Tanusha - Fotolia

Enterprise adoption of hybrid devices tipped to soar post-Windows 7

Enterprise IT departments should consider hybrid devices in their post-Windows 7 migration plans, claims Gartner

The enterprise should start preparing for the end of extended support for Microsoft Windows 7 by investigating how to include hybrid devices into their wider IT strategies, Gartner has advised.

The market watcher's declaration coincides with the release of its projections on how sales of hybrid devices -- such as the Asus Transformer and Microsoft Surface -- are likely to fare over the coming years.

As such, Gartner is predicting a 70% year-on-year rise in the number of hybrid devices that ship in 2015, which would equate to around 21.5 million units.

Tracy Tsai, research director at Gartner, said: "Of the 21.5 million hybrid devices shipped in 2015, eight million will be ultramobile tablets (two-in-one tablets) and 13.5 million hybrid ultramobiles (two-in-one detachable and convertible ultramobiles).

"This will make hybrid ultramobiles the fastest-growing segment of the mobile PC market, with a 77% year-on-year growth."

Hybrid devices will account for around 12% of total sales of mobile PCs this year, according to Gartner, rising to 26% by 2019.

A lot of this growth will be fuelled by notebook and tablet users looking to replace their devices with a product that combines the best bits of the two form factors, Tsai added.

"The combination of portability, productivity and flexibility of touch and keyboard in one device is attracting some to replace their devices with hybrid form factors," she said.  

Despite the growing popularity of hybrid devices, Gartner claims many enterprise IT departments are struggling to make a compelling business case to invest in them because their employees are already so reliant on Windows 7 machines. 

Read more about Gartner research

Furthermore, a lot of the line of business applications employees rely on are not optimised for use with touchscreen devices.

However, with extended support for Windows 7 due to end in 2020, enterprises need to start preparing to migrate away from the popular operating system, said Gartner, which could speed up hybrid device adoption in the enterprise.

"Windows 10 on hybrid ultramobiles will offer a better user experience with touch and voice as well as universal Windows apps -- apps written just once that receive device-specific user experience tweaks to allow them to run on different Windows devices," Tsai added.

Computer hardware supplier Asus is leading the hybrid ultramobile device market with a 41% marketshare, having shipped 3.1 million units in 2014, followed by Lenovo, with shipments totalling 1.9 million units and Hewlett-Packard, which shifted 800,000 devices. Microsoft, meanwhile, is leading the tablet ultramobile category with a 36% marketshare.

Read more on Tablet computers