shipment numbers for tablets last year are forcing vendors to contemplate their marketing navels and come up with new ideas.
According to Digitimes
, one way vendors want to turn the market round is to persuade their suppliers to slash the cost of their components so they can cut prices on production.
And Apple, the wire reports, had disappointing sales of the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, which were launched last autumn.
Sales of HTC products and Xiaomi products haven’t been that brilliant either.
Apple is rumoured to be introducing a 12-inch iPad that it hopes will cause waves of excitement.
The problem is that once you have a tablet, there isn’t much desire to get a new one that’s shinier unless you’ve more money than sense.
Apple appears to believe it can launch all sorts of new applications for the 12-inch iPad when it appears.
suggesting that the market for tablets is in decay, fresh data shows that it ain’t necessarily so.
Digitimes Research said that overall global tablet shipments in the fourth quarter last year grew by 16.9 percent to total 74.77 million units, mostly down to Apple and first tier vendors good performances.
But so-called “white box” tablets declined in the fourth quarter.
The survey said these white box tablets, using the Android operating system, offer very slim margins and many vendors have given up on manufacturing.
Apple managed to ship 21.9 million iPads in Q4 2014 and was the largest tablet vendor.
Samsung failed to introduce new tablet products in the second half of last year and so it say some stagnation.
Third in line was Amazon, displacing Lenovo from that position in the marketplace.
There’s more research
data on the tablet market out today and the latest report suggests gloom for 2015.
Digitimes Research said that total shipments of tablets worldwide will fall by 11.8 percent this year, accounting for shipments of 244 million units.
The logic behind the forecast is that demand for high end and entry level units is saturated, and smartphones with bigger screens are further eroding the tablet marketplace.
The seven inch segment, in particular will see a sharp drop in shipments because of smartphone competition.
However, it’s not all bad news. The report said demand for tablets with 10-inch screens and above will grow by 20 percent, fuelled by enterprise interest.
Digitimes Research also thinks Windows tablets will grow by 50 percent this year – which if true – is encouraging news for both Microsoft and Intel. Both behemoths have introduced subsidies to encourage vendors to use their kit.
, tablet sales will reach 540 million units, despite 2014 being a quiet year for the sector.
CCS Insight introduced its annual look at the marketplace and bullishly predicts the market will grow 28 percent this year to reach 283 million units.
While people in established markets will look to upgrade their existing systems, emerging markets will play an increasing role in buying units.
CCS expects that Android will retain its position as the operating system of choice in tablet sales. But it also expects Windows to increase share over the next two years.
That’s down to Microsoft spending more on marketing, establishing Surface as a brand, and bundling hardware with its software.
Marina Koytcheva, Director of Forecasting at CCS Insight said: “We expect Android to continue dominating the low end and midrange market, with Apple taking the lion’s share at the high end. But Windows is gaining a bigger slice of the pie, albeit from a very low level, and should not be overlooked.”
She said that the Microsoft move to scrap charging for licences for Windows devices under nine inches will help Microsoft.
She said that move has encouraged vendors to launch better devices at lower prices.
She warned that Microsoft’s next operating system, Windows 10, will “take time to make its mark”. It will have little impact on sales before the end of 2016.
Enterprises will help Apple, specifically the deal it forged with IBM late last year.
Shipments of PCs
during any fourth quarter used to be strong until two years ago.
But figures released by Gartner said that worldwide PC shipments grew by a miserly one percent during the last quarter of 2014.
Shipments amounted to 83.7 million units and analysts at the company think the results are a “slow but consistent improvement after two years of decline”.
Tablets had been responsible for displacing PCs but that peaked in 2013 and the first half of last year.
People are drifting back to PCs, said Gartner, although different regions showed different results.
The US market showed the highest growth and the European region was strong too.
Lenovo is now the worldwide leader in shipments with 19.4 percent of the market, followed by HP and Dell. Acer and Asus were fourth and fifth.
HP showed growth of 16 percent in the quarter, while Lenovo’s growth slowed.
The chief driver for sales were mobile PCs including thin and light. Prices around the $300 mark helped boost sales.
The arrival of Windows
10 and the introduction of 14 nanometre microprocessors are unlikely to stimulate much demand for PCs in 2015.
That’s the view of Digitimes
– which has interviewed sources in the supply chain that make kit using the software and components.
Windows 10 is delayed – it’s not now expected to ship until the August at the earliest, and will make use of a future 14 nanometre CPU from Intel which is codenamed “Skylake”.
But the wire thinks that in 2015 only 200 million PCs will ship this year – with smartphones and tablets continuing to erode market share.
The manufacturers in Taiwan are more update about Apple based PCs rather than their Windows based cousins and are anticipating that while enterprises may decide to upgrade.
Windows 8 has triggered a distinct lack of excitement in the marketplace, with many enterprises hanging on to Windows 7 systems for dear life.
Windows 10 is expected to look a lot more like Windows 7 than Windows 8.x.
A report claimed
that over a billion people in the world will use a tablet this year – that’s 15 percent of the world’s population.
eMarketer said that by 2018, 1.43 billion worldwide will use tablets but that doesn’t mean that sales of tablets will increase exponentially.
While the number of tablet users will increase by just over 17 percent in 2015, eMarketer says that growth was 53.1 percent in 2013 and 29.1 percent in 2014.
In 2018 the growth figure will be just under eight percent, and there are a few reasons for that, the study suggests.
One is that tablets are seen as luxury items, and they are facing competition from ever larger smartphones and other devices. The last reason eMarketer gives is that the use of tablets is not always that clear.
By 2018, Chinese tablets will be used by around 435.5 million people, USA people will account for 172.6 million, India for 60.2 million people and the UK for 38.4 million people.
The survey predicts that Indonesia will enter the top five in 2016, and by 2018 nearly a fifth of the world’s population will be tablet users.
Gartner said that
sales of tablets in 2015 will continue to slow down.
While sales of tablets will reach 233 million units this year – which is an increase of eight percent compared to last year – the trend is downwards.
Ranjit Atwal, research analyst at Gartner, said that in the last two years global sales grew by numbers in the double digits.
He said: “The steep drop can be explained by several factors. One is that the lifetime of tablets is being extended – they are shared out amongst family members and software upgrades, especially for [Apple] iOS devices, keep the tablets current. Another factor includes the lack of innovation in hardware which prevents people from upgrading.”
Apps could help grow the market, he said. And that will be helped by advanced in the personal cloud.
Garner figures show that traditional PCs will show a decline over the next two years.
He estimated the smartphone business will grow by 3.7 percent this year, and is being polarised between high and low end market price points.
The Android OS continues to rule the roost, and units expected to ship in thousands of units in 2015 amount to 1,454,760, compared t 279,415 for the Apple operating system.
Despite evidence that sales of tablets showed signs of decline in 2014, one market intelligence is bucking the trend by predicting healthy sales in 2015.
ABI Research said that although 2014 was “lacklustre”, it predicted that there will be solid growth during the next five years with shipments of tablets close to 290 million units in 2019.
But the growth is not for every vendor – Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Google will show year on year falls in shipments.
On the other hand, Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, Microsoft and Samsung are predicted to show higher volumes in 2014.
Senior analyst Jeff Orr doesn’t have good news for Apple. He said: “Historically, Apple has counted approximately 35 percent of its iPad sales in the last calendar quarter of the year. Unless Apple can pull off a 32+ million unit quarter, sales for 2014 will be down for the first year since the iPad launched.”
He said that Apple probably shipped 68 million iPads in 2014, but managed to sell 74 million in 2013.
On the operating systems front, Android has 54 percent of branded tablets, Apple iOS has fallen to 41 percent, and Windows 8 has a meagre five percent of shipments.
Average selling prices (ASPs) of Intel based ultrabooks and tablets fell by close to eight percent this year in all markets worldwide.
ABI Research said that household income needed to buy either a tablet or ultrabook fell by 30 percent during the year, giving access to many new households.
The market research company surveyed 22 different countries between 2013 and 2014 and estimates ASPs fell by 8.5 percent for tablets and 7.1 percent for ultrabooks.
The price drops mean a wider range of countries can now afford the gadgets and even though growth is falling for both types of devices, analyst Stephanie Van Vactor said “affordability could help prevent a drastic decline in sales”.
The affordability index is highest for the US, Japan and Germany, but some countries showed a marked decline in prices. She said Chile, for example, saw a fall in prices of 56 percent for both ultrabooks and tablets.
But India saw an increase in prices of 22 percent for the devices.
Van Vactor estimates we’ll continue to see competition increase and that means prices will once again fall next year.
People eager to throw off the shackles of Windows 8.x look like they’ll have some time to wait before they’re free at last.
According to PC Advisor, a “consumer preview2 will be released in January so you’ll be able to see what you’re missing for quite a long time. Windows 10 isn’t now expected until the second half of next year.
Reuters, quoting Microsoft’s chief operating officer, Kevin Turner, said the launch was likely to be the early Autumn.
Reports suggest that Windows 10 may well be free of charge to existing Windows 8.x users. Microsoft isn’t giving any details of prices yet and so no one is clear what the upgrade paths are likely to be.
The operating system is likely to look more like Windows 7 than Windows 8.x – the latter was Microsoft’s ill fated attempt to resemble other tablet operating systems like iOS and Android.
Even Microsoft insiders wondered what the company was doing with such a hybrid.
Microsoft’s decision to skip the number nine and jump straight to Windows 10 seems to be some kind of weird marketing move – as usual, it is describing the future OS as the “best OS yet”.
Bitter semiconductor rivals Intel and AMD are set to up the stakes in 2015 with a fresh assault on the tablet market.
Both companies are often seen as the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of the chip market, continually foraying into battles where no one actually gets hurt.
But Digitimes, which is privy to both companies’ future roadmaps, said that they’ll foray out once more in an attempt to capture some slice of the tablet pie – estimated to represent 200 million units in 2015.
Intel has been forced to provide subsidies to companies in an attempt to bolster its rather feeble market share in the tablet and mobile markets.
It will kick off the show by releasing a system-on-a-chip (SoC) device codenamed Cherry Trail, which will be built using a 14 nanometre process and may be with the world as early as March next year. The chip will have lower power consumption and support Windows and Android operating systems, said the wire.
But AMD is not going to stand still after receiving that SoC on the jaw. It will introduce an X86 device dubbed Nolan, and an ARM device called Amur in the second half of next year.
People are being tempted to upgrade their PCs after years of delayed renewals.
IDC said that PC shipments in Western Europe were up by 23.6 percent in the third quarter, compared with the same quarter last year.
Although sales slowed in the enterprise arena, people are being tempted by low end notebooks using Windows 8.1 Bing. The commercial sector has already largely completed its shift from Windows XP, IDC said.
The tablet market declined in the third quarter but 2-in-1 machines did well, growing 46.4 percent in the quarter. Smartphones showed 6.1 percent growth – largely caused by affordable smartphones and the arrival of 4G networks.
IDC calls notebooks, desktop PCs, smartphones and tablets “smart connected devices” and the leader of the pack is Samsung – even though its growth fell by 16.5 percent compared to the third quarter of 2013. Samsung was followed by Apple, Sony, HP, and Lenovo.
Lenovo showed a 64.1 percent unit growth quarter on quarter, year on year.
A report predicted that by 2018 over 50 percent of people will use either a smartphone or a tablet for all online activities.
Gartner said people will gradually move away from the PC as people use smartphnes and tablets more more.
Voice, gesture and other ways of communicating with devices online will be the rule of thumb, while 40 percent of enterprises will use wi-fi as the default connection and Ethernet will go away.
Security built into wi-fi appears to be adequate to the task, said Gartner, after the introduction of Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) into the equation.
And there’s more good news. Gartner thinks by 2020 we’ll all be paying less than $100 for smartphone and other devices. Subsidies or sponsorships will also reduce the cost of devices while by 2018 over half of business to enterprise (B2E) mobile apps will be used by business analysts using codeless tools.
Strong orders from both the enterprise and from the retail market meant growth in notebook sales during the month of November, largely due to HP’s position in the market.
That’s according to data from Digitimes Research which claims the top five multinational vendor and Taiwanese original design manufacturers (ODMs) showed shipments growing by 10 percent in the month, following a decline in shipments in October.
All the vendors are attempting to stem the growth of tablets and smartphones and the research outfit claimed HP ordered four million notebooks from its ODM partners in the month – with Quanta, Compal, and Investec benefiting from the push by the US giant.
The researchers claim that shipments of global tablets will be in stasis for 2014, when all the figures are added up. And it also predicts sales will decline in 2015.
Digitimes Research estimates that combined shipments of notebooks and tablets will be over 350 million units in 2015 but the major vendors incuding Apple, Lenovo, Samsung, HP, Asustek, Dell and Acer will take steps to secure their positions in the marketplace.