Analysts with research firm IDC predict that global tablet shipments for 2015 will total about 211 million, which is about 8 percent lower than last year’s number. But the company’s latest tablet forecast does see a few potential bright spots for tablet makers.

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According to IDC, the most popular tablets in 2014 and 2015 were small models with 7 to 9 inch displays… but tablets with larger screens made up a larger percentage of all tablets shipped in 2015 than they did a year earlier. So large-screened tablets could be a growth area.

IDC also notes that while Android tablets continue to be the most popular, followed by iPads, it looks like Windows tablets are gaining market share. About  5 percent of all tablets shipped in 2014 ran Windows software, according to IDC’s numbers, but that percentage is expected to rise to 8.5 percent this year. If it keeps climbing, IDC figures Windows tablets could account for nearly 18 percent of all tablets shipped in 2019.

IDC is also bullish on 2-in-1 tablets with detachable keyboards, predicting a 75 percent growth rate between 2015 and 2016. This makes sense at a time that Windows tablet growth is on the rise, since one of the key benefits to running Windows on a tablet is the ability to run desktop-style software as well as mobile apps.

It’s worth noting that IDC isn’t saying more tablets will be moved in 2019 than 2015. It’s possible the total shipment numbers could continue to fall. But the company is predicting a change in what kinds of tablets people use.

Of course, it’s probably a good idea to take those predictions with a grain of salt: a few years ago it would have been hard to imagine Apple releasing a 12.9 inch tablet with digital pen input or Amazon releasing a $50 tablet. Who knows what the next few years will bring?

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12 replies on “Tablet shipments are down, but IDC sees potential growth for 2-in-1s”

  1. 2019 is so far away in IT you can’t make predictions by simply connecting the points and making a line. Any year something can turn the whole thing over, like an iPhone killing Nokia in a few short years or the android tablets killing netbooks.

  2. I would have actually guessed Windows had a higher market share. They seem to be doing so much better with tablets in the past year or two. And while I realize there are a zillion super cheap worthless Android tablets I’m still surprised to see their market share so high.
    I might go for another tablet (dropped and smashed mine this past Summer). But not until something is shipping with Android 6 on it. Even then I’ve been half thinking that what I want is a ChromeOS detachable or convertible.
    We’ll see.

  3. I bought one of those Amazon $50 tablets, on sale for $35 on Black Friday. I also bought a $29 Android tablet from Newegg and 3 iPad Mini 2’s from Walmart for $199. There’s no way I’d pay $1000 for an overpriced Microsoft tablet.

    1. I hadn’t thought of Amazon. I wonder if they are counted in the ‘Android’ figures in the story.

      1. I would assume so, since they do run a (heavily modified) version of Android.

    2. That’s a pretty specious argument. You can’t legitimately compare a cheap low-end Android tablet with something like the Surface Book, which has a Core i processor, a keyboard, an active digitizer, dedicated GPU, and runs full WIndows programs. If you can’t understand the differences, it doesn’t mean they’re the same, it just means you’re outside the target market.

  4. There arent really any GOOD cheapish tablets out there right now. The chinese tablets are all missing something, battery life, lousy cameras (seriously, 0.3mpx?) or build quality. The known brands all suffer from appearing well overpriced. I would pick up a good tablet, with a fast processor and a high pixel density edge to edge display, but they just don’t seem to exist.

    1. The re-released Nvidia Shield at $199 isn’t a bad contender. Though you also need to spring for a charger if you don’t have one handy.

    2. It’s hard to make money on low-margin 7-8inch tablets. i think that is the main reason why no one is making good ones now. I am surprised that Google does not want to keep making Nexus 7 tablets each year… it is a guaranteed market share taking device.

  5. I like 2-in-1s, but they really need to focus on making the tablet usable as well… a tablet.. my problem is that they make the bezels too big to accommodate a full size keyboard.. I’d prefer a sleek tablet who cares if the keyboard is bigger than the device it isn’t like you’ll use it all the time. Plus with the 360 devices you run into weight problems..this is why I use a tablet with a bluetooth keyboard. I wish there was an option for native android dual-boot on more of these as well..

    1. I’m a little surprised that we don’t see more “full size keyboards” that implement an integrated tablet/phone stand, decent mini speakers, and a powered USB hub. These could handle a mouse, connect to the tablet and perhaps be a charging station, and for quick use even look like a bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Maybe power buttons for “on” (USB only) and “full on” (BT active) because plugging in and using USB instead of BT saves on tablet battery power. Then you still have the quick “cableless” mode but it isn’t your only option. Might have to come with a few shortie cables for Apple, Samsung, mini- and micro-USB connectors since the connector landscape is so chaotic. But people might pay the price if the thing worked well enough.

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