For us situated in the United States, Sony is very much just a camera company that makes and sells the optics to our favorite flagships from Samsung and HTC, but globally, Sony is a smartphone master of design, as well as a tablet maker. In past years, we have seen the number of 7- and 10-inch tablet sales rise while laptop sales fell, igniting the tablet market to what it is currently. But, as we’ve seen in the past months, tablets are not as popular with consumers, and laptops instead are seeing customers return to the traditional form and function from before the iPad (which is credited as really truly creating the tablet marketspace). And as 2015 looms on the horizon, the tablet market is set to grow physically, creating the 12- and 13-inch screens that some of us already have on our laptops. But what of Sony?
Sony Mobile, the section of the company devoted to managing the hardware in the Xperia family of smartphones and tablets, got a new CEO, Hiroki Totoki, in mid-November, and he has recently shared the numbers on the company’s tablet performance with us consumers. In a small meeting for the press in Japan, Totoki spoke to the small 5% of the company’s sales back in 2013, with a sad prediction of the number dropping to 4 or even 3% of the sales by 2016. But, this seems not to have shaken Sony’s hopes for a new tablet to kickstart interest in their products again.
We recently reported on the upcoming existence of a 12.9-inch Sony Xperia tablet that will hit the market globally in the first half of 2015, which will inevitably be followed by another offering by Samsung (because the South Korean giant already produces a 12-inch ‘Note Pro’ model), as well as a long-rumored possible 12-inch iPad Pro from Cupertino’s own. But what remains to be seen is whether the tablet market will actually pick back up any of the disappearing customers, or the laptop market will actually regain more of its original, pre-tablet sales with a new generation of Mac and Windows 10 products in the latter half of 2015.
And the age-old tablet versus laptop debate lives on. Many people have tried to make it easy or tempting to try to go from using a laptop to using a tablet as a daily computing device. Microsoft, with the latest Surface tablet, offers similar, if not identical, options for the device when compared to a touchscreen laptop of the modern marketplace. What will be interesting to see from all these OEMs is the way that they handle both the dropping sales numbers (because Sony can’t be the only one) as well as the limitations of making Android tablets that have to run Google’s online office suite out of Drive instead of full Office apps from Microsoft. The defining factor, as many will probably argue, is the coming tide of 64-bit processors from Samsung and Qualcomm, both of which have 64-bit processing on the horizon for 2015 and its devices, but also a possible place in the market for Nvidia, whose K1 chip has its graphical performance and 64-bit position ahead of any existent processor available in any device currently.
64-bit and 2015 may be when we finally see the viability of going full-tablet instead of laptop at last. Have any of you done the switch from laptop to tablet, and how has it worked out? If you refuse to use a tablet instead of a laptop, what’s keeping you from it? Do you think the possibility of the keyboard case coming back into mass-fashion will come with the 12- and 13-inch tablets of 2015? Which OEM are you looking forward to seeing a larger screen size offering from? Let us know down below.