Are Tablet PCs Failing To Impress Business Users?

by CXOtoday News Desk    May 12, 2015


Tablet PC shipments in India declined further by 13.9 percent to 1.03 million units in the January-March quarter, 2015, impacted by lack of “differentiated” products in the market, according to a Cybermedia report. About 1.2 million units of tablets were shipped in the October-December quarter, 2014, the report said. Experts wonder whether tablet PCs are failing to impress the enterprise users, who until now have been enthusiastic on tablets.

Wooing the enterprise

“Unless the industry make substantial differentiation in the value proposition for potential customers, tablet shipments are not going to grow,” Faisal Kawoosa, Lead Analyst, CMR Telecoms Practice says in a statement. With not much value addition coming in the shape of specific solutions to enhance device usability at the moment, tablets are only becoming devices of convenience, essentially larger screen versions of smartphones, he states.

Moreover, the future of tablet PCs depend on the enterprise market – a reason why a number of brands were bullish on launching their tablet devices in 2014. However, it did not pick up the momentum. For tablet PCs to survive, vendors need to redesign the producs.

“The challenge that enterprise users are facing in the adoption of Tablets is that the device does not completely act as a replacement and adding accessories such as a keyboard make it just another Laptop PC. In this scenario, Tablets are just going to end up being CXO companions, in which case I see only Apple having a bright future,” said Sachin Mehta, Analyst for Tablet PCs at CMR states in a statement.

eMarketer too sees the growth in the global tablet-using population will slow dramatically in 2015 and continue to taper off. The total number of tablet users is expected to increase by 17 percent this year. While this figure is healthy, it pales in comparison with year-over-year gains of 54 percent in 2013 and 29 percent in 2014. By 2018, the growth rate for new tablet users worldwide will be just 7.9 percent.

“A key factor for this slowing growth is that tablets face increased competition from smartphones and a widening array of connected devices, including phablets, wearables, connected TVs and dedicated gaming devices, particularly in late-adopting countries like Japan and South Korea,” the research firm said adding that the use case for tablets is not always clear, particularly in markets where smartphone and phablet usage is robust.

“The shared nature of tablets and increased competition from other connected devices reduce the likelihood that the tablet audience will match the size of the smartphone audience worldwide,” said Cathy Boyle, senior analyst at eMarketer. “The most limiting factor is the use case for a tablet: It is not as clear-cut or compelling as a communication tool—the core capability and use case for a smartphone.”

Notably, Samsung maintains lead in the first quarter of 2015, led by 19.7 percent share, followed by Datawind (12.7 percent) and Micromax (9 percent) in the Indian market.

Tryst with Windows

Globally, too while the overall tablet market has been in decline recently, Windows tablets are wooing the enterprise. According to the Mobility Index Report published by Good Technology, Windows tablet adoption increased 400%, from 1% in the last quarter of 2014 to 4 percent in the first quarter this year.

Despite gains, Windows slates still trail iOS and Android tablet activations in enterprise. Even though Apple’s iPad maintained a healthy lead of 81 percent market share, iOS activations decreased 4 percent compared to the fourth quarter of last year and are down from 92 percent a year ago. Android tablets made a gain of 1percent from the prior quarter with 15 percent market share by activations, said the report.

The Windows market, which is already making inroads in a few verticals, may fuel additional growth in the tablet market with the advent and adoption of Windows 10 in the coming quarters.

An IDC report had earlier revealed that even though the overall tablet market may be shrinking, the market for more productive tablets, like hybrids and convertibles that offer a keyboard experience, is growing.

According to Kawoosa, to prevent the Tablet form factor from dying out, vendors must position their offerings as a distinct category, rather than just an also ran device at the cusp of a Smartphone and a Laptop PC.