Small tablets seeing big demand
The notion of "bigger is better" does not ring true in all instances, especially when it comes to electronics. Cellphones, mp3 players, gaming consoles -- the smaller they are, the more convenient.
So it should come as little surprise that smaller tablets are getting attention. Apple® set the standard when it introduced its 10-inch iPad® in 2010, but now tablets as small as 7 inches are finding favor.
The idea here is simple. The smaller the tablet, the easier it is to carry around. The smaller tablet is naturally lighter than its bigger counterparts and is generally more convenient to use on the train, in the airport or any other crowded space. Smaller tablets also tend to be more affordable than bigger devices, adding another attraction factor.
However, smaller tablets do have some challenges -- ironically, size being the main one. Manufacturers must be careful not to make their tablets too miniature, lest they encroach on smartphone territory. If a tablet starts pushing the 7-inch mark, a user may be more inclined to just purchase a smartphone, which has the obvious advantage of caller functions in addition to typical tablet capabilities.
Analysts at J.P. Morgan estimate that tablet sales will reach 51.9 million units in 2011 and 72.4 million in 2012. Even if the devices themselves keep shrinking, the market will continue to grow.