How and why has the tablet industry grown so rapidly?

In 2011, it is estimated that 65 million tablet computers were sold globally. The population of the United Kingdom is currently around 62/63 million strong, meaning that last year alone, more tablets were sold than there are people in the UK. That is a pretty big figure!

Incredible growth

The tablet industry is a technology phenomenon, with regard to its growth rate. The concept for tablet PC’s has been around for a while now, however they have only been seriously released on the market, in force, in the last two years. Apple’s iPad launched in early 2010 (April in the USA, and May internationally) and since then the market has quite literally exploded.

Okay, there were tablets before the iPad, and concepts have been around since the 1950’s, however the tablet industry really ignited two years ago tomorrow, (the 3rd of April 2010) and it is a technology that already has over 60 million users! To put those numbers into perspective, it took Radio 38 years to get 50 million users, television 13 years, and the internet 4. Tablets reached 50 million users in just over a year. See what I mean about rapid growth?

After the initial launch of major tablets, hundreds of firms started to produce their own tablet, submitting their creation to the global market. Why? Well, future trends predict that we are likely to move away from our desktops and laptops and use evermore our tablets and smartphones.

The technology research firm Gartner Inc., predict industry sales to grow to more than 300 million by 2015. 300 million tablets means huge amounts of money being spent by consumers on tablet, and for big firms like Sony, Microsoft, Apple and Samsung, that means huge profits. The industry is now so big, and with such immense growth forecasts, that it is a no-brainer for most tech firms, to enter this lucrative market.

Why tablets?

But why do people prefer tablets to desktops? Well there are a number of reasons. I like bullet points, so here we go 😉One of the many tablets on the market

  • Tablets are very portable – you can take them almost anywhere, and with the likes of Wi-Fi, cloud computing and advances in wireless charging, there will soon be no need to have a permanent workstation
  • Tablets can do so much! – Most tablets have the ability to do what most PCs can do, so why do we need our PCs any more?
  • Apps – one thing tablets have that your regular computer doesn’t is apps. Apps are revolutionary and are changing the way we live our lives, as there does seem to be an app for just about everything!
  • Price – for what they can do, and the speed they can do it at, tablets are extremely competitively priced, especially compared to their PC counterparts, and with tablets, their is no monitor, mouse, keyboard etc. it is all built in
  • Convenience – tablets often run faster than computers, and can be accessed almost anywhere, making them one of the most convenient devices around, probably why they are becoming a massive hit with businesses around the world
  • Choice – there are so many firms with a tablet released, you really are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing!
  • Social media on the go – tablets and smartphones can provide you with access to social media when you are out and about, and given that most of us use social media, this is a huge positive

The future

Personally, in the future, I believe the device most of us will move to is the phablet. Phablet, what is that? Phone-Tablet. Smartphones revolutionised the way we communicate when out and about, as did tablets. In the future I think we are more likely to see the two come together. Basically tablets getting a little smaller, and smartphones getting a little more advanced.

Why do I think this? Well the smartphone industry and the tablet industry are two tech which are seeing major growth. Everyone wants a tablet, everyone wants a smartphone. In essence, most tablets and smartphones do very similar things, just in different ways. In the future I believe that the two will come together, share their features, and create the phablet!

Your thoughts

What about you though? What do you think about the tablet industry and its growth? Is is sustainable, or just a fad? Will we move away from our high tech craze, or does the future lie with phablets?

18 thoughts on “How and why has the tablet industry grown so rapidly?

  1. I have yet to purchase a tablet yet, but not cause I don’t want one, I am more concerned about it distracting me. I think the market has really began to get cool with items and all the capabilities they have.

    • Christopher (admin team)

      I see what you mean Shane, it could be a really useful work tool, but with Angry Birds just a few taps away, it could get difficult 😉

  2. Although I have an iPad, but I rarely use it. I still prefer to use my laptop. As for phone, I’m using a Samsung S2, which IMHO is already quite big in size for a phone. If the future does lie with phablets, which is a combination of a smaller tablet and a bigger smartphone (like the Samsung Galaxy Note), I’ll to have to replace all my pants with cargos then 🙂

  3. Great post Christopher.
    I believe too that portability is the main reason that people prefer tablets.
    I think that the majority of people nowadays, needs a P.C. (personal computer) whether it is a desktop, a laptop or a tablet, only as a web browser. Internet is the main reason that people purchase a P.C. nowadays.
    The most portable and lightweight of all, is none other than a tablet.

  4. Although I really want a tablet, I’m not sure I’d use it enough to justify buying one. There is already an app store for the Mac and I think my phone is more portable than a tablet would be.

    For businesses on the other hand I think they can be very useful.

    Also, your point on the phone/tablet hybrid. Samsung have just released the Samsung Note which is definitely a step in that direction!

  5. I really never thought that they would take off and am surprised by how well they are doing. To me, they still seem too big to be portable (as opposed to a smart phone) , and too small to be able to do any proper work on (as opposed to a laptop).

    • Christopher (admin team)

      If I am honest, even as a techie Richard, I struggle to understand how and why they are so popular. With so much competition in the market, there must be a real drive to make them as easy as possible to work on.

      Thanks for adding a comment Richard, welcome to Technology Bloggers community!
      Christopher – Admin Team

  6. I believe it is the convenience of being handy plus all the other edge it has over pc, etc. Some people would still opt for the keyboard, including myself, I’m just not able to keep my fingers comfortable with a tablet. I know, it will just take getting used to, but still, it takes time to get used to it, and time is the one thing I am scarce of,you know?

    • Christopher (admin team)

      I understand what you mean Amy, it can take time to adjust to using a tablet, and time is often money!

      Would it be worth it in the long-term? I don’t know.

      Thanks for the comment, welcome to the blog 🙂
      Christopher – Admin Team

  7. I have a Huawei tablet and its great for reading and writing emails and doing a bit of surfing but it can never replace my PC. I have 23inch screen on my PC and often think that could do with being larger, my tablet has 10.1 inch screen! How about things like spreadsheets, accounting and graphic work……it simply can’t be done on a tablet

    • Christopher (admin team)

      Some people will always prefer one over the other Jenna, I know I (currently) prefer a PC over a tablet for serious work, however tablets do have their uses too.

      The question is, will PC sales decline and tablet sales increase to a point whereby tablets are more popular?

      Thanks for adding your viewpoint, welcome to the community that is Technology Bloggers!
      Christopher – Admin Team

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