Microsoft popularized the detachable tablet device with its first Surface product in 2012, which connected a touchscreen tablet with a hardware keyboard or cover. Now the research firm IDC predicts that Windows-based tablets will dominate this growing market in the next few years.
IDC's numbers state that overall tablet shipments will see a 5.9% drop in 2016 compared to 2015. However, it predicts that tablet shipments will go back up again in the next few years, fueled by the growing use of detachable tablets, which it says will go up from 16.6 million shipments in 2015 to 63.8 million in 2020. Moreover, detachable tablets that use Windows will go up as well, from 53.3% of the market in 2016 to 74.6% by 2020.
"This momentous shift in form factor will bring along the first significant impact of Windows-based devices that the tablet market has seen," said Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers. "Windows 10 seems to be making headway in both the PC and tablet markets, mainly driven by devices with larger screen sizes. Despite the free licensing on products under 9 inches the growth for Windows-based tablets will be primarily on devices with displays between 9 and 13 inches. Until we see a day where touch is introduced for Mac OS X and inroads are paved to bring Android and Chrome more closely aligned, we believe Windows remains the logical choice for detachable products."