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People Buy Tablets Because They Simply Like Them

Why was everybody sooooo off the mark about iPad success?

When iPad was launched did you imagine that it would be more successful compared to iPhone?

I did not. I could not think of that killer application which is required for a new and innovative device to succeed. (Will iPad Succeed?)

Neither did organizations like Forrester. After being way off the mark Sarah Rotman said

consumer product strategists, even those not in direct competition with Apple, should pay attention to the iPad, because it’s defying common assumptions about consumer technology adoption

To the best of my knowledge the most optimistic prediction about iPad sales was off by a factor of 2 to 3. Here are two more articles – iPad Sales to Hit 7 Million in 2010 and Triple by 2012 and Apple’s ‘risky’ iPad to sell 1M-5M in first year.

People even made fun of Steve Jobs – remember the picture of iBoard and iMat?

Well … that was early 2010 … around the time of iPad launch.

Let us fast forward to end of 2010

By this time iPad has already become a success. Everybody agreed that 2011 will be a year of tablet. Yes, iPad will be the leader but there will be many other products that will give it a run for its money and I am no exception. In predicting the mobile trend I had written…

…the market right now is dominated by iPad but in the coming year will see many alternatives Android based, Windows based and even Chrome based…

But I was not alone. Apart from the technology analysts I has quoted in my post here are 4 more such predictions – One, Two, Three and Four.

Move forward end of 2011

In 2011 we had Samsung galaxy Tab, we had Amazon Kindle Fire and many other Tablets in the market. But which device do you think came out number two?

Defying all logic it turned out to be HP Touchpad which was a discontinued product sold off at a throwaway price – Samsung Galaxy Tab sales low enough that HP outsold it.

Would you buy a laptop with XYZ operating system and very few applications just because it is available at a throwaway price?

Where do we stand today?

Are you aware that majority of the iPad sold are Wi-Fi only version?

Agreed that Wi-Fi only version is cheaper, but would you buy a smart phone which does not allow data connectivity without Wi-Fi, just because it is cheaper?

Recent study by IAB revealed the following interesting stats about Tablet use:

  • Tablets are an evening device – 50% of usage occasions are after 7pm
  • Tablets are a multitasking device – 50% of usage occasions are in front of the TV
  • Tablets are an entertainment device – 49% of people with all 3 devices say the tablet is best to keep them entertained
Will Tablet replace your Laptop?

Not now but may be 5 years down the line?

Cringely says … how long before the PC as we knew it is dead? About five years I reckon, or 1.5 PC hardware replacement cycles. Nearly all of us are on our next-to-last PC….

Jon Mew says … oh and my one prediction that I’m sure will be right…The new question for 2012/13 – “Is a tablet a laptop?”…

What do I think?

Well … one thing is clear. A Tablet, today, is an entertainment device.

It is not like a smart phone which has become an extension of us. We find it difficult to live without our smartphone and our anxiety level goes up significantly when we cannot find our smartphone.

It is not like a PC where you will feel severely restricted if you do not have a physical keyboard, a mouse / touch pad, larger screen and well Microsoft Office. I know people say that you can use one of the cloud versions of office but then why did Google buy Quick Office?

In Short … a Tablet is a Toy.

You will buy a Tablet because you like it … not because it will allow you to do something very useful.

Related Stats about iPad usage

More Stories By Udayan Banerjee

Udayan Banerjee is CTO at NIIT Technologies Ltd, an IT industry veteran with more than 30 years' experience. He blogs at
The blog focuses on emerging technologies like cloud computing, mobile computing, social media aka web 2.0 etc. It also contains stuff about agile methodology and trends in architecture. It is a world view seen through the lens of a software service provider based out of Bangalore and serving clients across the world. The focus is mostly on...

  • Keep the hype out and project a realistic picture
  • Uncover trends not very apparent
  • Draw conclusion from real life experience
  • Point out fallacy & discrepancy when I see them
  • Talk about trends which I find interesting

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