Mobile world prods tablets to get off the sofa

2014-02-27 09:45
Visitors look at a Xperia tablet Z2 by Sony in Barcelona. (Josep, Lago, AFP)

Visitors look at a Xperia tablet Z2 by Sony in Barcelona. (Josep, Lago, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Barcelona - Bigger than a telephone yet smaller than a personal computer, tablets were supposed to usher in a new world of mobility; yet they have hardly budged off the couch.

Four years after their launch, tablets remain overwhelmingly stuck at home and connected by wifi, frustrating mobile operators who are deprived of a potential new source of revenue.

At the 24-27 February Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, manufacturers such as Japan's Sony, China's Lenovo and Taiwan's Asus again unveiled a range of new tablet models, now considered essential to their mobile device offerings.

Sony Mobile revealed its Xperia Z2, proudly describing it as "the world's slimmest and lightest waterproof tablet".

"It is perfect if you want to take it into the bathtub, to the beach, to the pool", Sony Mobile official Almos Szabo said at the Japanese manufacturer's stand in the world's largest mobile industry fair.

Costs is key

The ease with which tablets can be used outside is always stressed by manufacturers, said Julian Jest, analyst at the technology research house Informa.

"During the last iPad launch, Apple showed a promotional video with thousands of different ways that people can use their iPad including mountain bikers, surfers, doctors", Jest said.

"I think that is how they would like to show the iPad is being used, but it is mainly in the home, streaming media, streaming movies."

According to Informa, only 20% of tablets are connected to the mobile network, the rest relying on wifi.

The classic profile of a tablet user, is actually a person lounging on the sofa watching videos or playing electronic games.

In 2012, a poll by Google showed that only 21% of users took their tablets out of the home.

Technology research group Gartner found in a September 2013 survey that people use their tablets mostly between 19:00 and 22:00, probably while watching television.

Tablets are not typically used as a mobile accessory carried around by owners, said Lawrence Lundy, analyst at Frost & Sullivan technology consultants.

"We see that a lot of the tablets are being used for video consumption because it is mainly at home and it does not have a 3G connection", Lundy said.

For mobile operators, that means significantly less revenue than they had hoped for.

Entertainment

"It primarily comes down to costs, I think", said Nick Dillon, analyst at the research group, Ovum.

"For the customers, there are two costs involved: the cellular-enabled tablets are more expensive, there is a kind of cost premium in terms of acquisition, and then on top of that, there is obviously the cost of data."

Analysts said the operators have not been sufficiently creative, often proposing plans that are as costly as those for smartphones.

"I am not sure if operators see it as a challenge or a blessing", said Carolina Milanesi, analyst at consumer research group Kantar Worldpanel.

"It seems clear that tablets are mostly used as entertainment devices which would suggest a potential bandwidth drain on video consumption", she said.

In other words, if all the tablets were connected, 3G networks would be quickly overloaded.

Tablets may finally break free of the home, however, as sales grow of mini tablets, which are easier to carry around.

Manufacturers launched a string of such devices in Barcelona.

Chinese manufacturer Huawei showed off its MediaPad X1 and Finnish maker Nokia revealed its XL, for example, both of which will allow users to make telephone calls, too.

The latest, super-fast, fourth-generation network will also help, analysts said.

"More 4G connectable tablets will probably mean less use of wifi", said Jean-Laurent Pitou, head of communications, media and technology at research group Accenture.

But this would also require network costs to adapt, with cheaper plans for consumers, Pitou cautioned.

Read more on:    sony  |  apple  |  spain  |  technology  |  online
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia N9

The Nokia N9 has a beautiful one-piece, unibody design where...

From R2899.85

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.