Hybrid devices are proving the hot option in 2015, with Gartner predicting 70% increase in shipments this year over last, with tablet and notebook users the primary market for hybrid devices.
The analyst firms expects 21.5 million units to be shipped this year, up from 12.6 million in 2014, with hybrids accounting for 12% of total sales of mobile PCs in 2015. That figure is expected to increase to 26% in 2019, with hybrid shipments reaching 58 million units.
Tracey Tsai, Gartner research director, says of the 21.5 million hybrid devices shipped this year, eight million will be ultramobile tablets – or two-in-one tablets – and 13.5 million will be hybrid ultramobiles, which Gartner defines as two-in-one detachable and convertible ultramobiles.on up,
“This will make hybrid ultramobiles the fastest-growing segment of the mobile PC market with 77% year on year growth,” Tsai says.
“The combination of portability, productivity and flexibility of touch and keyboard in one device is attracting some notebook and tablet users to replace their devices with hybrid form factors,” she says.
“PC vendors are expanding into this segment with a value proposition to compete with Apple and Android-based tablet vendors.”
Tsai says sales of hybrid devices have not stopped growing since 2012.
However, despite hybrid devices achieving strong growth, Gartner says clamshells will remain the mainstream form factor, accounting for 87% of mobile PCs in 2015 and 74% in 2019.
While notebook and tablet users are the primary purchasers of hybrid devices, enterprise departments are struggling to make a compelling case to purchase hybrid ultramobiles because the PC installed base is predominantly Windows 7 and legacy applications are not touch-based.
However, Tsai says this will change when businesses start to migrate to Windows 10.
“Windows 10 on hybrid ultramobiles will offer a better user experience with touch and voice as well as universal Windows apps – apps written just once that receive device-specific user experience tweaks to allow them to run on different Windows devices,” she says.
Businesses will also need to prepare for the end of extending Windows 7 support in January 2020, she notes, making now a good time to look beyond the clamshell notebook to consider if other form factors will make a better productivity fit.
Gartner says Asus, which was the first vendor to introduce a two-in-one ultramobile, continues to lead the pack, taking top spot in hybrid ultramobile devices in 2014 with 41% market share.
The vendor shipped 3.1 million hybrid ultramobile units, up 263% year on year, with hybrid ultramobiles accounting for 15% of Asus’ mobile PC shipments in 2014 – the highest ratio among PC vendors.
However, Gartner says to keep up its market share, Asus needs to increase investment in convertible-type hybrids with smaller screen sizes of less than 13-inches, and broaden the price bands it addresses.
Lenovo took second spot in 2014 with 1.9 million shipments of hybrid ultramobiles, a 331% year on year increase.
Gartner says Lenovo has focused its hytbrid strategy on expanding into the consumer market, and successfully increased its share in North America from 6% in 2013 to 31% in 2014.
The vendor also saw solid market share growth in Western Europe, climbing from 16.5% share in 2013 to 27% in 2014.
HP was third-largest player in the hybrid ultramobile market, selling 800,000 units on the back of a significantly expanded product line, including a broad range of consumer models across a variety of price points.
“This enabled the company to rise from the number seven position in 2013,” Gartner says.
Gartner does not include Microsoft’s Surface in the hybrid ultramobile segment, instead classifying it as a tablet ultramobile ‘as the touch-and-type keyboard is optional’.
Microsoft took top space in the ultramobile tablet segment, with 36% market share. However, if the ultramobile hybrid and ultramobile tablet segments are combined, Microsoft is number three with 14% market share worldwide, just behind Asus and Lenovo, Gartner notes.