The Tablet Market Update

Some recent analysts’ reports show that Apple has not been able to increase its share of the tablet market with the iPad family.  The recent launch of the iPad Pro initially provided Apple a chance to define large-screened tablet computing to Apple’s advantage, but the company thus far has not delivered a compelling message to potential buyers.  Instead it has been Microsoft who is beginning to make a stronger case in the market and is beginning to see some short and long term success.

Windows Tablet shipments is projected to hit 49 million units in 2019, a 120 percent increase from 2015 levels

​No doubt, Microsoft has had a long bumpy road in the tablet marketplace, but 2015 proved to be the year that Microsoft and its partner OEMs finally got Tablets right, according to the new “Tablet Operating System Forecast – Shipments, Installed Base & by Price Tier” report from Strategy Analytics’ Tablet & Touchscreen Strategies (TTS) service.   Windows Tablet shipments have already increased at a 58 percent annual rate in the first nine months of 2015 and momentum will carry through the holiday season to reach 22 million shipments for the full year, or 10 percent of the total market. 

Certainly, the Android and iOS competitors will not stand still as Windows gains in popularity and market share.  This Holiday gift buying season sales promotion deals are knocking off at least $100 from iPads, Samsung Galaxy Tabs, and LG G Pads, among many other deals around the industry.  At the same time, Apple has strengthened its position among enterprise and prosumer users with the iPad Pro release this month, opening the Tablet market to even greater penetration of higher-tier prosumers, creatives/artists, and of course enterprise users.

It appears Windows Tablets will have a more balanced approach than Android’s mass market, low cost appeal, but will nevertheless produce many millions of sub-$150 wholesale ASP Tablets, contributing to growing market share.

In projecting into next year, the success of 2-in-1 Tablets like the Asus T100, Acer Switch, and the Lenovo Miix 700 and professional grade Slate Tablets and like the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4 will introduce more stability in this market.  In the Enterprise market, Premium price tier Tablets will play an important role here, and in some cases as PC replacements in general.

“As the enterprise market becomes increasingly open to the wide scale deployment of Tablet platforms, Microsoft has a key advantage in that its operating systems are found on the vast majority of PC and servers within the enterprise, potentially providing a smoother integration of Tablets using the Windows OS into the enterprise.  Most, if not all, major vendors will have high to premium tier Windows Tablet offerings by the end of 2016 to address prosumers and enterprise currently served by Microsoft’s Surface Pro line,” stated Peter King, Research Director, Tablet & Touchscreen Strategies service said,

The Microsoft Tablets are predominately in the twelve-inch category, and market expansion and growth projects to both consumers and enterprises organizations.  It appears that Microsoft is going to help define the larger tablet space over the next couple of months and into 2016.  Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella has looked at the fractured ecosystem of manufacturer devices running a common OS and recognized that this wasn’t a clear enough vision of Microsoft’s long term future in software and services.  He and his leadership team has certainly taken the company down the road to a high risk – high reward path with the Surface brand, and so far it is a success in terms of marketing and positioning.

Even if consumers and businesses purchase a device from any number of tablet manufacturers from Dell, Lenovo to Acer, or any other manufacturers instead of the Surface device, they are getting a package much closer to Microsoft’s vision of large-screened tablet and powerful portable computing than the competing Apple or Android systems.

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