As crowded as the smartphone market currently is, the tablet market might be even more so. While brands such as Apple and Samsung have begun consolidating the smartphone market in established regions, other players such LG, Sony, and a variety of smaller Chinese brands have begun to make headway in emerging markets. The landscape looks much the same in the tablet sector, only smaller brands with extremely low-cost devices make up an even greater portion of the market.
With tablet brands now jostling for fractions of market share, it seems that struggling brands may opt out of the market altogether. A DigiTimes report today revealed that HTC, Motorola, and BlackBerry could soon abandon their tablet programs. The report’s unnamed “industry sources” stated that this could happen due to the increased competition at the low end of the tablet market.
For BlackBerry, abandoning tablet ambitions would seem only logical. Its latest tablet device, the PlayBook, was not even supported enough to get an upgrade to BlackBerry’s new operating system. The company’s traditional role has been in providing business-centric smartphones, and even those haven’t help the company keep up in the smartphone market in recent years. BlackBerry earlier this month failed to close on a proposed $4.7 billion buyout and is in the midst of a massive executive and board shift.
HTC is in a similar situation as BlackBerry, with its high-end smartphone sales falling short and poor quarterly reports beginning to mount. Abandoning tablets to focus on its well-reviewed smartphones could help the brand stick around a bit longer.
Motorola is in an odd position. Though its smartphones have also not made headway against Samsung and Apple, the company does have the financial backing of Google. Ignoring the tablet market for Motorola could mean that Google is overlooking it for future Nexus 7 tablet design.
DigiTimes sources also stated that not everyone is giving the tablet up to low-cost brands, though. Nokia, LG and Sony are all expected to field a variety of tablets in the years to come. Nokia in particular was just acquired by Microsoft, which will certainly want to use the now-established Lumia brand to grow the Windows 8 platform on tablets.