Despite reports of tablet sales reaching a plateau, a report tabled by NPD Display Search claims demand for tablet devices is expected to scale new heights in the coming years. The report, titled “NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report,” claims there will be 315 million tablet devices sold in 2014, while the figure is projected to rise to 455 million by 2017. With that many tablet devices in use, it will translate to almost 75 percent of the mobile computing device segment.
“Momentum for the tablet PC market is in full swing as it has become the dominant mobile PC form factor,” said Richard Shim, senior analyst at NPD DisplaySearch. “Competition is expected to increase as traditional notebook PC brands, including Lenovo, HP, and Dell update their product portfolios to emphasize tablet PCs. Increased competition will mean more attention on, and development of, various segments of the market, which will ultimately lead to greater choice and devices that better fit the needs of consumers.”
The constant improvement in technology coupled with a general lowering of cost of tablet devices is being held as the prime factors stimulating growth of the segment. Tablet devices now offer not only enhanced processing power but also improved displays and better battery times to make for a thoroughly enhanced tablet computing experience over what it was even two years ago. Also, the next round of tablet growth is projected to be fueled in those regions where first time buyers will make up a significant proportion.
Another interesting development witnessed in the tablet space is the rise in prominence of phablets, or big screen smartphones. These are typically less than 7 inches but have cast a doubt on the usefulness of the 7 inch tablet; possibly, all 7 inch tablets will offer voice calling capability in the future. This has led to the rise of the 8 inch tablet segment which is fast getting populated. Further, another size segment coming up is the one offering 12.2 inch or so of display which is targeted more at the professionals, academics, or artists. These will no doubt be priced more, and is yet in the early stages. The emergence of hybrid tablet/notebook devices will also be keenly watched over time, as these can turn out to be sizable players in the tablet segment, more so given the sharp decline that the notebook segment has witnessed over time.