The PC market is still in decline, though the bottom of the market may now be in sight. At the same time, the tablet market is still going strong, growing nearly every quarter at a rapid pace.
Given these realities, it isn't surprising that PC manufacturers are now turning to hybrid PC/tablet devices to boost their notebook segments. The only problem is that these devices might fit a niche that doesn't yet exist. With many containing hardware inferior to notebooks in the same price range, consumers looking for productivity seem to be turning toward Chromebooks and slim notebooks while favoring their substantially smaller tablets as mobile computing devices.
Still, these facts aren't likely to stop manufacturers from building out the hybrid PC/tablet market. Market research firm Juniper Research today released a new report predicting that PC manufacturers will ship almost 50 million hybrid tablet devices by the year 2018. This represents a significant rise from the estimated 9.5 million hybrid tablets that were shipped during 2013.
Judging from the current lineup of hybrid tablets, it would be easy to dismiss the segment an already failed attempt to shove the tablet hype into the notebook space. While this may be true with current devices, Juniper predicts that devices released over the next few years will increase the diversity of the market and bring some worthwhile products that certain consumers may purchase.
Juniper predicts that hybrid tablets will be expecially attractive to enterprise customers and gaming enthusiasts. Luckily for manufacturers, these two types of consumers are exactly the type of niche consumers willing to spend a premium for high-end devices. This should help keep the average sale price for hybrid tablets steady in the coming years.
The firm also believes that the education market may embrace hybrid tablets in the coming years as tablets become viewed increasingly as an educational tool. Hybrid tablets that are priced lower could appeal significantly to governments looking to supply schools with tablets that are more functional that traditional tablets.
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