Tablets used to be simple; they were slates, flat devices born to demonstrate the joys of touch computing. At IFA in Berlin, vendors tried to change our thinking, we were faced with a plethora of different shapes, form factors and definitions. Some of the terms used to describe tablets at IFA included; sliders, convertibles, detachables, hybrids, pop-ups, binders, swivels, dual displays, clamshells...the list goes on. One thing for sure is that there is going to a blurring of the lines between some of these Tablets and some Ultrabooks hitting the markets soon.
Multiple vendors mostly from the traditional PC/Notebook space displayed products which they hope will break through the clutter in the tablet and Ultrabook space. These include Toshiba, Lenovo, HP, Dell, Samsung to name just a few. Our IFA show report summarizes the product announcements and targets for these new devices.
Vendors in their quest for some differentiation from the sea of slate products have innovated and should be commended for not simply copycatting slim slates but:
How do tablet buyers feel about deviating from the mother ship design paradigm?
and, Will consumer, business buyers accept alternative form factors?
Out Tablet and Touchscreen (TTS) service has recently completed new primary research with tablet owners and buyers in UK, France, Germany, US, China and Japan in which we asked users about different form factors as well as their interests in a range of accessories including attachable and Bluetooth keyboards.
While carrying cases and sleeves are almost universal, the attach rate and interest in other accessories varies significantly by vendor and country. For example docking stations have 1.5 to 2X higher attach rates on Apple devices than other vendors in Western markets. Interest in keyboards though is consistently high single digit/low double digit across countries.
The following chart from the US market offers a positive potential picture (depending on pricing) of course for different form factors in the tablet/ultrabook categories.
Interest level in alternative tablet form factors
So what is the outlook for tablets/ultrabooks in form factors other than the iconic slate? SA does see a future for such devices with some variance across Asia and W. Europe as well as US. We have just published a forecast in our Tablet and Touchscreen service of tablet sales by screen size Tablet Sales by Display Size Forecast and we will shortly be publishing one by form factor, but we do see alternate form factors especially the convertibles capturing high single digit share of sales over the next few years.
There will be significant changes in the tablet market in the next 1-2 years in terms of:
% sales in display sizes both bigger and smaller than the de facto standard 10 inch.
Significant activity in both entry tier and premium tier priced devices
The OS battles with Windows having the potential to capture one in six sales.
The market and value share taken by Chinese and Japanese vendors.
Our Tablet & Touchscreen analyst team will be happy to discuss these items and the supporting reports and forecasts published in the service with clients. Contact us at #firstname.lastname@example.org