TrendForce predicts tablet slump, laptop growth for 2015

Not that long ago, tablets were dealing blow after blow to the notebook market. Today, things are a little different. Tablet shipments are down, and according to the latest forecast by Taiwanese research firm TrendForce, that decline will continue into 2015. The kicker? Laptops are expected to grow in that time period.

TrendForce predicts that tablet shipments will shrink to 185.6 million units in 2015, a 3.5% decrease. Notebook shipments, meanwhile, are expected to see a modest 0.6% increase to 174.6 million next year.

The report also includes some bold predictions for things in the longer term:

In 2015, TrendForce expects a more diverse array of products will enter the notebook market along with a new operating system. Facing intense competition from smartphones – phablets, in particular – and low-priced notebooks, tablets could eventually be forced out of the market unless manufacturers develop a new business model for them.

I'm not sure I'd go so far as to predict the complete demise of tablets. Consumer enthusiasm does seem to be waning, though. In July, Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly said tablets were "crashing." And last month, Apple's quarterly earnings release showed a 13% decrease in iPad shipments compared to 2013.

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    • TheMonkeyKing
    • 5 years ago

    I am purchasing a new tablet for my wife because the Acer A500 is starting to show some age in operations. Some applications have trouble loading and the performance is way down. It could be because its a Nvidia Tegra 250 and non-Neon. So we’ve been using it for three, almost 4, years.

    As long as the babies don’t smash the glass, I see the newer tablets longevity being about the same length of time. I guess the key is not to jump to the next version of the OS (for either Android or or Apple) unless it truly fixes some key issues you’re having.

    • TheMonkeyKing
    • 5 years ago

    THE PHABLET IS THE LABRADOODLE OF THE COMPUTING WORLD!

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 5 years ago

    Tablets are not going to die out. The problem is that they aren’t providing much reason to be bought on an annual basis any longer. Especially when the only tablets worth buying this year have always been in the $300-500 price range, which are the tablets even LESS likely to be bought on an annual basis (unless you’re Apple and you have Apple fanboy armies that line up to buy new iPhones, iPads, AppleTV’s, Macbooks, etc every time they are released).

    If you want tablets to sell, you follow the model of the Nexus 7. Quality hardware, good QA, good construction, and fair pricing that begs you to buy a new one every year. Price high to milk those users and you’re going to make those same people into upgraders every other year (or even longer).

    Meanwhile, those users are the same ones that WERE buying tablets, but now are looking at their ancient laptops and thinking, “Y’know. Maybe it’s time to upgrade Ol’ Bessie.” Probably reminded by all this talk of Windows 10 and the end of XP support.

    Tablets will be the bee’s knees again next year when Google realizes that the Nexus 9 at $400-480 is NOT a valid replacement for the Nexus 7 at $200-280.

    • NeelyCam
    • 5 years ago

    THE TABLET IS DEAD!!

      • oldog
      • 5 years ago

      LONG LIVE THE TABLET!!

    • maxxcool
    • 5 years ago

    EXCELENT !! Time for a good cheaper x86 quad core tablet to run Backtrack from 🙂

      • derFunkenstein
      • 5 years ago

      There’s lots of them out there. Unfortunately not many of 7″ variety go beyond 1024×600 displays. That kills it for me. Unfortunately the one I’d be interested in isn’t available yet. Dell Venue 8 7000, with a 2560×1600 OLED display. Probably gonna be pricy.

      [url<]http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/19/campaigns/laptops-tablets-coming-soon[/url<]

    • jokinin
    • 5 years ago

    I bought a Galaxy Tab 3 8 inch a year ago, and I see absolutely no reason to upgrade it, because it just runs fine everything I do with it : some social networking, checking email, HD youtube, calendar and some simple games.
    So I don’t think I’ll need an upgrade it, unless it gets broken, battery dies, or I get tired of it, so a few years will pass before I buy another one, I hope.

    • SonicSilicon
    • 5 years ago

    I feel a bit odd reading the comments discussing what a tablet is. It makes me wonder how many people around here knew what a tablet computer was before Apple insisted on defining it for the masses. All sorts of formats existed, eventually being sorted into two broad categories; slates and convertibles.
    Slates are anything that is a single piece, intended to be held by one hand.
    Convertibles are anything that can be switched from one form, usually clamshell/laptop-like, to something more resembling a slate. In the case of some HP tablets, that meant removing the “screen” body from the keyboard dock.

    Full-fledged tablet computers still exist, but the market seems to be all but stagnant, in both price and usability. The most innovation I’ve seen has been Lenovo’s Yoga series.
    I’m still baffled why there isn’t a push for an arts/production-orientated design, which seems woefully under served, yet a clear case.

    TL;DR version : Tablets have been around for a while, and still aren’t really doing much a regular laptop couldn’t. (Stargate : Atlantis … you tried so hard to make them look like the future of computing.)

    • kvndoom
    • 5 years ago

    Well welcome to the PC world, where people finally realized that the computer they bought 2 or 3 years ago is still “good enough.”

    • fyo
    • 5 years ago

    Enthusiasm for tablets isn’t fading. They just last too long (for device makers’ comfort).

    Even a first generation iPad is a perfectly fine device for what most people use tablets for (browsing and some light gaming). The first iPad was introduced more than 4.5 years ago, so that’s quite a long time.

    Apple and Google have also grossly misjudged how tablets are actually used in a family setting. Unlike phones, tablets are very often shared (like consoles and computers), which reduces the need for more devices as the number of family members increases (although personal experience tells me that one per child above toddler-age will result in dad not getting to use one until the kids are in bed or forced outside). As tablets are becoming easier to share, this will only decrease the pressure on tablet-buying.

      • WasabiVengeance
      • 5 years ago

      > Even a first generation iPad is a perfectly fine device for what most people use tablets for (browsing and some light gaming). The first iPad was introduced more than 4.5 years ago, so that’s quite a long time

      This is half true. The 1st gen is several OS updates old at this point, and I would strongly advocate not using it for browsing the web. The 2nd gen iPad is quite usable and fully updated though.

      > Apple and Google have also grossly misjudged how tablets are actually used in a family setting.

      While I agree with your assessment on how people use their tablets, I’m not sure that amounts to Apple and Google misjudging anything; particularly Google since they don’t actually produce their own.

        • fyo
        • 5 years ago

        > While I agree with your assessment on how people use their tablets, I’m not sure that amounts to Apple and Google misjudging anything

        Neither Apple nor Google supplied a multi-user environment. That’s a software issue, not a hardware one. Having someone like Samsung try to touchwiz / graft a multi-user frontend onto Android would not be a good idea, IMHO.

        I’ve yet to see ANY tablet bought by someone in a family that isn’t shared to some extent. So unless the SOLE market for Apple and Google are (were) singles, it’s a gross misjudgment. Sure, it hits the “geeky tech nerd” stereotype on the head and might get some DINKY action, it hardly seems like a move filled with foresight.

        With Apple getting some serious competition in teaching environments, better multi-user support is a must to grow their market in the living room.

          • BabelHuber
          • 5 years ago

          I call this BS:

          Android supports multi user on tablets since Android 4.2.

          Some vendors have removed this feature, though. But still it is no problem whatsoever to buy an Android tablet with multi user capabilities.

            • fyo
            • 5 years ago

            Hence my use of past tense and singling out of Apple at the end.

            Reading. Comprehension.

            Regardless, multi-user support isn’t exactly a great, flawless experience. Handling of apps and google accounts still needs a lot of work, for example.

      • Prestige Worldwide
      • 5 years ago

      The iPad 1 is not supported by most games being released on the iTunes store these days, most have iPad 2 as minimum requirement in my experience.

    • Shouefref
    • 5 years ago

    It doesn’t suprise me: tablets are far too limited. No wonder people like to replace their older notebooks by newer versions. It was bound to happen.
    It also shows that MS was wrong with W8.x. They were completely blown away by the hype advertising campaigns from other firms had created.

    • BabelHuber
    • 5 years ago

    As armchair analyst, I have the following thoughts:

    1.) Does it really make sense to put tablets and notebooks in different categories at all?

    One could also simply distinguish between ‘mobile’ devices and ‘portable’ ones. A mobile device is all the time with you, like a smartphone, while ‘portable’ means you can carry it around, but you usually do not carry it around all the time.

    Only a few people will carry their notebook/ tablet when they visit a cinema, but almost everybody has a smartphone in the pocket .

    2.) Lots of people bought tablets during the last 4 years. Perhaps now people are upgrading their notebooks again?

    Or perhaps some people thought that a tablet can replace a notebook. Now that they see that this is not the case, they have to upgrade their notebooks?

    3.) Tablets are already ‘good enough’

    I bought the original Samsung Galaxy Tab when it came out in 2010. It only had a single core Cortex A8@1GHz.

    This year in April, I bought the Sony Z2 tablet (Snapdragon 801, quad core Krait@2.3GHz)

    The Sony is fast enough for surfing the net, video playback and all the other things I do with it.
    The Galaxy Tab was not fast enough, I always thought it should be faster. Perhaps I would still use it if it had the speed of the Sony…

    • NTMBK
    • 5 years ago

    Who really needs an updated tablet any more? The Nexus 7 2013 is still TR’s top recommendation over a year after it’s launch. It’s a great form factor, with adequate resolution and processing power for any normal tablet task (web browsing, video playback, reading). My girlfriend has one, and I honestly can’t think of any reason she would ever update it- unless Google pushes “updates” to Android that totally shaft its performance, or unless the battery no longer held a charge.

      • jihadjoe
      • 5 years ago

      Same thing with smartphones. I’m still very happy with last year’s crop. My Galaxy S4 already has a 1080P screen and the performance of Snapdragon 600 is still very acceptable.

        • esterhasz
        • 5 years ago

        I recently had an accident with my phone and had to send it in. As a replacement, I’m using the Galaxy Nexus, which came out exactly three years ago. It has a cracked screen, that’s why I got a new phone, but besides the annoying cracks, it still works.

        It has gotten a bunch of updates (stopped at 4.3) since I last used it and I tell you what, it’s still perfectly fine. I’m not using any demanding stuff, but the basics (email, calendar, web, spotify, kindle, podcasts, …) are maybe not always super snappy, but really fine. If not for the cracks, I’d use it as my main phone without hestation.

        • blastdoor
        • 5 years ago

        In terms of screens and CPU/GPU performance, I totally agree.

        There are other things that would make a new smartphone worthwhile from my perspective, but they are things that are technically much harder to achieve. The two biggies for me are (1) better photos (regardless of whether that’s achieved by a better ISP, better lens, better CCD, or whatever) and (2) longer battery life. Moore’s law is indirectly helpful for making improvements in these things, but the bigger constraints are the physics of cramming a camera lens into a thin smartphone and battery technology.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 5 years ago

          I would certainly settle for a phone that was 1mm thicker if it meant it had a noticeable amount of extra battery life. Seems like it might be in the neighborhood of 35-40%. The battery on my Galaxy S4 is approx. 4mm thick. If it was 5mm thick and the phone was 9mm thick instead of 8, and I got 1/3 or better battery life (since the plastic case of the battery wouldn’t need to be any thicker), I think I’d really love it.

      • albundy
      • 5 years ago

      true dat! even then, if my tablet’s battery no longer held a charge, i’d crack it open and solder in a new Li-polymer battery!

      • Chrispy_
      • 5 years ago

      N7 2012 still doing a fine job over here, too.

    • chuckula
    • 5 years ago

    I’d be moderately curious to see if my Helix 2 is considered a tablet or a laptop. I know that the 2-in-1 convertibles are a niche so their numbers wouldn’t massively change the outcome, but the line between tablet & laptop is not as clear cut as it used to be.

      • Zizy
      • 5 years ago

      Simple – if keyboard is a physical part of the device = laptop. Otherwise = tablet. Transformer is a tablet. Yoga is a laptop.

      • NeelyCam
      • 5 years ago

      Did you get it already? How is it?

        • chuckula
        • 5 years ago

        On the silicon side I think it’s great for it’s intended purposes.

        The software platform (Windows 8.1) and keyboard/trackpad combo aren’t perfect but overall I’m pretty happy with it.

        More info here: [url<]https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=98633[/url<]

    • derFunkenstein
    • 5 years ago

    “Tablet” and “laptop” (or “notebook”) doesn’t have to be as nebulous as some want to make it. It could just be as simple as “Chromebooks” handing Apple their lunch in the education market:

    [url<]http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/12/01/googles-chromebook-overtakes-apples-ipad-in-u-s-schools-says-idc-report/[/url<]

    • blastdoor
    • 5 years ago

    I know a lot of people who use iPads all the time. The problem from Apple’s perspective is that they are using the same iPad they initially bought. Also, much of the usage that I see is fairly light weight except for games. Other than games, it’s just web, email, videos, reading books. With that kind of usage there is very little reason to upgrade.

    Of course, there are people who use iPads for more work–oriented stuff, but I think they are in the minority. Or rather, they are in the minority of iPad users. But at this point, they may make up a more significant proportion of iPad buyers.

      • Voldenuit
      • 5 years ago

      [[quote<]Of course, there are people who use iPads for more work–oriented stuff, but I think they are in the minority. Or rather, they are in the minority of iPad users. But at this point, they may make up a more significant proportion of iPad buyers.[/quote<] Boeing issues iPads to some of its factory workers, that're connected to a secure portal for them to pull up engineering drawings from. It's a lot easier to crawl into an airplane's wingbox or tail section with an iPad than the standard issue 15" Dell laptop. But, like you said, definite fringe use case.

    • drfish
    • 5 years ago

    I just never figured out how to work a tablet into my daily usage… Sure they make sense some of the time (mostly travel related) but I know I’ve gone entire weeks at a time without touching one except to get Netflix playing MLP or Curious George for my daughter…

    • Ninjitsu
    • 5 years ago

    Well, we’ve all being saying it’ll happen for years. It was common sense. Tablets have their place, but so do laptops.

    • TwoEars
    • 5 years ago

    These distinctions are becoming awfully blurry these days. I have several friends who have tablets with bluetooth keyboards and use them for work.

    Two friends have the HP “Slate” with windows 8 and then a bluetooth keyboard. How is that any different from a laptop really?

    What actually makes a tabled these days? That the keyboard doesn’t attach directly to the frame? That it doesn’t run Win8? Like I said… blurry.

    • sweatshopking
    • 5 years ago

    The rise of windows touchscreen devices continues.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 5 years ago

      I thought you said convertibles were dumb, and when you wrote that, it was in lower-case.

      • HERETIC
      • 5 years ago

      Browsing my local Parts store yesterday,
      They list nine tablets-One Android-EIGHT Windows…………

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