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IDC: Windows 10, Enterprise Segment Are Game Changers For 2-In-1 Sales In 2015

The commercial segment is vital to boosting the detachable 2-in-1 market, according to market research firm IDC.

Detachable devices, or 2-in-1s, have a significant opportunity for growth in the commercial segment in 2015, according to a report released Wednesday by market research firm IDC.

IDC's report stated that the 2-in-1 market will be bolstered by the enterprise, as IT departments begin to evaluate Windows 10, Microsoft's newest operating system, which is well-suited for the 2-in-1 form factor, and as vendors begin to add more appealing productivity features to their devices.

"The 2-in-1 market is growing, and we think they will be deployed to replace tablets, portable PCs or both in the workplace," Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director of tablets at IDC, told CRN. "Commercial segments are important for the future of 2-in-1s, … particularly with the launch of Windows 10 and the introduction of Intel's Skylake."

[Related: IDC: iOS Challenged By Cutthroat Android Device Price Points]

IDC expects the 2-in-1 global market to grow 86.5 percent year over year in 2015 as more OEMs begin to get "more serious" about the market, and as consumers begin to utilize 2-in-1s as an alternative to pure tablets with smaller screens.

Meanwhile, the global tablet market is expected to slow down, declining 8 percent in 2015. IDC said the commercial segment has been "reluctant" to migrate toward tablets, because of an unclear value proposition.

2-in-1s are expected to experience a boost, in part because of opportunities in the enterprise, as businesses evaluate the benefits of Windows 10 and Intel's Skylake microarchitecture, which will be prevalent in various future 2-in-1 form factors.

Mike Hadley, CEO of Boston-based Microsoft partner iCorps Technologies, an authorized reseller of Microsoft's 2-in-1 Surface Pro devices, said 2-in-1s contain the right productivity features for his customers.

"More people will abandon their tablets, laptops, and desktops for this device," he said. "I was talking to a customer who was asking about the Surface Pro tablet -- he wants the pen capability to write and take notes, and wants a keyboard. It's all about using the right technology, and 2-in-1s are becoming that right technology for the way businesses operate today."

Windows 10's biggest benefit for 2-in-1s is the operating system's Continuum feature, which allows users to switch from laptop to tablet mode in hybrid devices, smoothing out the OS transition across multiple devices. While information on Skylake's mobile-targeted processors has not yet been revealed, the new chipset is rumored to boost performance and power efficiency.

Jay Gordon, vice president of sales at Enterprise Mobile, a Plano, Texas-based mobile solution provider, said that Windows 10 will help 2-in-1 adoption in the enterprise.

"I believe that Windows 10, and the evolution of the Surface Tablet, as well as alternatives, will drive more adoption of 2-and-1 in the enterprise, based on lower price points and enterprise deployment of Office 365," he said.

"On the 2-in-1 side, we are seeing professional, field-based users moving toward these device types, most notably, in the pharmaceutical and financial services organizations," he said. "The most common 2-in-1 device we are managing today is the Microsoft Surface tablet series. These devices are not unique to these industries, as retailers, manufacturing and health-care organizations are leveraging 2-in-1 devices for patient care, customer engagement and workflow tracking."

The 2-in-1 market may be appealing to businesses in the future, but IT buyers have been slow to move to other devices beyond smartphones, according to IDC, and do not see tablets or 2-in-1s as a real replacement for PCs yet.

"2-in-1 devices are gaining in popularity particularly in the business market where users are opting for the more versatile 2-in-1 over standard notebooks. For us, tablets were mainly a retail or home market product so we didn’t see a large number of those going to business or education," Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at ASI, a Fremont, Calif.-based distributor, told CRN in an email.

"In terms of Windows 10 impacting sales of 2-in-1 devices, I think it is too early to tell but as people become more familiar with the capability of Windows 10 and the features specifically designed for 2-in-1 devices then it will certainly drive more purchasing decisions in that direction," he added.


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