The tablet market’s been a bit of a one-horse race snoozefest since Google unceremoniously announced its plans to drop out last year.
Since then, outside of a few slates from Huawei, the market has stalled with the only serious player being Apple and its expanding line of iPads which, while awesome, haven’t really had a significant redesign or innovation since the first iPad Pro launched. And even this debatably just ripped off Microsoft’s Surface line.
The lack of innovation has led to a stutter in sales, with most industry analysts reporting a downturn in the tablet market, with buyers either waiting longer to upgrade, or not bothering with a tablet at all. The latest IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker reported a whopping 36% year-on-year decline in the market in the market.
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Though that stat’s undeniably in part due to the Covid pandemic, it’s the latest in a long trend that’s seen tablet sales gradually drop every quarter and this is heavily due to a lack of choice and innovation in the market.
This has led many, myself included, to wonder if tablets could go the way of mini-disc and be overtaken by the sea of hybrids hitting the market and big screen phablets – some of which, like the Black Shark 3 Pro, have bigger screens than many OG tablets.
If it does, for me, this would be a huge shame. I like having a dedicated entertainment device that’s separate to my phone. It lets me enjoy Netflix, or the odd bout of GeForce Now gaming while cut off from work calls and a general bevy of notifications. It also makes it easy to use the device to keep nieces and nephews entertained without having to hand over my phone, which in today’s age is tantamount to cutting off a limb.
Thankfully, it looks like my fears may be unfounded as a slew of leaks have emerged suggesting there may be life in the tablet scene yet over the last few weeks.
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First we had a sea of fresh rumblings about Apple’s 2021 iPad plans. These included alleged details about a new iPad Pro and Mini. If the rumours are to be believed both devices will be key releases that bring a wealth of cutting edge upgrades to the market.
These include the use of new and improved mini-LED screen tech that will, according to reports, offer OLED level contrast, deeper blacks and more efficient lighting, a more powerful A14 chip and 5G connectivity on both the main Pro and fabled iPad Mini 6.
If iPadOS isn’t your poison, rumblings suggest we may also be set to get the first actually decent Android tablet in years with the arrival of a new Samsung Galaxy Tab S7. The Tab S7 is expected to be Samsung’s next flagship tablet, and if industry gossip is to be believed it’ll be absolutely full of cutting edge tech and features.
These include a new powerhouse, 5G-ready, Qualcomm chip, full stylus support and, most importantly, a 120Hz screen that’ll make it a dream for gaming and sketching alike. If true this would make it one of, if not THE, most advanced Android tablets on the market and a great choice for tech nuts that don’t fancy an iPad, when it arrives alongside the Galaxy Note 20 later this year.
Here’s hoping the rumours ring true, and we finally see the tablet market get the much needed adrenaline shot it’s needed for the last two years.