Wednesday, 15 July 2015 01:43

Tablet sales: plateaued but business tablet boom coming Featured

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The latest conventional tablet wisdom says while sales may well have plateaued in 2014 and 2015, business tablets are growing business critical with sales to come.

The tablet market has been in a bit of a funk, not selling as many as seen during around 2013 as replacement cycles extended well beyond that of the smartphone.

This has led some to wonder whether the post-PC market is all that it is cracked up to be, but with Apple selling many tens of millions of iPhones per quarter, including healthy sales of the phablet-sized iPhone 6 Plus, the PC, tablet, phablet and smartphone markets have clearly evolved dramatically.

Forrester’s latest report, entitled ‘Global Tablet Forecast 2015 To 2018: Despite Market Volatility, Tablets Are Big In Business’ and selling for US $499 to relevant buyers, looks at the tablet market in detail, and says that ‘tablet usage across the entire market will only continue to grow,’ with ‘company-owned tablets [co-opting] the energy of consumerisation.’

The respected analyst firm says that the BYOD trend ‘will continue to be a prominent practice among information workers’ in enterprise settings and that ‘company-owned tablets are growing at a much faster rate than the overall market.’

The report also forecasts the overall tablet market through to the year 2018 and ‘offers I&O leaders insight into how to construct a tablet strategy, which tablets to purchase, and how to make tablet deployments successful.’

Noting the ‘three-horse race’ for tablet operating systems of iOS, Android and Windows 8.1 and soon, Windows 10, Forrester says iOS devices are at the software cutting edge, Android devices are cheap and cheerful while Windows devices are at the hardware cutting edge.

In short, and especially given the wide and ever more mature range of business software available for each tablet operating system and platform today, the business world is where tablet growth is at.

OPINION:

Of course, how things end up panning out with the upcoming rumoured 12.9-inch iPad Pro, as well as the stunning new split-screen multitasking features that iOS 9 will bring in full to the iPad Air 2 and to earlier iPads in a cut-down format are also yet to be seen - these moves may well create a resurgent iPad market.

However, the Windows 10 onslaught of a finally decent notebook and tablet operating system hybrid that is well into its vastly more polished third-generation of the modern era as well as a plethora of form factors at every price point due to arrive over the next few months and beyond will bring the biggest competition the iPad and Android worlds have seen yet.

So - while the true impact of new iPads, new iPad OS, new Windows OS and new Windows tablets alongside all manner of Android tablets is all yet to truly be seen and then measured, Forrester’s prediction of a boom in business tablet sales seems right on the money.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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