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Brazil's tablet fever starts to subside

Shift to phablets in the consumer space and the end of government purchases indicate decline in interest.

Interest in tablets by Brazilian consumers and corporates appears to be declining, according to recent numbers by analyst IDC.

The research house's Tablets Monthly Tracker suggests that in July, some 612.000 tablets were sold, up 17 percent on July 2013. However, 642.000 devices were sold in August, 3 percent less compared to the same month last year.

Out of all the devices sold in those two months, 96 percent were sold to final consumers and 4 percent to corporates.

This decrease in sales points to the start of a decline in tablet fever in Brazil. According to IDC, the "big moment" for tablets in the country has passed and that from now on, sales are likely to reach a more stable level rather than the exponential growth seen in previous months.

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"We had a moment with many tablet launches with some low-quality options, which has led to consumers being disappointed and not considering a second purchase," says IDC Brazil analyst Pedro Hagge.

The analyst added that the end of the acquisition of tablets for public sector projects and the growing competition of phablets also led to the decrease in interest in tablet devices.

Last year, the Brazilian market was inundated with tablet computers as consumer demand soared.

Those who couldn't afford higher spec tablets from Apple or Samsung, or wanted to just give the technology a try, could buy cheaper alternatives for about $100 as foreign and local manufacturers rushed to claim a slice of the burgeoning market.

The lower price and the vast availability of options also led to tablets surpassing notebooks in the number of units sold in Brazil for the first time ever earlier this year.

Similar to what happened with tablet devices, the smartphone market in Brazil has become very diverse in the last three years, with alternatives that vary from higher end devices to much more affordable options.

That said, it is expected that the general decrease in prices seen in smartphones could lead to the offer of cheaper phablets. But for now, despite the steady growth in interest, phablets in Brazil remain focused on users willing to spend more: Rumours are rife in the Brazilian press that the iPhone 6 Plus will become available locally later this month for more than double the price it retails for in the US.