Tag: Android

Cheap tablets start to make their mark

cheap-tabletsEver since Google launched its $199 Nexus 7 last year, tablet makers have been looking for ways to come up with even cheaper devices to undercut Google and other brands who targeted the sub-$200 space. Smaller form factors were popularised by Apple’s iPad mini, too. As a result the tablet underwent a massive transformation over the last 12 to 15 months in what can only be described as a race to the bottom. However, we’re not at the bottom just yet.

Big brands have started rolling out cheaper devices, first hitting the $149 mark and now going towards $99. The white-box gang is already there and cheap tablets are slowly making their presence felt. According to Bloomberg, sales of sub-$149 tablets will account for almost 35 percent of the US market next year, up from 25 percent in 2011.

However, cheap tablets have evolved. The average $199 or $149 tablet two years ago was absolutely horrible, but this is no longer the case. Here are a few examples proving that cheap tablets have come a long way.

The cheap white-box tablet, anno 2011, usually shipped with 512MB of memory, single-core A8 processor and low-res 1024×600 or 1024×768 TN panel. Some even featured outdated resistive touchscreens. However, 1GB of RAM is now the bare minimum, while many cheap tablets already pack 2GB. Practically all cheap tablets now sport IPS panels and it’s even possible to get a WUXGA (2048×1536) tablet for as little as $200, or ~€160 in Euroland. Dual-core A9 or quad-core A7 processors are standard, but there are even some A9 quads available for that sort of money.

Components are getting ridiculously cheap, allowing vendors to add more for less. This is especially true of processors and displays.

Several companies are churning out cheap ARM SoCs and it is estimated that Rockchip can sell a SoC for as little as $5. MediaTek is currently shipping one in five SoCs on the planet and most of them are cheap, A7-based parts. Prices of relatively high-quality IPS displays have tumbled as well and many cost less than $10. Prices or RAM and NAND have gone down as well, but the drop wasn’t as drastic. All in all, Bloomberg reckons the cost of components used in today’s cheap and cheerful tablets is $60, down from $175 in 2011.

It should be noted that cheap tablets, or the companies behind them, don’t get nearly as much press as they should. After all, cheap tablets will make up a third of all tablet shipments next year, but tech sites are focusing on clickbait, pricey high-end models churned out by brands who tend to advertise on the same sites.

It’s all somewhat reminiscent of the vanilla PC boom in the mid eighties, although we don’t believe cheap tablets can replicate the success of cheap PCs three decades ago.

Tablets drive ad impressions

Keep taking the tabletsA survey showed that the Apple iPad accounted for the majority of mobile advertising impressions.

The report, from Opera Mediaworks, is US based and focuses on the third quarter.

There wasn’t a slump for mobile advertising during the summer, the company said, bucking previous years’ trends.

The Apple iOS system grabbed 44 percent of impressions and 50 percent of revenue – that’s based on Opera M’s ad platform, which serves 60 billion ad impressions a month.

But if you substract the iPad from the equation, iPhone and Android are level pegging at 31 percent and 30.3 percent, respectively.

The report showed tablet market share has doubled with iPad and Android tablets accounting for 10 percent of all impressions. That’s compared to the same period in 2012, when tablets seized only five percent of impressions.

Argos takes on Tesco with tablet

Argos MyTabletRetail outlet and online firm Argos has launched the MyTablet for less than £100 – in a bid to challenge Tesco’s recent tablet introduction, the Hudl.

The seven inch unit comes with pre-loaded games and apps and also includes an Argos app so you can shop for items including, er, tablets.

The unit has a 1024×600 LCD, and 8GB of memory – but you can expand the memory to 32GB using a Micro SD card. The processor is a 1.6GHz dual core chip, while the OS is Google’s Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2.

Argos said the unit is aimed at teenagers and has built in parental controls. It comes in pink or silver colours. The unit has two megapix camera and a front facing camera. It supports wi fi and Bluetooth and apps pre-loaded include the BBC iPlayer, Angry Birds, an e-book reader, Facebook and Twitter.

The unit goes for sale tomorrow from argos.co.uk and argos.ie, as well as the 700 shops it has in the UK and Ireland.

Nermin Hadjarbegovic, our Bosnian reported:: “This is just a publicity stunt.”

BYOD: security, it’s heard of it

byodA survey by Context said that despite the prevalence of BYOD (bring your own device) in the work place, security cannot be guaranteed.

Context says there’s a clear trade off between convenience and security. It examined three products: Airwatch, Blackberry Universal Device Service and Good for Enterprise, in conjunction with IOS and Android devices.

While these products all provide good levels of BYOD security, Context found the underlying operating systems limits what they can achieve.

Alex Chapman, senior consultant at Context, said: “There is no realistic way to guarantee the security of a workable BYOD environment, but organisations can take significant steps towards mitigation of security risks if they combine technical security controls with clearly defined acceptable use policies. MDM…can only lock down mobile devices to the extent that underlying operating systems will permit and BYOD implementations can only lock down devices to a level that users are willing to accept.”

Tesco in “unprecedented” Blinkbox promo pre tablet launch

tescoBritish supermarket giant Tesco may be showing off its rumoured own-brand tablet as early as next week, as it steps up the marketing drive of its content platform Blinkbox.

An invite sent out to UK press reads: “We’ve got something to show you. #LetsHudl.” Hudl, PCR-Online points out, was registered as a trademark earlier this year for use on a tablet device. The rumours so far suggest Tesco will be aiming for the cheap and cheerful market, with analysts telling us the company will use it to leverage its content service, Blinkbox – not dissimilar to Amazon’s approach with the Kindle Fire.

It’s expected the device will launch at around the £100 mark. Doing so would make it one of the cheapest ‘big’ brands on the British market. Whether buyers will flock to the brand is another question.

It’s expected Tesco will stuff the tablet with its own streaming services such as Blinkbox and Clubcard TV. Most think it will run on an unmodified version of Android.

According to PC Pro, which claims to have seen the specs, the Tesco tablet will sport two bog standard cameras, ship with GPS, Bluetooth, and the usual MEMS in an accelerometer and a gyroscope.

The device will reportedly feature a seven inch IPS panel at 1280×720, and under the bonnet will be a 1.6GHz quad core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB included storage and a slot for MicroSD.

If Tesco is indeed launching a tablet it’s a bold move by the retailer. Tesco recently announced it was to slash inventories of other electronics and focus on selling more traditional supermarket products.

Monday’s announcement will coincide with what Marketing Week calls a “nationwide in-store marketing blitz” for Blinkbox, including promotions across 500 stores offering discounts on drinks, snacks, DVDs, CDs, and videogames.

In tandem, Tesco plans a major radio, print, digital, outdoor ad, and “high profile” TV ad campaign to launch in October. Blinkbox’s marketing exec Kate Simon told MarketingWeek the scale of investment is “unprecedented”.

Blinkbox plans to differentiate itself from other streaming services such as Lovefilm, Netflix and Sky, touting, for example, its superior range of blockbuster films and TV shows compared to rivals.

Nvidia announces Tegra Note Android tab

nvidianoteNvidia has announced its very own Android tablet platform, the Tegra Note, readied by the company and brought to market by its partners.

Nvidia boasts that, rather than just providing a low cost and high quality build for Tegra 3, as with the Nexus 7, this is a “complete platform”. Partners include EVGA and PNY Technologies, Oysters, ZOTAC, Colorful, Shenzhen Homecare Technology, and XOLO, which will be joining HP, Asus, Toshiba, Kobo and Xiomi in Tegra 4 products.

So far Nvidia is a little late on the tablet front. The company does have products out there but not as many as it likes.

Tegra Note, however, will sport a Tegra 4 72 core GeForce GPU and quadcore Cortex A15 CPU, with the promise of battery saving tech. The company boasts this will make the Tegra Note the “world’s fastest 7 inch tablet”. It will also ship with Nvidia’s DirectStylus tech which should give users more precise and responsive control with a normal stylus.

Nvidia PureAudio will ship, too, which the company says includes the “widest frequency range in a tablet” through front facing stereo speakers and a bass reflex port.

This product sounds like a solid release compared to the gaming curio, Nvidia Shield, an experiment in remote PC gaming – as long as you’re not too far away. Tegra Note will ship with TegraZone for exclusive Tegra optimised graphics, and the company claims you’ll get a massive 10 hours of HD video playback.

Additionally, a range of accessories will be available, including an intelligent cover with built in magnets, the DirectStylus Pro Pack, and Bluetooth capabilities that turn the tablet into a controller. Over the air software updates will be sent out by Nvidia directly to keep software patched and up to date.

Retail prices will start at $199, taking on other low-cost but high performance tablets in the market.

IDC sees gloom in tablet market

cheap-tabletsThe PC market has been coughing up phlegm for quite a while and for the last couple of years we’ve been told that tablet would wreck the PC market. This of course was rubbish, since tablets can only complement PCs, not replace them, and the real reasons behind the PC slump are a bit more complex.

Research from IDC has revealed that the tablet market is cooling down. The research firm cut its unit shipment forecast from 229.3 million units to 227.4 million units, which doesn’t sound like much, but it is a telltale sign that many got carried away in the tablet craze. However, although growth is slowing, tablet shipments this year will still be 57.7 percent above 2012 shipments. By 2017 IDC expects shipments to hit the 407 million mark. Mature markets are expected to cede market share to emerging markets over the next few years, namely the Asia Pacific region.

While mature markets such as North America and Western Europe have driven much of the tablet market’s growth to date, IDC expects shipment growth to begin to slow in these markets. The main culprits are market saturation, increased adoption of phablets and the eventual growth of wearable tech, which has yet to enter the fray.

“A lower than anticipated second quarter, hampered by a lack of major product announcements, means the second half of the year now becomes even more critical for a tablet market that has traditionally seen its highest shipment volume occur during the holiday season,” said Tom Mainelli, Research Director, Tablets. “We expect average selling prices to continue to compress as more mainstream vendors utilize low-cost components to better compete with the whitebox tablet vendors that continue to enjoy widespread traction in the market despite typically offering lower-quality products and poorer customer experiences.”

IDC research reveals another interesting trend, the rise of tablets in the commercial segment. Education projects have a lot to do with it, along with adoption in vertical markets such as retail. This segment will slowly double from 10 percent in 2012 to 20 percent in 2017. This might indicate that vendors will be forced to get creative and design more specialized tablets for businesses and schools.

Nexus 7 out, Nexus 4’s price cut

nexus4-ceGoogle’s Nexus 7 has gone on sale in Britain. Prices start at £199 for the 16GB version, while the 32GB one costs £239. In addition to Google’s Play Store, it is also available at Currys, Tesco, Argos, Amazon and John Lewis.

It is competitively priced. Although it’s based on a  Qualcomm chip which is also used in the Nexus 4, the Nexus 7 features a 1920×1200 screen and as it is a Nexus device, software support is second to none. In many respects, it renders other cheap 7-inch tablets rather pointless, which is hardly great news for Google hardware partners. The Nexus 7 is now available in France, Germany and Spain, too. However, smaller markets will have to wait.

The Nexus 4 has been around for a while, but it is still a very competitive product. It might not have a 1080p screen or the latest greatest processor, but it’s a great workhorse and its build quality is still superior to any Samsung phone out there. Now it’s an even better deal, as Google slashed the price for the 8GB model to just £159, while the 16GB version now costs £239. If LTE isn’t a must have, the Nexus 4 is truly a steal for anyone who does not want to get bogged down in a two-year carrier deal.

Google is also expected to roll out a new Nexus 10 later this year and rumours of a Nexus 5 superphone are rampant. Let’s not forget the Moto X, either, although it is limited to the US market.

It’s all good news for Android fans and Google, but Google hardware partners are probably not amused. With such low prices, Nexus products are disruptive and they are hard to keep up with. They always get the latest updates and on the hardware front they offer great value, although they don’t tend feature the latest tech out there.

The only good bit news for other Android peddlers is that Google doesn’t appear to be trying too hard. Geeks love Nexus gear, but average people have no idea that it exists at all. Google is simply not marketing Nexus products properly, but this might be about to change. Googlerola recently announced that it would spend a few hundred million dollars on Moto X marketing and if Google starts marketing Nexus products just as aggressively, well then,  anything could happen.

Apple and Samsung lose ground on tablets

cheap-tabletsApple is losing ground on the tablet market, due to a drought of new products and more competition from the Android camp. However, Samsung is not capitalising on Apple’s woes and its sales are dropping as well.

According to Strategy Analytics, Apple sold just 14.6 million iPads last quarter, down 4.9 million from Q1. Its market share tumbled from 40.4 percent to 29.2 percent. Meanwhile its arch nemesis Samsung also suffered a hit. Its sales dropped by 700,000 units to 8.4 million units and its market share now stands at 8.4 percent.

Another report from Analysys claims that tablet sales in China aren’t growing nearly as rapidly as they did just a few months ago. Last quarter China gobbled up 3.58 million tablets, growing just 5.2 percent over the first quarter of 2013. Sales of Apple’s iPads were particularly hard hit, the research outfit reported.

Relative newcomers to the market like Acer, Lenovo, Sony and Dell are gaining ground. LG is gearing up to give tablets another go, following a dismal effort a couple of years ago. Then there are Chinese white-box tablets, heaps and heaps of them.

However, Cupertino’s troubles might be a thing of the past come Q4. The Church of Apple is widely expected to introduce new iPads as soon as next month and the hot iPad mini should get a Retina makeover. Apple’s current tablet offerings are showing signs of age and an update is overdue.

On the other hand, there’s really not that much hype this time around, iPads aren’t as fresh and cool as they used to be and getting people to upgrade from an iPad 3 or 4 won’t be as easy. They both have relatively speedy chips and a crisp high-resolution screen, so Apple will have to get creative, and it’s been faltering on that front for the last two or so years.

The iPad mini though desperately needs a sharper screen and a faster processor and a new high-res model should do very well indeed.

Deal could kill any hope of Dell Chromebooks

Dell logoChromebooks are the new netbooks, but not the in the sense that they’ll go extinct over the next couple of years. They are dirt cheap, making them ideal for some niches and recent surveys indicate that Chromebook deployment in SMBs and even some bigger organisations makes a lot of financial sense.

On the other hand, Chromebooks could help PC vendors weather the storm as they complement proper laptops and to some extent tablets. HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Acer are already on board. Asus is rumoured to be working on Chromebooks as well, but what about Dell?

Dell doesn’t do Chromebooks and The VAR Guy reckons that there’s a good chance it won’t do any in the future, either. Dell is trying to go private, some shareholders don’t like the idea one bit and one particular detail could end all hope of Dell Chromebooks. If Dell does indeed go private, it will have to accept a $2 billion loan from Microsoft.

It is speculation at this point, but a $2 billion loan tends to come with some strings attached. Needless to say Microsoft has a vested interest in keeping Chromebooks away from mainstream markets and it already has a great relationship with Dell. In fact, Dell is one of the few PC vendors that did not try to expand into Android tablets. It does make tablets, but they run Windows RT and Windows 8 rather than Android. Its only foray into Android waters was the Ophelia, a thumb drive PC based on Android.

It’s quite a conundrum and it might get even worse. Chromebooks are just getting started and if HP, Lenovo and the rest of the gang start reporting positive sales figures over the next few months, pitchfork wielding shareholders could start demanding Chromebooks and Android gear from Dell. Lenovo is already making a killing on Android smartphones and tablets, Acer and Asus are also doing quite well, so why should Dell shareholders settle for anything less?

Smartphones overtake feature phones

smartphones-genericSmartphone sales are up again, but growth is slowing. The worldwide market gobbled up 435 million phones in the second quarter, up 3.6 percent over the same period last year. However, worldwide smartphone sales have now reached 225 million units, up 46.5 percent from a year ago.

It was only a matter of time before smartphone shipments outpaced feature phone shipments and according to Gartner, this happened last quarter. Feature phone, or dumb phone shipments totalled just 210 million units, down 21 percent year-on-year.

“Smartphones accounted for 51.8 percent of mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013, resulting in smartphone sales surpassing feature phone sales for the first time,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe exhibited the highest smartphone growth rates of 74.1 percent, 55.7 percent and 31.6 percent respectively, as smartphone sales grew in all regions.

Samsung still reigns supreme, with 71.4 million units shipped last quarter and a 31.7 percent market share. Apple ranks second with 31.9 million units, but it is losing market share fast. LG and Lenovo had a very good quarter, shipping 11.5 and 10.6 million smartphones respectively. ZTE ranked fifth with 9.7 million units. Nokia, HTC, Blackberry and Sony are no longer in the top five. However, the top five vendors accounted for just 60 percent of the market, while 40 percent went to smaller outfits, including an ever increasing number of Chinese white-box manufacturers.

gartner-smartphones-august2013

Gartner found that much of Samsung’s demand is now coming from mid-tier products and high-end devices with ASPs up to $400. It concluded that Samsung needs to do more to make its mid-range offering more appealing.  Oddly enough Apple also saw a dip in ASP, which is currently at the lowest level since 2007. This is the result of surprising strong sales of the iPhone 4 in some markets. Apple has recognized the trend and it plans to introduce a new, cheaper iPhone next month.

But Lenovo is the name to look out for. It’s making a killing in the dreary PC market and it’s doing even better in smartphones, although much of its effort goes unnoticed in the west. Lenovo almost doubled its share over the last 12 months and the company plans to bring its smartphones to western markets soon, possibly even next year.

Android remains the dominant operating system, with a 79 percent share, up from 64.2 percent a year ago. Apple’s iOS ranks second with a 14.2 percent share, down from 18.8 percent in Q2 2012. Microsoft gained some ground, but Windows Phone 8 still has a tiny share, 3.3 percent, up from 2.6 percent last year. Blackberry’s share halved to 2.7 percent and the Canadian company is now looking for a buyer. As with all things Blackberry, the decision comes three years too late.

Acer wants to grow Chromebook, Android business

acer-logo-ceAcer has committed the ultimate act of Windows heresy – it wants to expand its presence in the Chromebook and Android space. The shift was revealed by Acer president Jim Wang during the company’s latest conference call.

“We are trying to grow our non-Windows business as soon as possible. Android is very popular in smartphones and dominant in tablets…I also see a new market there for Chromebooks,” said Wang.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Wong expects Android and Chromebooks to account for 10 to 12 percent of Acer’s revenue this year. However, that figure could rise to a whopping 30 percent next year. At the moment, Chromebooks account for about three percent of Acer’s shipments.

Yesterday it emerged that Acer suffered a massive drop in EMEA shipments last quarter. It took a 44.7 percent hit compared to Q2 2012. With that in mind, it is abundantly clear why Acer is trying to tap other markets.

Over the past two years most PC makers, including Acer, tried to enter the Android tablet market and they don’t have much to show for it. Windows tablets are still dead in the water and earlier this week Acer slashed the price of its relatively new W3 Windows by 20 percent.

It appears that Chromebooks will be Acer’s next bet, as the Chromebook market is not nearly as saturated as the tablet market. However, Chromebooks also lack the mass consumer appeal of cheap and fun tablets.

Nvidia’s tablet push starts to take shape

tegra-tabNvidia is trying to reinvent itself and make up for lost ground on the PC front with Tegra, but simply designing chips isn’t enough for the GPU maker.

Earlier this year Nvidia showed off the Phoenix, a mid-range smartphone based on the upcoming Tegra 4i. Then it introduced the Shield, a curious little device which aims to combine PC streaming and Android gaming in one package.

There has been talk of Nvidia tablets for months and even that is hardly news. Nvidia’s first crack at the tablet market came last year, but it went under the radar. Kai was the name and it was a loose reference design for cheap tablets based on the Tegra 3, much like a Nexus 7. It never took off.

Now it seems Nvidia is ready to ditch reference designs and sell tablets under its own brand and the floodgates opened. Yesterday it emerged that the company trademarked “Tegra Tab” in the US, while Fudzilla reported that a high-end tablet based on the upcoming Tegra 5 is coming in early 2014. Today a Chinese tech site leaked the first images of an actual Tegra Tab. The photos reveal a 7-inch device with stylus support, microHDMI output and a rubberized back, similar to the Nexus 7.

There is still no word on specs, availability or pricing for the device, but the leaks are shedding more light on Nvidia’s tablet push. Like most tablet makers, Nvidia appears to be gunning for two form factors, 7 inches and probably something close to 10 inches. Tegra Tab is the brand name, but we’re not sure how Nvidia plans to play it out. It’s practically certain that Nvidia will roll out tablets under its own brand, but it might offer the exact same platform, perhaps even the brand name to its hardware partners.

Nvidia decided to design and market the Shield on its own. Since it is a rather odd device which doesn’t fall into any existing category and doesn’t compete with other Tegra products, the decision made sense.

However, if Nvidia starts selling tablets based on its latest SoCs, it could irk quite a few of its clients. Tegra 3 got plenty of traction in the tablet market, but Tegra 4 won’t replicate its success. The Tegra 3 powered a bunch of Android tablets last year, including the Nexus 7 and other Asus models. It also ended up in the Surface RT, which flopped quite spectacularly.

Now that Tegra 4 tablets are few and far between, it should be a lot easier for Nvidia to come up with its own tablets without burning too many bridges. Nvidia posted some rather disappointing Tegra figures in its latest earnings report yesterday and it pinned part of the blame on the failure of Windows RT. CEO Jen Hsun Huang admitted that Tegra revenue won’t recover in the short term.

Although the market for Android tablets is booming, much of the growth appears to be coming from cheap white-box tablets. Big vendors are struggling to turn a profit on high-end Android tablets and even hot 7-inchers aren’t doing very well. Entering the Android tablet market at this point is a bit like invading Russia in November.

So what’s behind Nvidia’s decision to start building Tegra based tablets, consoles and phones? It might be strategic thinking, diversifying and going after new markets should appease investors in the short term, although it might be a while before Nvidia’s Tegra consumer hardware operations turn a profit. Nvidia is no longer in consoles, the high volume low-end graphics market is disappearing and the Tegra business should fill the gap, backed by high-end consumer GPUs and professional graphics. Nvidia could potentially start bundling Shield consoles and cheap tablets with high end cards or allowing embattled AIB partners to build tablets based on its reference designs.

The other explanation is desperation rather than long-term strategic thinking. Tegra 3 was the company’s biggest success in the SoC market to date. It ended up in the HTC One X, Nexus 7 and Surface RT, along with a bunch of other devices. Even so, it wasn’t a big seller as the combined shipments of the Nexus 7 and Surface RT are estimated at 6.5 to 8 million units, depending on who you talk to. Asus and other vendors also used the Tegra 3 in their own designs, but very few of them actually shipped. Tegra 4 was late, too big and too hot, so it scored even fewer design wins and it doesn’t power a single phone.

Even if Nvidia somehow manages to score the majority of high-end Android tablet design wins, it would not end up with impressive volumes. An HTC One or Galaxy S4 routinely outsell all high-end Android tablets combined. Meanwhile Tegra 4i won’t be ready for the next four months and even when it ships it will go after mid-range phones. Nvidia is running out of options, fast. If it doesn’t score any high-volume design wins with the Tegra 5, it might have no choice but to use its chips in its own gear.

That is not a strategy. That is doing the only thing that can be done and calling it a strategy. That is tactics.

Lenovo gains on Apple – report

pc-sales-slumpMore good news for Lenovo. According to a company called Canalys, Apple has lost ground to Lenovo on the back of lacklustre iPad sales in Q2.

It is worth noting that Canalys includes tablets in its quarterly PC market reports. Therefore it found that Android now has a 17 percent share in the PC market.

Although tablet sales appear to be slowing down while some people wait for new fruity toys “Designed in California”, Canalys reckons tablets will outsell notebooks by the fourth quarter of 2013. This is in line with previous reports from other research firms.

PC shipments in EMEA fell  year-on-year in Q2, the first decline after two successive quarters of double-digit growth. Western Europe was down 10 percent, while Central and Eastern Europe took a three  percent plunge.

canalys-PCreport-Q213

Demand for smartphones and tablets is increasing around the world. However, faced by a changing industry, channel partners are exercising caution when planning and placing orders. Apple kept the lead in Q2, with 18.6 million units shipped and a 17.1 percent market share. However, it lost two percent from Q2 2012. Lenovo upped its share to 12.9 percent and shipped 14.1 million units. HP lost share and volume and it’s in third spot with 12.7 million units and an 11.6 percent share.

It should be noted that desktop and notebook shipments accounted for about 20 percent of Apple’s total shipments. Samsung also made its way into the top five, with 10.8 million units and a 9.9 percent share, but, like Apple, most of its shipments were tablets, not proper PCs.

Canalys found that most vendors are seeing increased tablet volumes, but that won’t help traditional PC outfits. Volumes are one thing, but most tablets coming out of Lenovo, HP and the rest of the PC gang are on the cheap side, with relatively low ASPs.

Tablet shipments slow right down

cheap-tabletsThe tablet market appears to be overheating and according to IDC’s latest report global shipments slowed down in the second quarter. It appears that many consumers are waiting for new iPads and cheap Androids are not filling the gap.

IDC said unit sales dropped 9.7 percent to 45.1 million last quarter thanks to soft demand for iPads. Shipments of Apple’s tablets dropped to just 14.6 million units, down from 19.5 million in the first quarter. IDC’s original forecast was 17 million, but it appears consumers had other things in mind.

Despite the dip, Apple is still the daddy of the tablet market, with a 32.4 percent market share. For some reason Samsung managed to grab an 18-percent share, despite the fact that its tablets are overpriced and underspecced.

Thanks to its massive market share, Apple’s woes tend to have an immediate effect on overall unit sales. The trouble for Apple is that it simply does not have any fresh products to offer. The iPad and iPad mini are getting old and a refresh is expected over the next few of months. Consumers are simply putting off their purchases until Cupertino rolls out something new, i.e. a Retina iPad mini.

“A new iPad launch always piques consumer interest in the tablet category and traditionally that has helped both Apple and its competitors,” said Tom Mainelli, Research Director, Tablets at IDC. “With no new iPads, the market slowed for many vendors, and that’s likely to continue into the third quarter. However, by the fourth quarter we expect new products from Apple, Amazon, and others to drive impressive growth in the market.”

A long Apple drought seems to be just what the doctor ordered for makers of Android tablets, but they don’t appear to be capitalizing on iPad fatigue.

Asus shipped just 2 million units for a 4.5 percent share. Lenovo was in a close second with 1.5 million units and Acer is in hot pursuit with 1.4 million.

To be fair, Android peddlers also had their share of problems. New high-end designs based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 have yet to materialize, Nvidia’s Tegra 4 was delayed and the first products have started shipping just a few days ago, at the very end of the second quarter. The new Nexus 7 is out, but it also launched too late to make a mark in Q2.

However, IDC believes new tablets from both camps should have a massive effect on shipments toward the end of the year. As for Windows RT and Windows 8.x tablets, we’re not sure they’ll make much headway this year.