Tablet sales grew more than 50-percent in 2013 versus the previous year but growth is likely to slow toward 2017, new research indicates, with analysts skeptical that Windows slates will gain significant traction any time soon. Shipments worldwide grew 53.5-percent year on year to an expected 221.3m, IDC's figures indicate, with predications that larger-screen models such as the iPad Air could make a resurgence.
"The market has trended toward small tablets in a big way over the last 24 months, but the rise of large phones could well push consumers back toward larger tablets as the difference between a 6-inch smartphone and a 7-inch tablet isn't great enough to warrant purchasing both" IDC suggests.
Specific break-down for large versus small tablets isn't given, though the research firm says that "the market has trended" toward the smaller-screen models "in a big way" over the past two years. That's undoubtedly down to price, at least in part, with the Nexus 7 and iPad mini both more affordable than their full-sized brethren.
Android's market share grew in 2013, IDC says, from 52-percent in 2012 to almost 60-percent in 2013, while iOS share shrank from 45.6-percent to 35-percent in the same period. Both are predicted to fall by 2017, however, with Windows tablets picking up some of their market.
However, that's not to say Microsoft's OS has an easy path ahead of it. "Windows-based tablets are not expected to steal share from tablets running iOS and Android until the latter part of the forecast" IDC warns, and despite a push by Microsoft and Intel, immediate sales are seen to be mediocre.
Part of the problem is said to be visibility, with new Bay Trail based tablets running Windows often having impressive hardware, performance, and battery life, but falling short in actually being seen by potential consumers.