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​The trouble with tablets

Tablets aren't phones -- and manufacturers shouldn't pretend that they are. This seems to be the learning from a year of disappointing movement in the tablet market.

Tablet sales grew a whopping 50 percent in 2013, but that growth has slumped to just over 7 percent in 2014. Apple saw shipments of iPads fall from 19.5 million units to 16.4 million units from 2013 to 2014. And though Samsung's tablet shipments were up 2.7 million in that time, snatching valuable market share, that uptick hasn't helped the segment as a whole.

Does that mean that tablets are doomed? Not necessarily, but, as CNET senior editor Jeff Bakalar told CBS News, the market might require a different mindset to put sales back on the upswing.

Consumers aren't buying tablets the way they buy phones.

"I don't think the tablet is in trouble. I just think sales of tablets are in trouble," Bakalar said. "The thinking was that people are going to buy tablets every two years, but now people are holding onto them for almost five years sometimes. A lot of them also get passed down. It's not like you need to upgrade that tablet every two years."

Even the October release of Apple's iPad Air 2 wasn't enough to inspire tablet owners to trade up, prompting CBS's Dave Johnson to call the device "an amazing tablet that few people need."

Tablets are also seeing competition from large phones, aka phablets.

"With the size of some phones now, the mini tablet and the phablet phone, there's not a big discrepancy. So for some people they opt in a larger phone," Bakalar said. "There's really no need to buy both."

  • Amanda Schupak

    Amanda Schupak is the science and technology editor at CBSNews.com