The tablet market has been dominated by the 9.7-inch iPad and 10-inch Android models. But the tides are changing with smaller devices now all the rage, according to new reports.
The first of these came from the Intel Solutions Summit in Los Angeles yesterday, where a senior executive from the world’s largest chipmaker claimed that demand for 10-inch models will “rapidly erode” this year.
"The biggest trends right now are convertibility and detachability," said Intel’s PC Client Group VP and general manager Kirk Skaugen. His comments were reported by channel website CRN.
Intel may have dismissed the rise of the tablet in the past in favor of the Ultrabook, a concept it has backed from the start, but Skaugen refrained from going down that particular path, choosing instead to highlight increasing demand for 7 to 8-inch tablets and Ultrabooks with detachable screens.
Skaugen’s comments followed the latest round of figures suggesting that tablet demand is quickly transferring from larger to smaller sizes.
New research from IHS iSuppli on display panels revealed that shipments of 9.7-inch tablet panels like the iPad fell by 81% in January, along an overall drop in demand for all LCD panels.
Indeed, such was the fall in LCD panel shipments in January that other larger tablet sizes fell too, with 8.9-inch displays (as used by Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD) dropping by 92%.
Bucking that trend was the 7.9-inch category currently occupied by Apple’s iPad mini, with shipments rising 14% from 4.75 million units to 5.42 million units in January.
This incline couldn’t stop tablet shipments falling down as a whole though, with January’s figure of 15.23 million units representing a drop of 26% from 20.50 million shipped units a month before.
Overall tablet shipments in January dropped 26% to 15.23 million units worldwide, a figure which was down from 20.50 million a month earlier.
A number of analysts expect booming demand for smaller tablets this year and such a trend appears to have been noted by Apple. The Cupertino company apparently expects to sell more iPad minis than 9.7-inch iPads in 2013.