Pre-Obit of the Tablet

Was somewhat excited with the WSJ-Mint article this week on sluggish worldwide sales of Tablets, across brands. “Excited” because I have been grappling with the intended uses of a tablet for the past 3-4 years, and wondering as to how can I replace either the phone or the laptop with the tablet? Have been unsuccessful in doing that, thought have been sheepish enough not to admit that openly. I was having a feeling of getting old too soon – by not confessing that I cannot live with only a tablet (without my phone or laptop), I was trying to pretend to be part of the young crowd. If tablets were going to revolutionise the way we accessed computing and the Internet, then of course, I was going to flow with the change!!

But thank god, the WSJ-Mint article today brings me back to normal – I can stop pretending, and confess that I cannot complete my office and personal work without my laptop and smartphone (don’t get me wrong here – I use the iphone5 for the past 2 years and this piece is not against any one company)… I cannot survive with ONLY a tablet!!

Coming to the WSJ article (and a a few other ones in the recent past), looks like tablets are getting sandwiched between smartphones getting smarter & bigger from the below, and laptops becoming thinner and “tableter” from the above. This is the similar “sandwiched” trend that Blackberry felt by the iphone & Android-phones from the top, and by the economy USD50 handsets from the below. Sales of tablets have fallen in 2014 for both Apple and Samsung, after having hit 200mn units annually within 4 years of launch (something that PCs took 40 years to achieve).

Having said the above, Tablets have gone through an interesting journey in their short lives. I am collating below MY tweets on tablets and ipads which I have sent over the past 3 years. Gives an idea of the journey of the Tablet (and of me vis-a-vis the Tablet). I had done a mini-confession on July 20, 2011 that I could not find too many uses of the ipad. And on May 22, 2011 about inability to move office work to ipad. But with passing time, and with increasing number of ipads at home, I learnt to grin & go with the flow. The June 2014 Tweet on “Microsoft working on Office for ipads and Windows for tablets” might only suggest that Microsoft woke upto the Tablet move pretty late, but there could be a blessing in disguise in the long run, if the Tablet decline continues!! Anyways, while it is too early to call this an Obit of the Tablet, but going back to Kotler – Products addressing genuine needs of customers are the ones most likely to survive and succeed!! And till those needs are met by some smarter product!!

My Tweets over the past 3 years on Tablets, ipad etc
22-05-2011 Read review of ipad2 in Businessworld. 50pc lighter than iPad. Article said that as device becomes lighter, usage increases 2-3x. Amazing.
22-05-2011 Ipad2. Read that people are moving mainstream computing from laptop to iPad. yet to figure how to move my files to iPad. & no MS-office?
20-07-2011 Am planning to write an article on ‘meaningful uses of ipad. Going to be a very short article. Hmmm…there…finished. Angry Birds.
14-08-2011 Trying to figure out how to copy movies from brick-n-mortar DVDs to ipad. If Apple will have a bane, it will be lack of smooth transfers.
10-09-2011 Anyone using the iPad effectively for their direct sales force ? Intuitively, this could be a power-tool in their hands.
29-09-2011 Airport security check – is Ipad a laptop ? What about smaller tabs ? Time we got a technology to let devices go in with bags. Mobiles do go in.
16-10-2011 Knowledge about FB, Chats, Ipad/pod will become pre-requisite for urban nannies soon. ‘Could you please help the kid with that app ?’.
09-12-2011 So it happened today. The kid wants her own ipad now.
11-12-2011 So, I tell my daughter to scribble down the list. And she hunts for my mobile or ipad. When I remind her about paper, she goes ‘oh, yes…’
25-10-2012 Most exciting time for Device Freaks. MS Surface, iPad Mini, Ultrabooks, Convertible Ultras, Samsung Note. Too much happening.
16-06-2013 So now we have Ipad4 for the kid, old iPad for wife and iPhone for me. This is Family 2020 – i.e., we will speak to each other next in 2020.
07-02-2014 My mom-n-pop real estate broker showing details of all properties on his iPad with a flourish! Developers will have apps soon! @AnujPuriJLL
06-04-2014 @satyanadella ‘s moves in Office for iPad and free Windows for tablets/ smartphones are the biggest twin moves in the Industry for some time.

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