Strategy Analytics predicted 2-in-1 detachable tablet PCs will open a door of opportunity for traditional PC manufacturers including HP and Asus to compete with heavyweights of the mobile device industry through 2019.
The research company said shipments of 2-in-1 tablets -- devices similar to notebook PCs but with a detachable screen -- will almost double from 11.5 million units in 2015 to 22 million in 2019. That represents a CAGR of 57 per cent compared to a predicted CAGR for slate-style tablets of 2 per cent, it said.
Analysts at the company said traditional PC makers could leverage the niche sector within the broader tablet PC market to compete against traditional mobile device companies.
"Vendors have refined 2-in-1 tablet products in the last year to be affordable and functional and there is plenty of headroom for the segment to grow in the next five years as White Box vendors seek to differentiate their low-cost products," tablet and touchscreen strategies senior analyst, Eric Smith, said.
While noting that "the growth rate among 2-in-1 tablets will far outpace those of traditional slate tablets" over the forecast period, Smith acknowledged that the detachable devices are starting "from a smaller base" than their stand-alone counterparts.
Peter King, tablet and touchscreen strategies service director at the company, said shipments growth will be spurred by developments including the recent launch of Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system, and the rollout of Intel's Skylake processors at the end of 2015.
"Windows tablets have become more cost-competitive with Android tablets," King said, adding: "Windows provides a familiar environment for traditional PC vendors to compete in the tablet market and also gives CIOs a higher level of comfort when considering higher-end tablets in the commercial setting."
Despite Strategy Analytics bullish outlook for 2-in-1 tablets, the company conceded the growth in shipments comes amid a broader slowdown in tablet PC sales.
The company predicted shipments in the overall tablet PC market will decline by 4 per cent through 2015, with only modest growth expected in 2016 due to greater innovation in design.
That outlook is shared by Canalys, which this week said tablet shipments in the second quarter fell 11 per cent year-on-year to 42.5 million units. The company said slate-style tablets face greater competition from 2-in-1 devices and large screen smartphones, but that the business market presents a fresh opportunity for growth.
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