Tablet sales are down, but things are still looking up

Tablet sales are down, but things are still looking upThis tablet thing continues to be a fairly divisive phenomenon. Some people love 'em, some people – and to be honest your humble scribe falls into this camp – can't really be bothered with them.

And it's this lot who might raise an interested eyebrow in hearing news that tablet shipments in Q1 actually fell nearly 30% – well, until you reason things through, that is.

Part of the problem for the tablet scene, of course, is that it remains so spectacularly dominated by the iPad. So when the iPad has a sales dip, the whole market suffers. And guess what happened in Q1...

According to IDC, a total of 7.2 million tablets were sold from January to March, versus 10.1 million shifted in Q4 of last year. The majority of those were iPads of course, though the Android opposition now holds a respectable 34% worldwide market share... well, semi-respectable considering how many there are now ganging up on Apple's wonder-slab.

Add to that the fact that Q1 is always the slowest quarter and Q4 always the highest, plus the fact that most prospective iPad buyers were waiting for the iPad 2, and not only do Apple's sales actually start to look quite good, but so by extension do the whole tablet market's too.

Says IDC analyst Jennifer Song: “Although media tablet sales were not as high as expected in the first quarter of 2011 due to slower consumer demand, overall economic conditions and supply-chain constraints, we believe with the entrance of competitive new devices in the second half of 2011, the market will sell close to 53 million units for the year and continue to grow long-term.” Yes, that was all one sentence.

So bad news after all for the tablet haters – the slate bandwagon rolls on.

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6 comments

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 12, 2011 at 19:23

The IDC... Well worth researching the 'researchers'. I said that before, and that aside? Who cares. If you want one, buy one.

xempo  Jul. 12, 2011 at 19:56

Tablets aren't going anywhere. If the sales are going down it's just because people are waiting until it becomes viable to replace their old devices.

iankcampbell  Jul. 12, 2011 at 23:25

Okay, I admit it - I got an iPad for its bling factor, thinking I'd hardly ever use it. Wrong! I use it every day and all the time to look things up quickly (rainfall radar is a must), plus I love seeing all the apps on a screen that I don't have to squint at! Keep those tablets coming I say!

tryptase  Jul. 13, 2011 at 09:03

Not a replacement for a laptop, but perhaps when Windows 8 comes along that may change.

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 13, 2011 at 12:08

Actually, I do think there is a market for tablets - a lot of peeps have netbboks and laptops solely to surf the web, tweet or FB...
I think price is an issue and certain missing features - such as missing USB-hosting, ethernet etc... Interestingly, I played with a cheap Android netbook the other day (a Toshiba) for €200. That had ethernet, 2 USB sockets etc etc... I see no reason why a tablet for 3x the money wouldn't offer those?

If they claim, the thin slim formfactor cannot facilitate that, they are lying - look at the way Nokia facilitate USB-on-the-go, or how HP dealt with the issue of a tiny case and big sockets...

tryptase  Jul. 14, 2011 at 08:35

Agreed, tablets are great casual devices but they lack in value compared to a netbook.

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