Tablet Sales are Dropping, Whilst 2-in-1 Devices are Soaring

Figures released this week by the IDC (International Data Corporation) this week suggest that tablet sales are expected to fall by 8% in 2015. More than double the IDC’s previous prediction of -3.8% made in May.

They also announced that sales of 2-in-1 devices (think Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3) are expected to grow 86.5% year on year (they started from a very small base though).

What has been the cause of such a turn of events? 

The IDC’s opinion is threefold:

“In the past, the biggest challenges with 2-in-1 devices were high price points, less than appealing designs, and, quite frankly, lack of demand for Windows 8, which was the OS most devices were running…With more OEMs offering devices in this segment, prices have started to come down significantly…With the launch of Windows 10, the introduction of more Android-based products, and the possibility that Apple will unveil a larger, screen-detachable iPad, this is the space to watch.”  Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

The launch of Windows 10 on the 29th July may well be a large factor here. A big feature of Windows 10 is ‘Continuum’, which is designed to work with 2-in-1 devices, and is essentially a mode that lets you switch easily from ‘tablet mode’ to ‘PC mode’ depending where you are and what you’re working on.

So basically, it allows you to choose the best tool for the job. i.e PC mode for sitting in the office and creating spreadsheets, tablet mode for activities more related to touchscreen.

A vast improvement from Windows 8, which kind of figured you’d want to use touchscreen for everything.

According to figures released by Microsoft this week, there are now 75 million devices running Windows 10, in 192 countries. Not bad at all for a month’s work.

So, if there’s now an operating system that allows you to use 2-in-1 devices to their fuller extent, and lots of people are using it, then this may well have contributed significantly to the renewed sales figures released this week.

There’s also the argument that 2-in-1 devices look a lot better now than their rather clunky parentage, and, according to many reviews, actually can replace your PC.

Writing for ZDNet, Ed Bott puts it well when he says, “Companies have been reluctant to invest in tablets and PCs. There’s a good reason for that. Why would a company want two upgrade cycles? As 2-in-1 devices become true laptop replacements, it’s possible that enterprises will gravitate towards convertibles.”

Personally, I’m convinced that it will be a long time before the tablet fades away. My iPad 2 is my main device at home, and I’ve never fancied getting rid of it in order to have functionality I don’t need from a consumer point of view.

For businesses, that’s another story. In most cases, it’s simply unreasonable to ask employees to get everything they need to get done on a basic tablet. Hence why, up until recently, they needed a PC as well.

But if Apple are bringing out a larger, enterprise edition of the iPad, this could be another indication that the ‘laptop replacement’/ single device market is going to be the choice for a lot of businesses.

What’s your opinion? Will you be replacing your PC like for like in your next upgrade cycle, or will the appeal of a hybrid be too much for you?