Tablet sales increased 50 percent through the end of 2013, reports Gartner. Tablets continue to overtake the mobile computing market. While manufacturers are tight-lipped about their changes to tablet technology in 2014, we can make a few speculations based on rumors and news leaks. Here are the best guesses about what you can expect to see this next year.
Smaller, Lighter Tablets
Samsung appears to be first out of the gate by announcing four new tablets for 2014, reports Tech Radar. The company willadd a smaller tablet and three larger ones to the mix. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite will launch in Europe first and will have a 7-inch screen with 1024 x 600 pixel resolution. With a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, this tablet will fall into the low-end of the tablet performance range. The price is expected to be around 100 Euros, or $135 USD.
Larger, Heavier Tablets
No details exist on the other three Samsung tablets, but rumors say to expect them to be on the other end of the spectrum. Some speculate this will be a foray into a 12-inch screen. With that comes a 2560 x 1600 display and an eight-core processor. Tech Radar also notes that it could be a 13-inch tablet that will dual-boot both Windows and Android. Android Central suspects the final tablet offering will be an 8-inch or 10-inch version with a super-high resolution AMOLED screen. Hopefully one or more of these will show up at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Blurring The Line Between Tablets and Laptops
The continuing development of tablet/laptop hybrids may take the limelight in 2014, says Kotaku. These designs incorporate a touch screen and a physical keyboard. The unit can be used as a traditional laptop with keyboard. The screen can also be turned, flipped or swiveled around to use it like a tablet. Several manufacturers already have a version of this convertible hybrid machine, including Lenovo, Sony and Acer. Other major players are expected to enter the market in 2014.
Making a Hybrid
What would the ideal hybrid tablet/laptop look like in 2014? Gizmodo suggests that the Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga is a model for future hybrid designs. This device has a 12.5 inch screen and a magnesium-alloy case. It’s not a lightweight machine, but is built to travel like a laptop in a business person’s bag. Powered by a 4th generation Core i7 ULT processor supported by up to 1TB of storage, this is definitely a high-end performance machine.
The conversion to a tablet occurs by flipping the screen all the way back flush with the case. For most machines, this would result in having a keyboard hanging out of the bottom of the device while you’re using the touch screen. The Yoga solves this by raising the surface around the keys to be level with the keys. The result is a somewhat level surface that won’t generate a bunch of random key presses when you set the tablet down.
Pricing Stays the Same, Maybe
CNet notes that with the increase of tablet sales through 2013, it’s unlikely that there will be a price drop in 2014. New low-end models will likely show up at the $150 end of the spectrum with the beefier tablet/laptop hybrids appearing at the $700 and up end.