The tablet market is set to shrink 8% in 2015, but the new breed of hybrid tablets with detachable keyboards could help breath new life into the business, according to a new report by research firm IDC.
Global tablet shipments will total 211.3 million units in 2015, according to IDC, representing a decline of 8.1% compared to 2014.
The weakening consumer demand for tablets has been evident throughout the year, with Apple reporting in October that iPad sales in its fiscal fourth quarter dropped below 10 million units for the first time since mid-2011.
But there is hope for the market in the new crop of hybrid, or “detachable,” tablets such as the new Apple iPad Pro, Microsoft Surface Pro, and Google’s Pixel. These tablets have snap-on keyboards that make them ideally-suited for business users who need to do more than just browsing the web with them.
According to IDC, the detachable tablet segment will grow by 75% in 2016. That’s off a small base, since many of these detachable tablets were only recently released, but it’s still an encouraging sign for the battered tablet market.
Apple’s new iPad Pro for example is the “only” reason that Apple will gain market share in the tablet market in the coming years, IDC said.
But this biggest beneficiary from the rise in detachable tablets may be Microsoft. Windows-based devices (including “slates” and detachables) will more than double in market share by 2019, IDC said, as PC and smartphone vendors create tablets running Microsoft’s operating system.
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