The debate about the future of tablets is always interesting. There those who think it is just a matter of time before tablets replace laptops, while on the other end there are those who are yet to be convinced. The doubters have their reasons, especially the fact that Manufacturers have not clearly addressed the issue of productivity. Tablets have their space, in between the smartphones and laptops. For them to replace laptops, they have to fully cover the functions of laptops. I am not sure about the exact position at the moment because personally I think it is easy to predict the device trends with any accuracy.
Consumers dictate what becomes popular in any given market. For now regardless of where one stands, tablets are very popular gadgets. The tablet is ideal for people who value both the voice communication features of a smartphone and the entertainment opportunities afforded by a tablet, but prefer the convenience of carrying just one device. By the design tablets were intended to be PC devices that offer touch user interface. Bring in what people do with that and you start to understand why the tablets are popular and will continue to be. The spending on the tablets is estimated to be close to $21 Billion and many researchers feel the number will continue to rise.
Back on the local market the excitement is starting to show. For a long time I had thought that Kenya and Africa in general was not going to be a tablet market. My assumption has always been backed by the fact that apart from Samsung, not many other manufacturers bothered to introduce any tablet device in the in the region. Huawei tried with Huawei Ideos S7 slim sometime back but they did not go far with it in terms of sales. Since then they have been concentrating on Smartphones and other network solutions.
But things seemed to have changed. The internet infrastructure in the country have improved and the Kenyan society has become more connected. People holding or using tablets in the restaurants, events, offices, is now a common site. And it has not gone unnoticed by the tablet vendors and manufacturers.
Back in May Asus Introduced Fonepad tablet across Africa. According to Asus, Fonepad is the first android tablet that runs the new Intel Processor. They call it a budget tablet given their recommended retail price of Kshs. 24,999 in Kenya.
“Africa is a priority market and ASUS Africa will release all their new products at the same time with other markets. Users will now be able to enjoy the ASUS quality and value without the wait,” Regional Director of Asus Africa Shawn Chang said during the launch
Asus believe that Fonepad will help them capture the growing mobile device market in Africa, with the focus being on mobility and connectivity.
Hp came calling, not long after Asus introduced Fonepad. HP on their part launched the HP ElitePad 900. At the time they described it as a new tablet that balances a beautiful design with enterprise-grade features, functionality and support.
“Many organizations are forced to trade design for functionality when making technology purchasing decisions,” said HP Kenya Managing Director, Mr. Charles Kuria. “By combining the style and user experience consumers demand with the features IT requires, the HP ElitePad shows that customers can have it all.”
Following the activities of the likes of HP and Asus, I decided to talk to Mr.Robert Ngeru of Samsung Kenya about their tablets and their performance in the Kenyan market. According to Ngeru, Kenyans are buying tablets to a rate that has surprised many including them internally. All their tabs in the market apart from Galaxy Note 8.0 Tab, are doing quite well.
The fact that Kenyan government is considering the introduction of tablets instead of laptops to Class One pupils in all public schools across the country is a telling sign. The whole laptops initiative for the class one kids is story for another day but it is interesting that it is now a choice between tablets and laptops. Standard Media quoted Cabinet Secretary for Education Prof Jacob Kaimenyi as saying that there were clear projections that in the next five years, laptops currently being used by majority of the people would be replaced by tablets thus the need to be ahead of time so that the gadgets are not declared obsolete.
“What Kenya needs to do is to move in tandem with technology so as to avoid the country being a dumping ground for obsolete goods.We have also established that young children prefer touch screen than devices that use a mouse,” Kaimenyi said.
Clearly tablets as the future and as for the laptops, I guess they will be around for a while. So if you are looking for a tablet there a number of choices. From Safaricom shops to FoneXpress and you can also get the tablets online like here