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IDC: Tablet Sales To Recover Slightly on Back of Windows 10

Research and consulting firm IDC delivered mixed news for the tablet market on Thursday, scaling back its growth estimates but still forecasting a "modest" increase in shipments.

The tablet market is expected to grow by 2.1 in 2015, according to IDC. Worldwide shipments of tablets, as well as so-called "two-in-one" devices, are expected to reach 234.5 million units in 2015, up from 229.7 million units last year.

However, IDC also noted that it has adjusted its tablet market growth estimates downward based on sluggish fourth-quarter 2014 results, which showed the first year-over-year decline for the tablet market.

Tablets running the Android operating system currently lead the tablet category by a wide margin, and will do so over the next four years, according to IDC estimates. In 2014, Android tablets represented 67.3 percent of the tablet market, followed by iOS (27.6 percent) and Windows (5.1 percent).

By 2019, IDC expects Android to lead with 62.9 percent of the tablet market. iOS will show weaker growth (23.0 percent), while Windows will gain "significant share" (14.1 percent) yet still remain in third place, according to IDC.

IDC's announcement included a fairly optimistic view about Microsoft's future position in the tablet market, based on its leading-edge Windows 10 OS, which is still at the "preview" testing stage.

"Microsoft is doing a lot of good things right now and we believe the launch of Windows 10 later this year will not only have a significant impact on Microsoft's share of the market, but on the industry as a whole," said Jean Philippe Bouchard, an IDC research director for tablets, in a released statement. "There is an appetite for a platform that can provide a productivity experience that remains consistent across multiple form factors and device types, and we believe Microsoft is well positioned to capture some of that demand."

Microsoft has suggested that Windows 10 may roll out sometime this fall. Windows 10 is being designed to replace Microsoft's Windows Phone OS, in addition to being an OS designed for tablets and PCs. The idea is that Microsoft will have one client OS that will be capable of running across devices of various form factors, from phones to large-screen devices.

IDC's tablet market projections are based on its Worldwide Quarterly Tracker report for March.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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