RESEARCH OUTFIT International Data Corp (IDC) predicts that sales of smaller 7in tablets will slow with Apple's iPad Air and the rise of phablets to fuel a comeback of large-screen tablets.
While 7in and 8in tablets have recently dominated global tablet sales, IDC says it expects Apple's iPad Air, along with the growing popularity of large-screen smartphones such as the Nokia Lumia 1520 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3, to lead to a resurgence of large-screen tablet devices.
IDC research director for tablets Tom Mainelli said, "In some markets consumers are already making the choice to buy a large smartphone rather than buying a small tablet, and as a result we've lowered our long-term forecast.
"Meanwhile, in mature markets like the US where tablets have been shipping in large volumes since 2010 and are already well established, we're less concerned about big phones cannibalizing shipments and more worried about market saturation."
This apparently is good news for Microsoft, as IDC expects that the rising popularity of large-screen devices will see sales of Windows 8.1 tablets surge in 2014. At present, Windows tablets make up 3.4 percent of the global tablet market, up from 0.9 percent in 2012, and IDC expects this figure to reach 10.2 percent by 2017.
It expects Android to continue to dominate, but predicts that Microsoft's growth in the tablet sector will eat into its market share. Google's mobile operating system resides on 60.8 percent of tablets, but IDC said this is likely to dip slightly to 58.8 percent in 2017.
The research firm expects Apple's market share to decline somewhat, too. It says iPads have 35 percent of the tablet market, and likely will account for just over 30 percent in four years. µ
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