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Best Buy CEO Says Tablet Sales Are “Crashing,” Sees Hope for PCs

5 August 2014

From CNBC:

Re/code has landed in Minneapolis to talk to the folks at Best Buy — the last standing nationwide big-box, bricks-and-mortar consumer electronics retailer, with over 1,000 main stores and hundreds of smaller mobile device stores.

. . . .

It’s also battling the trend called “show-rooming” in which consumers try out products in a store like Best Buy but then buy online from e-tailers like Amazon. To fight this, it has expanded its price matching to include online sellers. And it is revamping its website (which was ugly, hard to navigate and hard to search) in the hope that it will become a bigger shopping destination for people who start, or even complete, purchases online.

. . . .

The tablets boomed and now are crashing. The volume has really gone down in the last several months. But I think the laptop has something of a revival because it’s becoming more versatile. So, with the two-in-ones, you have the opportunity to have both a tablet and laptop, and that’s appealing to students in particular. So you have an evolution. The boundaries are not as well defined as they used to be.

. . . .

The issue has then been that, once you have a tablet of a certain generation, it’s not clear that you have to move on to the next generation.

Link to the rest at CNBC


55 Comments to “Best Buy CEO Says Tablet Sales Are “Crashing,” Sees Hope for PCs”

  1. Well, I have both. And….

    I don’t suppose Best Buy would see this as a good thing, but tablets are solid state: they last longer. It’s quite possible that people just aren’t replacing them as quickly as PCs?

    • It is… and I think he was kind of alluding to that in the quote. (I didn’t go and read the article.)

      I know that my iPad 1 is still going strong and is quite serviceable as long as you don’t want the latest greatest, much more so than a laptop of equivalent age would be. I am a bad example – I replace my computers less than half as often as most geeks of my acquaintance – but the theory seems sound.

    • Most tablets have integrated batteries. When the battery goes, they’re dead.

      However, most don’t run Windows, so people are less likely to replace them just because they’re running a thousand different viruses and have slowed to a crawl.

    • I think it’s because tablets are more of a luxury item. Once you have one, you have to try pretty hard to justify buying another one.

  2. I really hope netbooks make a comeback. When tablets supposedly replaced them, I was so ticked off because netbooks are great writing machines, whereas tablets seem to be designed only for consuming media.

    • I thought the same. They’re portable TVs. I even envisioned a cartoon showing a family on the couch watching one, morphing to computers, then back on the couch, only each one watching their ipad.

    • I do all my blogging and writing on my android tablet. It’s true that the tablets are designed more for other uses, but with a bluetooth keyboard you can be quite productive on them. The writing apps for android aren’t as robust as I would like, but there is currently a port of Open Office that is available. Hopefully it will be improved upon in the near future as many of the features are disabled and the menus still use the windows drop down method that seems atiquated compared with the ui of most apps.

    • We have a couple of netbooks. Mrs. PG prefers a netbook to a laptop for writing in bed.

      We also take a netbook on trips when space is tight. It’s far from an ideal Photoshop platform, but I make it work for my travel photos.

    • This coming holiday/xmas season, Microsoft is suppose to be coming out with a Window competitor to Chromebook [Stream] starting at the $199 price point. This may be the netbook replacement you’re looking for.

      I hope the hardware is decent because I’ll buy one and install Lubuntu on it. 🙂

      • Why not juts get a chrome book?

      • Already got one, actually: an Asus X200CA that I bought earlier this year. Swapped out the hard drive for a solid state, and it works like a charm.

        This might be why the netbook died, actually: the machines were so awesomely durable that you didn’t have to replace them very often. I got one of the original Asus eee PCs back in 2008 and used that thing through most of 2013. It still works fine, in fact–the only problem is that the battery and power cord are completely shot (that, and 1 GB is not enough memory to navigate today’s internet).

        • I’m still running an Acer netbook I got back in the Vista days. Since I practice safe computing and stay out of disreputable sites (no BPH sites or the like) the thing still works like a charm. The battery is only good for 10 minutes by now but everything else is fine. 🙂

          Computers are actually very durable if you treat them well; I have a total of seven working computers going back to Atari days.

        • We had two of the Asus EeePC1000HE netbooks.

          I doubled the RAM, put Crucial M4 SSD drives in them, and installed Windows 7, and they were still speedy little machines. We gave one away and kept the other.

          But mainly for portable we have a couple Chromebooks that we prefer.

    • Try a Samsung Chromebook, Joe. At $250 for the 11″, solid state version, it’s pretty great. I’v written a novel and several short stories on it in the past year, using primarily google docs, but you can access MS Word online and Apple pages online as well.

      • Very, very seriously considering a MS Surface Pro 3 (Core i5, 256GB SSD, etc… the nicer one that isn’t crippled by crap cpu/RAM/tiny SSD).

        SP3 is an ultra-portable touchscreen laptop that pretends to be a tablet. Android/iOS tablets/phones, while neat, are left in the dust by a huge margin when it comes to the functionality/features/power that laptops/desktops have.

        Also, the separate keyboard on the SP3 is very, very nice. I was quite surprised.

        Edit to add that no tablet/phone can compare to a macbook/windows laptop for people who need legacy apps (I need my Scrivener, Photoshop, gaming, audio engineering, etc programs, and there isn’t a tablet on this planet other than the Surface Pro, which isn’t really a tablet, that can do all of these things.

        It’s the legacy apps that hold some of us back. This is not a bad thing at all for me. I have a couple of tablets and some phones that range from Android to Windows. I still prefer my desktop computer and my laptop to all, because no matter how great these ‘devices’ are that aren’t computers, they aren’t computers. They’re just glorified electronic toys that haven’t caught up to mature computing yet.

      • I do all my work on Libreoffice and other free/open source programs. Not a huge fan of MS Word or Google Docs. Also, I prefer Ubuntu to Windows.

      • I looooove my Chromebook. It’s not my main computer or a replacement for a full featured laptop. It’s my on-the-go writing machine that also lets me access the internet and stream music. That’s all I needed.

    • We still have two netbooks and I use them quite a bit for writing when I go places. I rarely take my work laptop as it is a heavy one with a nice screen – great for moving around inter-office for meetings, etc, but not really super-portable.

  3. I CANNOT adopt any more electronic devices. I’m already neglecting the ones that I own, and it wouldn’t be fair to them. There are only 24 hours in a day!

  4. I usually adopt a technology about a fortnight before the rest of the world decides it is obsolete. I bought my tablet a fortnight ago. Good to know the world is operating as usual.

  5. Well, I recently bought a new Surface Pro tablet, but I bought it from the Microsoft Store (which set up shop directly across from the Apple Store in U Village, a fact that made me lol), not from Best Buy, because Best Buy wanted to charge me $300 more.

    So maybe that’s why Best Buy’s tablet sales are crashing.

    • The Microsoft store at Valley Fair in San Jose is also right across from the Apple store.

      My wife was getting her Macbook looked at and pondering purchasing a new one. As we headed between the two stores I brightly suggested that perhaps we could get her a surface instead.

      She was not amused.

    • My first thought when I saw the headline in the queue was “Does he know that Best Buy is crashing?”

      I’ll add that I’m leaning toward the Surface-2 myself. Apples walls just keep getting higher every day.

    • The surface looks like a really nice machine and it’s very tempting to buy one, but I can’t justify it right now.

    • I bought a Surface pro earlier this year. It is a beautiful piece of hardware, but I can’t say I am a fan of Windows 8.1, or whatever the version number is. It seems unnecessarily difficult to find some things, and once an update took my internet connection off-line. I had to google from my work PC, until I located a forum where Microsoft techs were quietly telling people how to fix the problem.

      It’s a mixed bag for me. The kindle app on the Surface is super fast – it is a great reader. But I can’t get the Facebook app to recognize my account, so I fall back on my iPad or an old XP laptop for that. Same with blogger. But you can put a fully operational version of Office on it, and it has a port for a memory stick, so it’s better than an iPad that way.

    • For a while there, I found it very funny that it seemed like wherever I saw a Borders, a Barnes and Noble would go up inside a year, or vice versa. That didn’t work out so well in the long run.

      Although it was very funny to me that the Gideons were directly across from the pro-choice people at the county fair last weekend. It would have been even funnier had they put the pro-life people there, but I guess the organizers had SOME sense of self-preservation.

    • The Microsoft store in the Mall of America is also right across the hall from the Apple store. Must be a tactic.

  6. I get the impression that Best Buy’s sales in general are tanking, so why would I trust what they say about technology. OTOH, I think that tablets are of MOST limited utility. The advent of laptops with detachable touchscreen monitors would seem to me to sound a death’s knell for pure tablets and — probably — two-in-ones. (To the extent that there’s a diff.)

    I don’t get how you can write on a tablet. Even with a keyboard add-on. Certainly, standard wifi needs a great deal of improvement to be completely serviceable.


    • The advent of laptops with detachable touchscreen monitors would seem to me to sound a death’s knell for pure tablets and — probably — two-in-ones.

      I have an Asus Transformer, which is basically the same design. It’s not a very good tablet because it’s the size of a small laptop screen, so heavy and hard to carry around. It’s also a lousy laptop because all the heavy stuff is behind the screen, so it’s continually trying to tip over.

      I’ll take a real laptop any day. I haven’t attached the keyboard to it in over a year.

    • Best Buy was tanking until last year but now they seem to have stabilized by moving to smaller stores, changing the product mix, and flexible pricing.
      A lot of their problems were (and still are) due to bad local store managers.

    • Mark, as long as I’m producing text (as opposed to editing, which is iffy or needing multiple windows open) writing on my iPad goes great. I prefer having my BT keyboard, but last week I wrote web copy for my client (in front of her) using just the on-screen keyboard. Oddly enough, it didn’t feel that much slower than if I’d been on my computer. She was impressed too.

      I’m actually finding that for just writing, I do better on my iPad. When I write on a computer, I fall into the trap rewriting as I go, or finding a reason to go research something instead of writing. The iPad focuses me somehow.

      • Juli, same for me using my iPhone. Easy to write with sitting in waiting rooms, bed, etc. I’m been tempted to use a speech to text program you but just haven’t had time to fool with it yet.

        • Be curious your results. I always figure I can type faster than the program could keep up with me, but I could be wrong.

          And just wait until iOS 8 and auto predict keyboards. Swiftkey on Android is amazing!

          • I’ve used a speech to text app, and it works “pretty good” but often transcribes words into some real wonky gibberish 🙂 probably one of the reasons I’ve hesitant trying more right now.

            Yeah, iOS 8 should be a doozie!

            But if I get to try more with that app I’ll let you know; it even sends a transcript via email to me if I want, then I can copy paste it, etc.

            Kinda wondering if there’s good reason to worry bout the writing being picked up by others though, that wouldn’t be good for a WIP.

  7. It also could be that more people are using their phones in place of tablets. (in fact, I just upgraded my phone yesterday and the sales clerk noted that most people were using their phones in place of computers and/or tablets. Mind you, some of the phones are as big as tablets…)

  8. Last month I bought a new computer. They threw in a free tablet as part of the deal.

  9. This is because lots of people bought iPads instead of Samsung crap; iPads don’t need to be upgraded so frequently (unless you crave for a newer model, but it’s not a mandatory upgrade as in the desktop PC world).

    • I like my Samsung crap.

      • I do too. Thanks to Papyrus, my Galaxy Note 8 enabled me to do away with paper notebooks last year. Added a Bluetooth keyboard, and now I’ve got even more portability and flexibility when it comes to writing. Granted, I don’t edit on a tablet. Have yet to find an app that isn’t too clunky to navigate for anything other than straight drafting. That said, I think my setup works just as well as my friend’s setup on an Ipad mini.

        I don’t, however, think tablets are a replacement for a netbook or laptop. They’ve got different capabilities and functions. The tablet is fantastic for reading, browsing, and drafting, and my netbook enables me to draft and edit without hauling a big laptop around, but neither of them compare to a more powerful computer with a larger screen when it comes to things like running InDesign or Photoshop. Or playing certain games. 🙂

        And I tend to use my devices until they die. Can’t afford to replace ’em as regularly as the manufacturers would like. 😀

  10. Wait – you can buy a tablet?

  11. We bought 3 tablets for our family from Amazon.

  12. I still use my alphasmart neo to produce fiction.

    But then my main two criteria for a writing platform is that it shouldn’t ever, ever, under any circumstances, please, ever be capable of using the internet. Plus, secondly, it should have a keyboard.

    Otherwise I end up on thePassiveVoice.com

    It’s an addiction.

  13. From the full article (but I wonder if they’ll try to upsell or switch what I’d want to buy :

    “We’ll match the price. So we’ve taken price off the table. Because we think that customers come to us with good intentions…

    “So what do I have to do? Do I have to literally say, ‘Here on my phone you can see, Amazon has this TV for $100 less.’ And you’ll just match it?

    “Yes, exactly. With a smile.” –

    Ahhh, competition 🙂

    • For the longest time Best Buy the store wouldn’t match the prices of BestBuy.com.

      Glad they’re finally waking up. Too bad I don’t shop there any more. 🙂

      • I stopped shopping at Best Buy for a few years because of that. It was insulting. They do seem a lot better now. I’ve bought my last two large-screen TV’s from them and not Amazon.

  14. Why should I set foot in a Best Buy when there is ebay and Amazon?

    • I am a geek and I like to be surrounded by gadgets, even gadgets I don’t need/want/can’t afford. So sometimes I like to go to Best Buy or Tiger Direct and just walk around.

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