Mobile Computing

Report: Detachable Devices To Drive Tablet Growth Through 2020

Detachable tablets will nearly quadruple, as a share of the tablet market, from 8 percent to 30 percent in 2020, according to a new forecast from International Data Corp. (IDC).

Overall, tablet shipments will drop 5.9 percent from 2015 to 2016, falling to 195 million sales this year, according to the company, but IDC expects the segment to rebound to positive, single-digit growth, largely on the strength of detachable devices, which it predicts will grow from 16.6 million shipments in 2015 to 63.8 million in 2020.

"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, research director for tablets at IDC, in a prepared 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. Everyone in the industry recognizes that traditional personal computers like desktops and notebooks will potentially be replaced by detachables in the coming years and this is why we will see a lot of new products being introduced this year."

"The change from slate form factor to detachables will bring along two other changes to the tablet industry," according to an IDC news release. "First, devices with larger screen sizes (9" and above) will experience growth throughout the forecast while those under 9inches will decline. And second, Microsoft-based devices will begin taking share from the other platforms, most notably Android."

Android detachables will account for 18.2 percent of the devices sold this year, according to IDC's prediction, improving to 23.1 percent in 2020.

iOS market share among detachables will fall from 28.5 percent this year to 22.4 percent in 2020.

Market share for Windows detachables will remain relatively steady, according to IDC, improving slightly from 53.3 percent in 2016 to 54.5 percent in 2020.

"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 a prepared 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. 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."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at jbolkan@gmail.com.

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