back to article PEAK FONDLESLAB: Fewer people will use tablets next year – claim

The number of people using touchscreen tablets will decline in the coming year. This according to analysts at ABI Research, who say that the tablet sector is running out of new buyers, and will soon face its first ever decline in use. "The global installed base of branded tablets will peak around 373 million units at the …

  1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

    Certainly true for Google Nexus tablets


    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Certainly true for Google Nexus tablets

      Compared to the other cheapo Android tablets, far from true. My Nexus 7 (original model) still going well with Cyanogen to remove all the google nastiness.

      That said, my £70 cheapo WIndows tablet is miles better.

    2. Mikel

      Re: Certainly true for Google Nexus tablets

      Two years on our Nexus 7 2013 tablets are still going strong, seeing many hours of use each day. Standard software, zero maintenance, killer battery life. The kids love them. Far and away the best bang for the buck I have ever gotten out of a tech purchase.

      I have bluetooth keyboard and mouse for mine and use it as a PC with the big screen sometimes. I watch Netflix and do Hangouts - my Bluetooth headset is great for that. I play casual games and use it for Google Maps on the road. The kids like to use theirs to take turns throwing YouTube videos to the TV and Chromecast - a replacement for TV where they are the network programmers. Wireless charging has cured the charging port breakage problem the kids had with previous tabs.

      A heck of a deal for the $170 I paid on sale at Staples two years ago. I am looking at the new Nexus tabs for Christmas but it is going to be hard to justify throwing these in a drawer. Maybe a Linux Steam Machine and UHD monitor instead.

  2. John Robson Silver badge

    Still don't like touchscreen phones...

    They're either too small to properly browse or too large to use as a phone.

    I'm pondering a Pebble to go with the iPad mini (similar sized Android devices exist, but I need iOS for remote control of certain audio hardware), and a "feature" phone*.

    Nexus7/iPad Mini sized tablets hit that sweetspot - for me - of being pocketable (easier for the N7 than the iMini due to aspect ratios) and yet large enough to be properly useful.

    * It's a phone - that's the "feature" I need... Currently using a 'smart'phone as a feature phone - until it dies anyway.

  3. Mage Silver badge


    Restricted compatibility via USB, no SD slot, 40% over priced. How did they manage to get 42% of the market?

    1. Aitor 1

      Re: iPad

      Slick integration, light weight, very good screen, good design and inertia.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: iPad

      Because Apple did what they've always done best, since their first micros - marketing.

      Public don't think of a 'tablet' - they think of an 'iPad', like they didn't think of mp3 players, but 'iPod' entered the conciousness.

      Whether you like Apple or not, they've always done this the best.

      How else did they get people to continue paying for machines that could be had better and cheaper from the likes of Commodore, Tandy et al?

      You play with perceptions. And it works - look now for example, they're a household electronics name. The brand is so strong they make films about Steve Jobs, with other pioneers of the era being tragically ignored leaving those venerated in increasingly untouchable positions of regard.... much the same way great kit gets overlooked now, for lack of that logo.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Input catch up

    The tablet is a decent display wedged under an input method, once the IO gets upgraded to neural and eye tracking they might start selling again.

    Another stupid idea(s) many have taken is the no external storage and "OTG or Charge" decision, I want a tablet I can attach one cable (or dock), have it charge, connect to USB hub and possibly a display (picture in picture even). The can't charge while OTG seems one of the stupidest "didn't think about it" engineering choices of the last few years.

  5. Chika


    I can see the point of this story, though it's probably down to usage. For example...

    My tablet has been a staple of my work trackside at a certain motor circuit for the last couple of years but in the rush to get to a meeting last week, I forgot to pack it into my kit. As a result, I installed the tool of preference onto my phone (a Huawei Honor 6) and used that instead. It was a lot less bulky (I could keep it with me even when my hands were busy with cameras) so it actually worked out far better than my clunky 10" tablet - the upshot is that I may continue to use my phone for the remainder of the season.

    I've said on a couple of occasions that the tablet was a fad and that while they do have their uses, they cannot be a complete replacement for the PC or, so it seems, the phone. I suspect that the larger tablets will become a niche market at best.

  6. wyatt

    I've not found a use for one so haven't got one, would I like one? Maybe but it would be another gadget rather than a tool so I haven't found the cash to spare on it. I've a phone/laptop/tv which fill my needs currently.

  7. RonWheeler

    Bought one, lasted a month, unlikely to buy another

    Had a Nexus 7 for about a month. Flogged on Gumtree due to lack of usefulness. Phone is easier to use due to one handed thing. If I want to do something the phone couldn't do, my full desktop is first choice or £150 Lenevo S20 11.5 inch laptop second.

    Also app ecosystem is too phonecentric for tablets - even doing basic stuff like copy and paste is a faff on tablets.

    I can see them being useful for watching movies on the train.Anything else, meh.

    1. Franco Silver badge

      Re: Bought one, lasted a month, unlikely to buy another

      That's pretty much what my Nexus 7 gets used for. I'm an IT contractor, so having a small portable device that I can connect to a hotel's TV or use on a plane/train/bus with movies, music, ebooks etc is useful.

      Although I've got the MS Office suite on it, I wouldn't use it to do actual work except in a pinch.

    2. Vic

      Re: Bought one, lasted a month, unlikely to buy another

      Flogged on Gumtree due to lack of usefulness.

      There are some things for which a tablet has no peers. I use mine for SkyDemon, for example. That would be awful on a phone, and a laptop would be simply unusable.

      But niche applications like that aren't going to prop up the industry...


  8. lurker

    "fewer people using the things"

    "fewer people using the things"

    Not sure this is true, fewer people buying does not necessarily mean fewer using, just that the market is saturated and there's really very little reason to upgrade if you have one.

    I'm using a Samsung tab 2 from 3 years ago now, and it does chrome and youtube fine, and really that's all I need it for.

    As for uses, pretty much all I seem to use mine for is youtube/twitch apps in bed, but that's a perfectly reasonable use-case as far as I'm concerned. The little boy has had quite a lot of use out of it on angry birds and similar, too.

  9. Fred M

    Fewer people saying "fondleslab"?

    As long as fewer people are using the word "fondleslab" then I'll be happy. (Let's be honest - it's pretty much just here.)

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Fewer people saying "fondleslab"?

      Here, and Bill Bailey!

    2. Franco Silver badge

      Re: Fewer people saying "fondleslab"?

      I like fondleslab a whole lot better than "phablet" but that might just be me.

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Fewer people saying "fondleslab"?

        Isn't that a phondleslab?

  10. Otto is a bear.

    Upvote for Wyatt

    Have to agree, I have a Note, I thought it would be useful, but actually, I find paper and my laptop far more versatile for what I need, so my Note spends most of its time doing nothing.

    I've also found with both my Note, and iPhone that some things I need to do are a lot less friendly on a mobile device, things like visiting some websites and paying for tickets.

    I suspect it would be a lot different if more organisations that I use regularly had proper mobile sites, but they don't, and probably won't now.

  11. g00se

    Triumph of form over content

    High time fewer people were buying these hobbled netbooks, or at least just the probably miniscule few who actually have a genuine use case.

  12. Chris Evans

    Are tablets that unreliable!

    There will only be a reduction in the user base if the number sold is less than the number that break or considered too old to use, which I doubt.

  13. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Ha... just went thru buying a tablet :-(

    So I needed a better GPS, something with a bigger screen than my 4.5" Moto G. I looked at TomTom & Garmin and they had nothing bigger than 5" so I thought "I KNOW! I'll get a cell-enabled tablet! And it'll be useful for things other than a GPS!"


    Well, at least on this side of the pond, Android tablets are any/all of the following:

    * No cell connection for most of 'em

    * Expensive

    * Android shat on and stirred with a stick, and no Cyanogen available

    * Sony or Samsung (no sale)

    * Carrier locked to either AT&T or Verizon

    * Finding out product details (like "is it cell-enabled?" or "is it carrier-locked?") is worse than a Sherlock Holmes novel.

    Soooo... I bought my first Apple product: an iPad Mini 2 with cell.

    It's sad how clipped and stunted it is, and it could be so nice. For example, Safari/Chrome won't open local HTML files, so I can't transfer over my bookmarks. I also can't use it as a USB storage device like Android, so I have to use a FTP client to transfer files.

    I'm shocked to see the App Store app crash/hang at the stirrings of a butterfly's wings. And unable to tell me basic things like how much I spent for an app.

    So I can indeed use it as a GPS with Nokia HERE, Google Maps, etc... and I can play solitaire on it. That's about it. Oh and I managed to get a PDF on it, which was fairly readable.

    And speaking of tablets, I had a Motorola Xoom... the less said about that, the better.

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