A couple of years ago the iPad, Nexus, Galaxy and alternative products from the likes of Amazon were all the rage with consumers and business users.
So many of them popped up in the enterprise that those using them were even dubbed ‘prosumer’ to straddle the divide between the professional and personal nature of the devices.
But things move on and the tablets came under pressure from smart phones, phablets and more recently from the current in vogue product category the detachable or the 2-in-1.
The large analyst houses started to track a decline in tablets throughout last year as customers started to move away to other products.
For the channel, which often did not sell consumer tablets, the move towards the detachable is more welcome as it is much more the arena of a reseller to provide business users with those sort of products.
The latest forecasts from IDC paint a picture of a continuing decrease in the tablet market, down this year by 5.9%, as detachable products take a large slice of sales.
"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, Tablets at IDC.
"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,” he added.
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Bill Gates, the former CEO of Microsoft, is doing his bit to bang the drum for the form factor and revealed at the Reddit Ask Me Anything conference that he has switched to using a Surface Book, stating that he detached the screen a couple of times a week and liked the keyboard better than previous Surface versions.
For the channel the trend is well worth noting because it is not just tablets which will have their share eaten into.
“Everyone in the industry recognises 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,” added Philippe Bouchard.
The forecasts for this year from IDC expect Windows to be the dominant detachable OS, holding a 53.3% market share, followed by iOS, with 2.5% and then Android with 18.2%. Yeadon-Year growth for the product segment should hit 73%.
After this year though things will start to settle down and reach a point by the end of the decade where yearly growth will be more in the region of 15%.