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Samsung bets on tablets — at a time no one's buying them

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The company’s two new devices and stylus take aim at Apple’s iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface. But will anyone bite?
Samsung introduced two new tablets at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Samsung’s big news at Mobile World Congress isn’t the Galaxy S8. It’s two revamped tablets.
The only trouble is, nobody’s really buying tablets anymore. Just ask Apple.
People are holding onto tablets longer (viewing them more like PC upgrades than phones). Ever-larger phone screens are making tablets less compelling. On top of that, many US consumers would rather spend their money to upgrade their phones than on tablets or wearables. All of that has resulted in a freefall in tablet sales.
Global tablet shipments dropped for ninth consecutive quarter in the last three months of 2016, according to tech tracker IDC. Things have been even worse for market leader Apple. Sales of its device have dropped for 12 straight quarters. Still, one out of every four tablets shipped is an iPad.
“The entire market has been contracting,” IDC analyst Ryan Reith said. “People are doing more on their phones. ”
The 9.7-inch HDR-ready Android tablet features a stylish all-glass back.
Samsung hasn’t escaped unscathed: It’s currently No. 2 in the tablet market, behind Apple, but accounted for only 15.1 percent of shipments in the fourth quarter of 2016. And while its market share increased in the period 13.6 percent a year ago, it shipped 11 percent fewer devices than it did a year earlier.
The South Korean electronics giant is hoping its two new devices — the 9.7-inch, Android-based Tab S3 and the 10- and 12-inch Microsoft Windows-powered Galaxy Book — dazzle customers who want tablets that can do more than play movies and browse the internet.

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