By the Blouin News Technology staff

Tablets: up and down around the world

by in Personal Tech.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA

Microsoft Surface Pro 3. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA

The International Data Corporation issued a report on Wednesday detailing how India has enjoyed a surprising jump in tablet sales over the past quarter. But while the market experienced a 23% growth in Q2 from its sluggish start in Q1, these figures are not necessarily something for tablet makers to rejoice over just yet.

The IDC notes that a changed deadline from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) on the certification of power adapters is directly related to the growth of tablet sales in Q2. The BIS certification on power adapters was slated for May, and was moved to a later date. “Hence, few vendors pushed high volumes of their existing non-BIS compliant inventory into channel during early months of Q2 2015,” the report notes. In order for a continued, reliable figure of growth, the IDC says that consumer adoption has to be more at play. Thus far, consumer demand for tablets in India has not fleshed out as it should for an overall healthy tablet market to exist; instead, government and education-based initiatives have bolstered tablet sales.

Meanwhile, the IDC predicts a much more drastic slowdown in worldwide tablet sales overall for 2015; having previously predicted a decline by 3.8%, the IDC now says that global tablet shipments will decline by 8% in 2015. Shipments are expected to reach 212 million, while the growth of “2-in-1” devices will grow 86.5%.

2-in-1 devices are laptops that are detachable from their keyboards, making them more like tablets. The Microsoft Surface (as pictured above) is an example of one of these devices — a computer that did not do nearly as well as Microsoft hoped for at its outset in 2012, but which apparently might be set to enjoy more global growth if the IDC is right.

Although, officials from the IDC have noted that — aside from high price points which were the initial deterrent from consumers adopting these detachable computers — lack of demand for Windows 8, which most of the 2-in-1 devices ran initially was another inhibitor to their widespread adoption. With more manufacturers on the 2-in-1 train now, adoption is set to increase, and if Microsoft doesn’t see more demand for its operating system, it will not enjoy that forecasted growth.

But Microsoft should take heart. The IDC says that Q2 was a solid quarter for Windows-based tablet shipments. Having more than doubled over Q1, new Windows-based products launched in Q2 at affordable price points “received good response” and were led primarily by brands like iBall, Micromax and Lenovo. Jean Philippe Bouchard, Research Director for tablets at the IDC says that the next few months will see a flurry of new devices, and the launch of Windows 10 will refresh the 2-in-1 device market as it is “better suited for the 2-in-1 form factor.” He noted in the company’s report: “It will take some time but we expect that once IT departments are done evaluating Windows 10 and the awaited iPad Pro, they will start migrating some [of] their portable PC and tablet installed base towards 2-in-1’s, which will accelerate the adoption of the form factor.”

While 2-in-1 devices won’t be totally replacing tablets any time soon, the future for the global presence of the tablet is a bit uncertain. As 2-in-1 devices make their way further into the hands of consumers, they could be taking slots that would have otherwise been occupied by tablets. It’s widely forecast that the majority of people who access the internet in 2020 will be doing so via mobile device, but smartphones will generally take the stage there. It remains to be seen whether tablets will continue to hold their own or slowly slump into obsolescence.