Four years ago, everybody wanted to a tablet. It was the fashion of the moment: a device of large screen which went very well with some smartphones that, at the time, they were small. Each manufacturer pulled its model and in a short time small enough we saw some quite innovative and creative ideas. They were good times for the tablets, even Google made an effort to adapt Android, a system that was originally born mobile.
In 2015, the scenario has changed drastically. All those tablets have been buried in drawers, bedside tables table beside the sofa or sold through second hand platforms. Every time there is less news and while it is true that manufacturers have lowered their interest, Google has not done much to enliven the category. A broken toy that is close to your particular swan song.
Manufacturers in 2015, few models and boring
If we take a look at all the releases that have occurred this year we see that the tablets have been secondary players in the Android world. Mobile shine more than ever, and announcements of tablets have been reduced.
We have manufacturers fixed like Sony, Samsung, Acer and ASUS to mention a few. Do you remember any model? Doing a little memory Yes but it is difficult to meet with any of them. Own brands have made a great effort to make them known and as such devices have lost much appeal.
Ojo, we are not going to deny that the Xperia Z4 Tablet and the S2 Tab are attractive devices. Prodigious in hardware but in software very poor machines. Both the Japanese and the Koreans are struggling to put more applications to get out, but in both cases the experience is still insufficient for a category much more than expected.
Back are those attempts of ASUS or HTC to offer different experiences, including Samsung with the experience of the inherited stylus of their phablets. Now, we have only tablets with very good hardware and design but little else. Where were these ideas that the tablet would serve to work for example?
Why are less models increasingly? The fastest explanation is the fall in sales. All, and that includes the other platforms, are in decline. After living a few years with great expectations with the category, the interest is lost and consumers spend them. To date, launch a tablet is a risky bet on according to which markets.
According to the latest data from IDC, the tablets market carries two quarter of decline. Apple has been the hardest hit and only Lenovo grows a little. Samsung, is maintained as you can while that low ASUS. In total, less than 3 million units sold from the same quarter last year.
We have to explain the bad sales two reasons: the cycle of renewal. Unlike mobile phones, a tablet lasts longer and normally news from year to year are not sufficient to convince users that have to do with a new more advanced model.
On the other hand, we have the growth of screens in mobiles. Four years ago, when many were moving in 4 inches, I had more sense have a 7.8 or 10 inch model. Bearing in mind that every time there are more devices with 5 screens, or even more, is difficult to justify having a tablet.
Fall nonsingle Android tablets is the fault of a lot of manufacturers who boarded the truck too enthusiastically. Google has not made great efforts to make these devices attractive. There were good intentions but over time they have been lost, and to date, the experience remains poor and badly optimized.
Google: it hasn’t done anything to change the situation
When Google introduced Android 3.0 Honeycomb did so with an objective clear: create a version of the system optimized for tablets. Good intentions, which in its day had an excellent reception since despite being a version of transition (a bit what will happen to Lollipop this year) worked pretty well and took better advantage of the screen size. It was necessary to improve things, but all this optimization came later with Ice Cream Sandwich.
However, Since the jump to Android 4.0 updates to tablets were descending. Meanwhile, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop they kept bringing new features aimed at mobile phones. The tablets? There are, as smartphones with large screens where space is not used.
Just take a look at these images to see how poorly optimized space tablets which is. Massive elements, irrelevant white space. The problem is that today it remains so and although it has evolved much in the applications interface (Material Design has been a big step forward) continue with things that are inexplicable.
Meanwhile, Apple and Windows have made a rather better job take screens and spur developers to design applications optimized for tablets. Android, continues to evolve, but the future is increasingly more black in this category.
The future is bleak
Yesterday we saw how Google was the third, and final, preview for developers of Android M, now known as Marshmallow. It is time to discover all the new changes but none, to the naked eye, is exclusively aimed at tablets.
At Google I/O, we did not see either news in this regard and it seems that the efforts of the Mountain View company with large screens go through televisions with Android TV.
Another fact that is quite characteristic of the situation is that There are no rumours of any kind a new Nexus tablets. We know that there will be two mobile phones, already we have seen them even a little bit, but nothing of tablets. Bad sign though understandable: Nexus 9 spent without penalty or glory as a poorly made device and that did not provide much.
Continue selling tablets, no doubt, but Perhaps Google should ask what makes with that dying animal which is Android for tablets. Perhaps it is the moment of sacrifice it and put an end to your pain or, as usual, continue to provide a poor and incomplete solution to hardware manufacturers. Half-measures that don’t bode optimistic.