It has only been four years since Apple introduced the iPad and made tablets a mainstream idea, but already consumer expectations of the devices have changed drastically. With tech innovation moving at lightning speeds, Millennials don’t stay under the spell of a new invention for very long, and the initial thrill (and cache) of tablet ownership is beginning to show signs of wear. We’ve discovered that 42% of Millennials own a tablet, but only 3% name it as their most important device, with smartphones and laptops greatly overshadowing tablets as their must-have tech. When asked if they would rather own a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, 55% of Millennials would rather have a laptop and 35% a smartphone, and only 10% of respondents would choose a tablet. Now that tablets are no longer the new tech on the block, we’re beginning to see companies looking for ways to infuse life into the device and make it even more marketable to digital natives. Today we’re looking to what is brand new to the tablet market, and how these innovators are trying to change the face, or screen, of consumer tech devices.
1. The DreamTab
It is a small screen after all that will be bringing entertainment to the next generation. Kids are growing up with less of a commitment to television than generations before them, and are already embracing tablet technology. Children as young as two-years-old are now using their parents’ devices on a regular basis, mostly for gaming features, so DreamWorks Animation has found a way to combine what both parents and kids want with the DreamTab. Essentially a two-in-one tablet, the DreamTab has entirely different functionalities depending on the age of the user, switching between traditional functions for its parent setting and touch screen features made for tiny hands. As Millennial parents become more accustomed to sharing their tech and other digital devices with their children, they are looking for things that can be easily monitored and customized for each user. What sets the DreamTab apart from competitor versions like the Nabi from Disney and Nickelodeon is its constant stream of original content, frequently updated to feature new “character moments” of fun animations, and its inclusion of educational programs and shows from other networks.
2. The Ubislate
The tablet as we currently know it is in transition. While certain tech provides an all-in-one experience for Millennials, they are still in search of more affordable options instead of splurging on each new, slightly improved, iteration of their devices. Originally developed for youth and users in developing countries, the Ubislate 7Ci is making waves in the States thanks to its $37.99 price tag, which is cheaper than most tablet cases. Called “so cheap it’s disposable,” the tablet brings a different mindset to the table, and makes tablets more open for use in innovative projects and event giveaways. Though its operating system and functions may not be of the highest quality, the ability to test and develop new systems on it may be the new focus for Millennial developers who embrace products that support market disruption.
3. Mobile Audi Smart Display
CES 2014 brought plenty of news from tech companies with revamped tablet offerings, but left something to be desired beyond just feature and interface updates. Stepping into the tablet space for the first time, Audi debuted its Mobile Audi Smart Display, an Android tablet with in-car connectivity to enhance “infotainment” and car safety features. Some alluded to the difference in tech shelf life for tablets compared to cars, but the display will come with updatable hardware and software to help alleviate those issues. Innovations in car tech with the Audi device include a “Virtual Cockpit” that will replace traditional speedometer and data measures. Maybe more interesting is the “Traffic Light Online” feature, which will help improve driver navigation through cities with real-time speed suggestions for getting through traffic lights. These features could entice new Millennial entrants into the luxury car market who are looking for seamless tech and vehicle integration.