back to article 2017 tablet market trended towards torpor

The tablet computer market took a steep dip in 2017 according to analyst firms IDC and Strategy Analytics. The former firm found sales down 6.5 per cent to 163.5 million, compared to 2016’s 174.9m. Strategy Analytics had a higher number for units shipped – 185m – but a sharper annual dip of nine per cent. Both analysts found …

  1. ratfox Silver badge
    WTF?

    fine for streaming Netflix [...] I cannot imagine it being used for serious email, social media viewing

    When did email and social media become more resource intensive than streaming video??

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      When did email and social media become more resource intensive than streaming video??

      Around the time when video drivers and infrastructure enabled the system to use the hardware decode and scaling in the video.

      This is now across the board. I can easily view a full HD stream on a 6 year old vintage 1.0GHz E-series AMD. At the same time, if I try to use it for web surfing, I have to take coffee breaks until it loads a page if I do not use both adblock and noscript.

    2. joeldillon

      Around when people decided megabytes upon megabytes of JavaScript libraries were necessary for each and every webpage, I guess.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Upvoted

        I have a desktop PC that is used for e-mail and stuff like that. (We do have a gaming PC too)

        It's not too bad - a AMD Athlon II X3 425 Processor, 4 GB of RAM and an Nvidia card in it. It runs well on most things but web browsing has got so slow of late.

        I'm still working out whether to chuck more RAM in it or give up completely and get a new PC.

        Web Pages are horribly optimised. Only with ADBLOCK and other tricks to limit DNS can you limit what things are loaded on the page.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Upvoted

          A PC, how retro. Been PC-less in our house for 5 years now, its simply not needed. Tablets for internet (an xperia z3 tablet compact and a nexus 7 2013, both updated to Lineage Oreo 8.1 and working superbly). A PS4 for gaming.

          The days of fscking about with PCs and all the problems that go with anything Microsoft related is simply not worth it.

          The reason we have not updated from tablets from 2014, because tablet makers have lost the plot and aren't selling decent replacements, instead selling weird aspect ratios, or too heavy or too big, or too expensive, or too cheap options. Nothing is hitting the magic sweet spot

  2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    plus nasty slides for off-brand tablets.

    Everybody has been burned at least once. Everybody has said "never again". Even grandma who was wondering why the grandkids frown at a 70$ tablet from Tesco as a Christmas present.

    Same story as with computers - in the 90-es the brands controlled < 20% and everyone was assembling clones. Today, only geeks assemble their own and brands control 95%+.

    All in all - Quelle surprise.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Today, only geeks assemble their own

      Excuse me, but I assemble my own. I may be a geek, but... er, what was the other thing?

      In the 90s it was mostly geeks who used computers. Oh, the good old days...

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Everybody has been burned at least once. Everybody has said "never again". Even grandma who was wondering why the grandkids frown at a 70$ tablet from Tesco as a Christmas present.

      Or the $99 Insignia Flex from WorstBuy... Oh, excuse me, "BestBuy". Guaranteed apps will crash on it 5 times a day, even if you've freshly booted it.

  3. djstardust Silver badge

    Huawei grew 28 per cent and shipped 12.5 devices.

    Well done them. And that's without the Americans banning them. Feel sorry for whoever got half a tablet though....

    1. Snowy
      Joke

      or maybe

      @djstardust it was 25 half devices

  4. mark l 2 Silver badge

    "Microsoft certainly has high hopes for its efforts, not least because they’ll be sold through telcos with a data plan and offer battery life said to be an order of magnitude beyond that of current tablets"

    Other than them having bigger batteries that iPads or Android tablets i fail to see how Windows ARM tablets will offer that much better battery life, even with a custom designed SOC just for Windows on Arm i doubt it is going to be that much of an improvement

  5. AMBxx Silver badge
    FAIL

    Not sure Amazon will keep it up

    My Dad has a Kindle Fire HD. Lovely piece of kit - fast to respond and brilliant screen. Problem is that you have to use Amazon's own app store which is always slow to update. He likes to play Words With Friends, but the version on Amazon is ancient. Yes, I will get round to side loading from a 'proper' Android tablet, but there's no way he could do this without my help.

    1. Gnomalarta

      Re: Not sure Amazon will keep it up

      Google app store on Fire is a cinch http://blog.the-ebook-reader.com/2017/06/09/how-to-install-google-play-on-2017-fire-tablets-in-5-minutes/

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Not sure Amazon will keep it up

        Anything that takes a guide and five minutes is something 98% of people are simply not going to do. Sideloading is useless to the masses because it is too complicated.

        I mean hell you could download primitive apps onto phones before the iPhone, but almost no one did because it was too much to ask the average person to fiddle with proprietary cables connected to a PC - or worse, IR - and some proprietary program - or worse something like XMODEM.

      2. LewisRage

        Re: Google app store on Fire is a cinch

        Which is fine if you are looking for it, or even know to look for it.

        And frankly not getting people who don't know what they are doing into sideloading APKs they find on the internet is a good thing, having had to technical support clueless family and friends Windows boxes in the 90's/2000's.

    2. LewisRage

      Re: Not sure Amazon will keep it up

      Father in Law was after a better tablet and had read that the Fire HD didn't have 'full android' and so hadn't bought one, despite enjoying his 8" Fire tablet that also didn't have full android.

      I explained that if he wasn't missing it now he won't miss it in the future. And I I think that would be true for most people; they simply won't understand that the Amazon app store is a second class citizen and that there are options, to them it's just the way it is. Different from their phone but still has most of the same apps so who cares or even notices?

      It's only us geeks that dick about with custom roms and sideloading APKs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not sure Amazon will keep it up

        Fire users often only realise that they're running a second-best platform when they go looking for an app that is available for Android, but not available on amazon devices. I take the point that many people will never find themselves in that situation, but it's rather frustrating for those it does affect. You can bet their next purchase won't be another fire, and that they will tell their friends why.

        Fire devices will continue to do well whilst amazon keeps pouring money on marketing them, but their reputation of being "not full android" isn't going to go away.

        1. StuCom
          Meh

          Re: Not sure Amazon will keep it up

          Amazon Fire devices are now all low-end, low-quality, you-get-it-coz-its-cheap-but-you-know-what-you're-buying type devices. There's a big market for cheap devices which Amazon is proving. My 3-year old has one and she loves it (I think it's unacceptably slow, dim and cheap). But I wonder how many people buy them they're beating the system and getting an iPad for less money. Will that just put them off tablets altogether?

          I myself got an Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 v4 back when they sold them; it was a proper 'top of the range' tablet that has aged now but still works (quite well). It's only used for basic surfing, Netflix and consuming Amazon services. Games make it hot like the Sun and require much battery replenishment.

          Not having 'proper' Android is probably a bonus; no temptation to install some battery busting monster of an application. I dabbled with side-loading the google services and app store last year but guess what? Battery life tumbled to unusable levels. Having to charge a 'dead' tablet every time you want to pick it up gets old very quickly. Wipe.

          But there is no equivalent Amazon device these days. If I want to upgrade I have to move up. So, I'm looking to buy a proper iPad again this year so I can get a full-fat tablet experience.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not sure Amazon will keep it up

            I think it's unacceptably slow, dim and cheap

            Bit harsh on your own offspring

  6. Hairy Spod
    Paris Hilton

    I miss my Sony tablet

    There's still nothing I'm happy to replace it with

    It died after my baby boy wondered off with it and dropped it in the bath with the flap that normally seals the charging port to make it water proof open :-(

    Paris cos its still the prettiest and was dumb thing to do

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't want a 2 in 1, the idea of a tablet is you've only one thing to worry about and it's easy to pick up and put down. I don't want to arse about with a flimsy keyboard connector that most likely has a MTBF of <10, if I do want a keyboard (most unlikely) then bluetooth will do fine and it has the great advantage of working with other devices that use bluetooth.

    Poor old Microsoft, still stuck in the 1990's.

    1. peterm3
      Meh

      Bluetooth connections can be flakey

      My Apple Mouse (Mighty perhaps) loses its connection every ten minutes.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Bluetooth connections can be flakey

        If you don't like it, use something else. I find my Surface Pro 4 to be great for how I work.

        Horses for courses.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bluetooth connections can be flakey

          >If you don't like it, use something else. I find my Surface Pro 4

          https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/1/16958954/microsoft-surface-pro-4-screen-flickering-issues-flickergate

          Don't worry, I will use something else.

      2. whatevs...

        Re: Bluetooth connections can be flakey

        That, bizarelly, may be a battery fitting issue. Pad out the battery compartment and it will stop.

      3. Wibble

        Re: Bluetooth connections can be flakey

        My Apple Mouse (Mighty perhaps) loses its connection every ten minutes.

        In the words of the air crash news reporter: Sum Ting Wong.

        Used the Apple mouse for years and don't get problems on Macs. Although... sometimes a VM running WinDos can shag the connection when it contends.

        Would go as far as to say that the new touch Apple Magic Mouse (at least 6 years old now) is IMHO the best mouse I've *ever* used. The old mighty-mouse (with the little roller nipple) wasn't much cop when it got dirty.

        For balance, Apple also made one of the worlds worst mouse - that truly awful puck thing.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the coming wave of ARM-based, always connected Windows 2-in-1s

    All the better to spy on you 24/7 then.

    Sorry but this trend to always having to be connected is just getting silly. So what if you want to give two fingers to the world and just chill out for a few hours/days/weeks/months? I write fiction in my spare time. I can do that miles from any 'Internet Connection'. This trend to always connected devices and 'cloud' makes that impossible. Thankfully, my old Thinkpad runs Linux very well and Libre Office does not need to send everything I do back to the mothership. Things are going full circle and we'll soon be back to the modern equivalent of the Dial-up terminal that talked to a Mainframe (with a green screen) somewhere on the planet. Progress, what progress.

    It is little wonder that many of my friends are talking about ditching the Internet except for 1-2 hours a day at most and going back to a simpler life. I'm tending to agree with them.

    Stop the world, I wanna get off.

    1. peterm3
      Go

      Re: the coming wave of ARM-based, always connected Windows 2-in-1s

      There is a trend towards centralised systems that are reliable. In the 2000s we spent half our time disinfecting your laptop from viruses, and remembering to back everything up.

      You now have the convenience of everything in the cloud and I even a chromebook can operate offline for a while. Think of the interenet as a utility like water or mains eletricity. Your holiday cottage in Wales might not have internet, but it might not have mains water or electricity.

      1. applebyJedi

        Re: the coming wave of ARM-based, always connected Windows 2-in-1s

        You actually described most of Wales there.... I’ll get my coat!

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: the coming wave of ARM-based, always connected Windows 2-in-1s

      I write fiction in my spare time. I can do that miles from any 'Internet Connection'. This trend to always connected devices and 'cloud' makes that impossible. Thankfully, my old Thinkpad runs Linux very well and Libre Office does not need to send everything I do back to the mothership.

      I've experimented with using a half-size (5.5x8.5", your side of the pond will have an A-something classification for it) ring-binder notebook for writing, something portable and free of *online* distractions (doesn't mean the squirrel outside the window won't distract me).

  9. davenewman

    I have just got 6 Chinese phablets for £90 each to use in a training session. They are pretty fast, do 5 GHz WiFi and 4G mobile phones. Only problem is they all have the same serial number, so mobile device management software thinks they are all the same device.

  10. fishman

    Cheap tablets

    I remember a number of years ago that a $100 tablet was a terrible piece of crap, with only 4GB of storage, crap screen, slow processor, and ancient version of Android.

    For $50 when it is on sale, you can get a Fire HD8 - maybe not fast enough to play some games, but more than fast enough for the web or watching video. And Amazon seems to be updating the OS - my 1 1/2 year old tablet just got the latest OS update two weeks ago.

    Of course, all of the data that would have gone to Google now goes to Amazon.

  11. bed

    Linx Win10 tablet

    Last year I got the wife a Linx 1010B 2GB / 32GB windows tablet for £77 which works fine for her - mostly netflix, e-mail and some web browsing. A bit slow installing Win 10 from scratch via USB stick but with USB keyboard and mouse installed subsequent configuration went fine, if a bit slow. It replaced a Tesco Hudl which eventually becaime unusable. I quite fancy the 4GB/64GB version.

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