Microsoft Forecast To Take Bigger Share of Tablet Market
Tech giant Microsoft is set to expand its share of the tablet market, thanks to an increasing appetite among consumers for so-called “detachable” devices -- laptops with monitors that can be removed to function as tablets, according to a recent study by research firm IDC.
The category, which is considered a hybrid between laptops and tablets, is expected to grow from 16.6 million shipments in 2015 to 63.8 million in 2020. This year alone, the category is expected to experience a 73 percent year-on-year sales growth, according to IDC's latest Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, released yesterday. The overall tablet category, meanwhile, is lagging, with sales expected to fall 5.9 percent this year compared to 2015.
Shift Away from Slate Form Factors
At the moment, detachables make up about eight percent of the total tablet market. That is likely to grow to around 30 percent by 2020, IDC said.
"Beyond the growing demand for detachable devices, we're also witnessing an increase in competition within this segment that will help drive design, innovation, and a decline in average prices," said Jean Philippe Bouchard, IDC's research director, tablets, in a statement. "At the latest Mobile World Congress, we saw new entrants, like Alcatel and Huawei, coming from the mobile space and expanding their portfolio to address the demand for detachables.”
The change in consumer preference for detachable devices is coming at the expense of more traditional form factors, such as desktop and laptop computers, Bouchard said. That shift is leading many device manufacturers to shift production toward detachables.
The move away from the slate tablet form factor to detachables will bring other changes to the tablet market as well, IDC said. For one thing, sales of bigger devices with screens that are nine inches or larger will continue to grow over the next five years. Sales of smaller tablets, on the other hand, will likely decline.
Microsoft Strikes Back
Microsoft is expected to take market share away from the other mobile platforms, in particular Android, according to IDC. Currently, about 53 percent of the global detachable tablet market consists of Windows machines. By 2020, that number is expected to climb to as high as 75 percent.
"This momentous shift in form factor will bring along the first significant impact of Windows-based devices that the tablet market has seen," said Ryan Reith, program director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers, in the statement.
"Windows 10 seems to be making headway in both the PC and tablet markets, mainly driven by devices with larger screen sizes. Despite the free licensing on products under 9 inches the growth for Windows-based tablets will be primarily on devices with displays between 9 and 13 inches," Reith said. "Until we see a day where touch is introduced for Mac OS X and inroads are paved to bring Android and Chrome more closely aligned, we believe Windows remains the logical choice for detachable products."
Image Credit: Images of hardware via Microsoft.
Posted: 2016-03-13 @ 12:44am PT
I am enjoying the use of my second Windows hybrid tablet. The first was a bit underpowered, but proved to me nonetheless that a device that could go from work to entertainment, or just go mobile with the push of a release catch was exactly what I needed. Windows 10 has only made it more attractive, and the transition from work to play more seamless.
Posted: 2016-03-12 @ 8:12am PT
I dumped my Android Tablet and got a Surface Pro 3 a years ago and have never looked back. The quality build, the graphics, the great pen,the kickstand, backlit keyboard, and a real OS make a by far superior product for Production and Consumption than any of the Androids or iThings available today.
Thanks Microsoft... Now how about a Surface Phone for Point, Game, and Match?