According to NPD DisplaySearch, a well-known source of insightful information when it comes to production trends, Android tablet makers will no longer bet only on the casual 7-inch or 10-inch sizes to attract customers. Starting with the third quarter of this year, various manufacturers including Asus, Acer, Dell and Lenovo are preparing to launch new 8-inch devices.
Following iPad Mini trend and later the success of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, it seems the market has developed a new sense for slightly larger slates which can accommodate more content but still keep that high-portability factor and reduced weight.
When did the 8-inch fashion started?
When the 7.9-inch iPad Mini was introduced it claimed to have around 40 per cent more viewing area than a regular 7-inch Android tablet. While the claim caught the attention of the unwary public, many were disappointed to find that a 4:3 aspect ratio is not a great choice for watching movies and videos, which are usually rendered in 16:9 ratios. Huge portions of the screen were left unused and the experience, from my point of view, was amateurish.
Well, that issue could now be fixed by a new batch of Android tablets. The first such device was the Galaxy Note 8.0, which came with a 16:10 aspect ratio, a proportion almost perfect for media consumption.
Another reason for this shift would be the consumer segment targeted by 8-inch tablets. While 7-inch units usually go for the lower-end market, selling for cheap prices and integrating rather modest specification (with some exceptions), slightly bigger units should be sold for premium prices. This is yet another Apple-borrowed principle, which managed to capture a significant share of the market even though the starting price of the iPad Mini is $329.
Known mostly for their desktop products, vendors like the ones above are said to be shifting production towards the tablet sector as personal computer shipments continue to decrease. While the total number of tablet shipments is expected to increase around 67 per cent when compared with the past year, up to 10 per cent of all slates are expected to be 8-inch products.
The report also mentioned a possible introduction of a new iPad Mini, but that is said to happen only in 2014. This should give enough time for Android enthusiasts to properly seize the opportunity.
Would you opt for a 8-inch tablet instead of a slightly smaller one?