If the modern mobile industry is a trinity of sorts, tablets would definitely be one of the pillars, along with smartphones and wearables. Much has been mentioned about the “oversized phone” market, but perhaps nothing as curious as its decline. Tablets were once set for explosive growth and prominence, yet in recent years have begun to fizzle out to such a clear degree that even Samsung – which had oodles to offer at one point – has done an about face and Apple – the industry leader in sales – is having major trouble.
Dell’s traditional tablet line is also having major problems apparently, and as such today announced that it will be discontinuing its Android-based Venue product lines. The company explains the news quite directly in an e-mail received by PCWorld, stating that:
The slate tablet market is over-saturated and is experiencing declining demand from consumers, so we’ve decided to discontinue the Android-based Venue tablet line…For customers who own Android-based Venue products, Dell will continue to support currently active warranty and service contracts until they expire, but we will not be pushing out future OS upgrades.
Indeed the decision may come as no surprise to those who have grown disinterested with the tablet market, though recently Dell had truly stepped up its game with the release of two 7000-series tablets last year that had AMOLED displays, metal-made construction, and defiantly different designs. Yet so too, did they come with high price tags.
Perhaps the more concerning issue however: the end of product updates, which means that users hoping for Android Nougat can not only kiss that dream goodbye, but so too – apparently – Android security updates that are seemingly more vital for the life of the products. Given said high price points, this may be all the more irritating to Dell supporters who bought into the company’s redesigned Venue line, and did so with some expected piece of mind.
Why the long face?
Those looking for answers in what might seem to be an initially surprising turn of events will find that Dell’s logic is actually quite well thought out. In a blog post on its Future Ready Workforce site, the company explains the logic behind such a surprising decision, and it begins with a rather bold statement:
In today’s tech world, trying to create a “one-size fits all” device is a futile undertaking. It’s no different than any other industry in that people want the right tool for the job. For the same reason construction workers wear a tool belt loaded with specialized tools, different digital tasks require different levels of computing horsepower.
The post then explains in greater detail, stating that
The one constant feature across all of the devices people choose for work is that they must enable productivity. While there will always be a need for niche devices and certain features for specific computing tasks, we’ve found that the lack of productivity delivered by slate tablets are forcing people to leave them at home, and instead continue to use PCs to get real work done.
And then the damning evidence is put forth:
According to Gartner, only 17 percent of consumer respondents in mature markets intend to buy a tablet in the next 12 months – one of the lowest percentages in the past decade. And according to IDC, last quarter pure slate tablets experienced their greatest annual decline to date of -21.1 percent.
Our take – the slate tablet market is oversaturated and is experiencing declining demand from end users. Additionally, 2-in-1s with larger screens in the 10 to 13-inch range are offering a laptop-first experience with the convenience of a tablet when needed.
Today’s news highlights the aggressive competition in the Android market, and in particular, the noticeable decline in tablet products and sales. Are you an owner of a Dell Venue tablet? Does this news rub you the wrong way? Leave a comment below and sound off!