Are tablets a thing?

It’s 2017, tablet sales are dwindling. Everyone has one or handed it down to a sibling, child, dog, or what have you. So I am sitting here wondering. Are they still a thing? Sure they are great on the train, bus, long flight home. But are they a daily tool for productivity and getting things done? Do college student accurately pen out term papers and do accurate research on them daily to make the grade?

According to reports from the International Data Corporation (IDC), total tablet sales for the year 2016 were down 15.6 percent, compared to 2015. Moreover, despite last year’s holiday season, retailers recorded roughly 53 million shipments in the fourth quarter, down from the 66 million tablets shipped the previous year, in the same quarter. Can we attribute these numbers to the rise of the transforming convertible / portable like the Surface? Or are we stuck in a sort of limbo and saying the iPad Pro is a laptop replacement for those that don’t want to invest in a MacBook that doesn’t have the correct ports for their iPhones? One sort of has nothing to do with the other.

Tablets do serve a purpose. They are fantastic for media consumption. Amazon has already established the low cost high volume approach. Throw tablets at every size and price point and watch what sticks to the wall. It’s impossible to not see the rise of media consumption on the go. Phone screens have reached near tablet levels on the consumer side. Data plans going unlimited with “contracts” on the other. Netflix giving us the ability to save content to our own devices for watching offline goes to show the consumer satisfaction is being addressed by the rate of media consumption.

Statistics shows Netflix use has surpassed YouTube use in terms of bandwidth by triple this year. Binge watching and high quality streaming services like Tidal and Spotify are quickly eating the auditory sound space. No one is quick to judge you if you are using a tablet for audio applications or streaming services just seems less portable in my opinion. Multitasking on a tablet can be cumbersome and while Android is making amazing strides with Android 7 and split screen, in use I have found the interface to be clunky and revert back to REMIX OS on my ultrabook for a more stable and polished approach to the “desktop like” windows when pinning and shrinking apps for multitasking use.

Do we still have to give credits where it is due no matter how hilarious and misaligned OEMs are? Samsung recently released the “iPad Pro foe” in their newest Samsung Tab s3 pricing it at the same tier as mid to high range as the Surface 4 line. Not to mention you can buy a mid range to high powered laptop for the same price as well at many big box retailers.