Which companies don't allow tablets onto their data plans? Do you just mean grandfathered unlimited plans?

      • well, most will want you to buy an additional line of service for the tablet. Anywhere but Sprint you could just use your phone as a hotspot. Sprint want's to charge extra for that (last time I checked) but you could probably get away with it if usage isn't too egregious.
      • Oddly enough you can get a 7 inch cell phone on a regular unlimited data cell plan but I'm not aware of anyone offering data plans for 7 inch tablets at or below the same price.

  • Verdict? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Desktops still not dead.

  • I use them mostly for gaming. I've found phone screens to be too small, both from a visual perspective, as well as an interface perspective. I couldn't imagine trying to use them for productivity though. Can you get BT keyboards (or use the on-screen keyboard)? Sure, but both typically sacrifice something (appearance, feel, layout) to remain portable. Even laptop keyboards don't feel right compared to a desktop keyboard.

    Having said that, as others have suggested, they do have their limited uses. Watching v

  • by Thyamine ( 531612 ) <thyamine@ofdrag o n s . com> on Friday July 08, 2016 @03:29PM (#52473433) Homepage Journal
    Most people see a tablet and know what they want to do with it, or are surprised when it's better than expected. Only tech reviewers and vendor marketing departments were planning on tablets replacing all those things listed. I bought mine because I wanted a tablet, not a phone replacement or a laptop replacement or an interactive dinner plate/hack du jour. I assume most of it is due to a need to generate sales and page views and all that, but mostly I found it was all fairly silly. I like my tablet because it's a tablet, stop trying to tell me why I _should_ like it.
    • Exactly - why don't they design tablets to be tablets, not a replacement for something else? Phone is a great format when out and about on errands, but at home I like the bigger real-estate of my tablet (Galaxy Tab S2, 9.7), handy to have when watching TV and want to look something up or waiting for a notification, or to noodle around on touch-designed games, or read the news, updating social media for work, etc.. All stuff that would be more clunky with my laptop, and irritating on the phone.

      Plus, for d
    • I bought mine because I wanted to browse a few stuff on travel, watch a few youtube outside my computer room, like browse in the park, and a small use taking note and maintaining RPG characters (yes paper and pen is better but I can't read my scratches anymore...). Very limited use, but also pretty much I knew what i wanted to do with it.
  • by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Friday July 08, 2016 @03:31PM (#52473449)

    Tablets were never going to replace anything, they're a flawed compromise between everything else. Manufacturers pushed them in the hopes that they could expand the relevance of the new mobile walled gardens, and the media fueled the hype because blind consumerism. Tablet OEMs who started designing keyboards into new tablets were ahead of the curve.

    Tablets are for consumption, not production. Only now are people realizing this, so their tablet upgrades are laptops or nothing. If you don't need a video clipboard, you don't need a tablet.

    • by dfghjk ( 711126 )

      "Only now are people realizing this..."

      No, most realized it from the start. It is, in fact, less the case now than it was before.

    • Tablets were never going to replace anything

      False. They actually replaced a lot of things. Computers are just as flawed in many ways, as are mobile phones. e.g. Reading a webpage on a computer is incredibly limiting as is watching a movie, or doing anything practical while standing in a train. Tablets sucked applications out of an existing market. They never replaced any single device but they have replaced many functions.

      You've made the same mistake the summary has. The summary said tablets were originally slated to replace all sorts of devices. Thi

    • Tablets are for consumption, not production. Only now are people realizing this, so their tablet upgrades are laptops or nothing.

      Most people either didn't even think about this or already knew this. It was only idiot analysts proclaiming the end of the desktop PC, where production happens. I certainly said this years ago, and so did a lot of Slashdot. We knew.

      If you don't need a video clipboard, you don't need a tablet.

      I finally came up with a use case for a video clipboard this year. Perfect timing. With sales in the toilet, the discounts should be spectacular this Black Friday.

      One thing I've been wondering about though. A tablet is basically an LCD panel, right? With a tiny computer a

      • by Dracos ( 107777 )

        Probably not. Anyone who knows there are 7 to 10 inch standalone LCD screens available knows they can get one for $100 or less instead of paying for a tablet (and only high end tablets would have such a feature). The OEMs want tablets to be as isolated as possible so they have to rely on the cloud and users are mentally primed for SaaS.

        • Anyone who knows there are 7 to 10 inch standalone LCD screens available knows they can get one for $100 or less instead of paying for a tablet...

          I am aware. Point is, I do want to pay for a tablet. I was wondering if I could eke a little more use out of it.

          The OEMs want tablets to be as isolated as possible so they have to rely on the cloud and users are mentally primed for SaaS.

          That about dashes my hopes. Yep, that's what they want. Damn.

    • Tablets are for consumption, not production.

      Tablets are fantastic for gathering data in the field. Laptops generally suck for this purpose, and phones are usually too limited. The 10" tablet is the perfect data gathering tool in many, many circumstances.

      Usually, there is very little overlap in the usefulness of phones, tablets, and laptops. They each serve certain purposes better than the others. It takes very little imagination to see which is most appropriate for a given objective. Tables are great tools for particular problem domains.

  • Those things just don't die, I have still iPads 1 and 2 running quite nicely.

  • GOOD! Maybe now they can give us wireless charging.

    The uUSB port get destroyed in normal usage.

    • Just give me a good magnetically mated copper-to-copper dock.

      This chase after wireless charging through massively less efficient inductive charging is asinine. People didn't *literally* need it to be wireless, they just wanted something that would self-guide and charge and come off easy without thinking about a cable.

      I would love it if Moto Z took their pins on the back and made a 'wireless-like' charging dock.

    • The uUSB port get destroyed in normal usage.

      If "normal usage" means "Can't be bothered to see which side the USB logo is on before jamming it in", then you might be onto something.

      • So this morning, I go to connect my phone to my desktop to copy over some recent photos when I notice... that... yep, the connector on this particular cable is labelled on the wrong damned side. Heh.

        (I still very strongly suspect that you and I have rather different ideas about what constitutes "normal usage", though.)

  • The sensors, screen, processor, resolution can be astounding... ...But getting anything done other than consumption on a tablet or cellphone is a daunting frustrating process, with limited, underwhelming software, and operating systems that can't work, only play.

    No files and folders on IOS.
    No backspace key on the Android virtual keyboards.
    Constant nagging and notifications.
    A culture of constant app spying and insane permissions.
    Devices with operating systems that aren't even supported for 3 years, in spite

  • What else is new? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spaceyhackerlady ( 462530 ) on Friday July 08, 2016 @03:38PM (#52473557)

    Step 1: Apple introduced the iPad and everybody was desperate to get one because it was the trendy item to have.

    Step 2: people started figuring out what they could do with a handy portable computer.

    Step 3: everybody who had a use for a tablet had one and the sales dropped off to replacement level.

    Any remotely interesting new product is going to grow at unsustainable levels until the market is saturated. Then the growth stops.

    ...laura

    • You are missing the step where compact laptops became cost competitive and powerful enough that they weren't a burden to travel with. This made them an extra device for many people.

      Personally, I have a smartphone, tablet, lightweight laptop, and giant desktop. Each does things that the others struggle with. For me, the smartphone would be the first device to go, but I don't see that happening for a while. I do have a compact desktop as well, but that was more of an emergency/contingency purchase.

      There n

      • by Octorian ( 14086 )

        You are missing the step where compact laptops became cost competitive and powerful enough that they weren't a burden to travel with. This made them an extra device for many people.

        Definitely this.
        There was a time when everyone got these unwieldy and clunky laptops, that turned out to be as portable as a desktop under everyday circumstances. So when they needed something actually portable, they went out and got netbooks. Then later, as netbooks went out of style and the iPad was all the rage, they went out and got tablets.

        But today, if you're lucky enough to have a laptop that's actually conveniently portable, a tablet doesn't seem to have much use anymore. A good smartphone has th

  • The company says it will focus more on 2-in-1 -- otherwise known as hybrid laptops -- devices moving forward

    Now the tablet-sold-with-a-shitty-bluetooth-keyboard gold rush begins!

  • The desktop PC is dead! Long live the desktop PC! The laptop is dead! Long live the laptop! The tablet is dead! Long live the tablet! Same song, different verse. Tablet's have their own unique use case. The people that thought they were a replacement for laptops are finding out the limitations of a tablet. Tablets will be around for along time just like laptops and desktops that all have their own place.
  • No SD slot is what is keeping me from replacing my old Toshiba Excite 10. My use case is previewing photos from the DSLR on the tablet. Much better than using the small built in screen on the camera. Leave the laptop at home and the tablet is much lighter in the bag.

    Small use case but definitely a demand among photographers.

    Also what happened to the affordable ($300) 10.1" tablets?

    • Can the tablet read RAW or do you set the camera make a RAW and a JPEG? I will have to check on the speed hit using micro SD verses full sized. Right now I just wait to get home to a real computer to check if I got the shot. Anyway great idea.
    • Also what happened to the affordable ($300) 10.1" tablets?

      Tablets are already priced fairly.

      One thing you gotta realize is that the tablet manufacturers operate on very thin profit margins. People basically want a tablet that has internals that are at least as good as those of a flagship 500-800USD smartphone but with a great looking BIG screen. But you see, the market for the 600-800USD smartphones is largely driven by telecoms which either offer installment plans, lease plans, or heavily discounted smartp

  • by theshowmecanuck ( 703852 ) on Friday July 08, 2016 @04:22PM (#52474019) Journal
    Good for surfing the web on the couch or reading a book. Anything that requires actual work, requires better I/O devices like actual keyboards and mice.
  • We can't seem to decide if we want them to replace all of our devices or only a few of them.

    No, 'we' haven't shown any confusion on the matter.

    The tablet fills the niche of folks who needed 'good enough' compute power in a no-muss, low weight form factor. Analysts and tech media got caught up in the adoption rate by the large untapped market and assumed such a huge surge in sales *surely* meant it was going to supersede personal computers.

    Fast forward to today, tablet sales have flatlined because the 'good enough' market has gotten their devices and there's not much of a drive to upgrade constant

  • My tablet does replace my computer, at home anyway. I use it to Google whenever my curiosity is piqued, I pay my bills online, check my email, read the news, read books, listen to music and occasionally watch video. I rarely use my desktop or laptop computer at home anymore. My tablet is always nearby, all day long.

    If I need to write at length then I might sit in front of my computer but that is rare at home. I do use a computer at work but even then the tablet is nearby playing music with a remote to h

    • I thought I would use a tablet for everything, but then I found I hardly used it. My 3 screened desktop is just too good at everything. A one app tablet is just a chore to use. switching back and forth constantly. Having everything right there is too easy. The last time my desktop died I didn't even bother getting out the tablet while waiting for the part to arrive.
  • by thisisauniqueid ( 825395 ) on Friday July 08, 2016 @06:31PM (#52474851)
    See also: The Gartner Hype Cycle [wikipedia.org]
  • I would say my 10 inch Note is very much worth it. But replacing it with something bigger and better won't do more then this dinosaur.
    IOW, the inital market is gone and now the market is just replacement machines.

    I don't have a smartphone, so I use my tablet for many things. Scan documents. Take pictures of things I am repairing so I know how to put them back together ( :) ). Viewing videos while I'm eating ( amazing how many videos of learning things are out there ), plus putting it next to my desktop whil

  • Tablets are niche, tablets are useless, bladiblah ... lots of diminishing talk about tablets here.

    Let me offer a different perspective:
    I happen to be an accidental tablet user turned convinced tablet user. I got the HTC Flyer back when it's price was coming down. For programming and fiddling. I ended up carrying it with me every day pretty quickly. 1,5 years ago I replaced it with a 10" Yoga 2. Awesome device. 18hrs battery time and aside from programming and typing the best computer-stuff consumption devic

  • The tablet has some pretty tight bounds, but working within those bounds can make a pretty powerful muscle in its own right. I bought my tablet for about a c note a gazillion years ago, and after playing with it a while, let it collect dust. Then I used it for a TV remote, and for playing podcasts on my 3+ hour commute. Now it has Guitar Tuna, Kodi, a flavor of Python and I somehow got Touch Vim to spell check! It's pretty sweet with a full size Bluetooth keyboard. I even watch internet TV on it. Now, it
  • I never understood the need for a tablet since when the phablets came out. I have big hands and no trouble with large screen smartphones, i.e. phablets.

    I have a 5.7 inch display Samsung Galaxy Note, which does most if not all the tricks a tablet does, and many many more since its a phone too.

    In the end the gold rush was over before I even joined.
  • Watch the old ST:TNG episodes. See how the LCARS tablets are used. Even as a simple prop it's pretty revealing. They replace paper. PCs replaced typewriters, but not notebooks and printouts. Tablets take care of that. Many of the comments here elude to that fact without actually stating it. The use cases are for viewing photos, reading documents, etc. In a pinch you can create media with them, but just as writing with a typewriter was faster and more efficient than hand writing, using a tablet for compositi

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