The tablet market stratifies
One became many
In the first quarter of 2014, the installed base of compact tablets (with screens smaller than 9 inches) will likely surpass the base of classic tablets (9 inches and larger). Smaller devices are more likely to be carried around; the classic tablet, while perfectly portable within homes, is taken outdoors less frequently. Also, smaller tablets might be better for games that use motion sensors, as well as for e-mail (adding less weight to an already congested briefcase).
Tablets have gained popularity with extraordinary speed, and manufacturers will have to work hard to stay on top of the evolution of the market. There appear to be more users and use cases for tablets than many had imagined. Getting the balance of form, function and price right will likely be a moving target during 2014, especially at the lower end of the market. Whereas the large tablet market has generally been highly lucrative for manufacturers, the surge in smaller low-cost models is likely to dilute levels of income and profitability. Manufacturers should research usage carefully, so as to understand users’ needs and expectations across the whole category, and design devices that comprise only the components that are necessary.