A new report has suggested that tablet sales dropped by 13.5% last year. Amazon and Samsung have been amongst the worst hit with drops of 33.5% and 16% respectively, while Apple has more or less kept its sales at a level even as the industry struggles around it.
It wasn’t all bad news for Samsung. The IDC report (via Fortune) points out that it’s still the second biggest tablet manufacturer behind Apple, having shipped 5 million devices in the second quarter.
Huawei sits in at third with 3.4 million devices shipped, while Amazon is in at fourth with 1.6 million.
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The fact that Samsung’s devices would see such a big drop is perhaps to be expected. With the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 not due to be released until August 10 this year. Its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, has been on the market for more or less a full year now, so it’s looking a little long in the tooth.
Meanwhile, Apple recently refreshed its mainstream iPad 2018 with a new Apple Pencil-compatible model, which has clearly been enough to keep the company out ahead.
It’s hard to put the blame on any single feature, but relying on Fire OS rather than stock Android means that you can’t expect quite the same app support as on other Android tablets. It’s fine if you mainly get your entertainment from Amazon, but you might find yourself frustrated if you want to venture much further.
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But regardless of Amazon’s decisions, its hard to argue that the whole tablet sector is in something of a decline, and how inevitable this is.
While phones have seen massive leaps in performance year after year and the addition of new features such as mobile payments and biometric unlocking, tablets have developed at a much more… leisurely pace. There’s just not much reason to upgrade a tablet every couple of years unless you absolutely need to have the fastest processor available.
This is likely to remain the case until tablets become truly capable of replacing laptops, with work-focused applications and better multi-tasking sorely in need of development.
Until that happens, tablets might continue to be devices that people are happy to use until they literally fall apart.
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What would it take to get you to upgrade your tablet more regularly? Let us know @TrustedReviews.