Research firm IDC reports that tablet makers shipped 206.8 million tablets, down 10.1% from 2014. Sales of tablets also dropped from 2014, by 13.7%.
The only growth area is in “detachables,” or tablets with keyboard attachments. The leaders in this area would be at the higher end. The iPad Pro sold over two million units in the fourth quarter of 2015, while Microsoft sold 1.6 million units of the Surface. At the low end, detachables aren’t as popular; instead, Amazon’s $50 Fire tablet is the main outstanding seller. Sales were strong enough to put Amazon in third place in the fourth quarter for vendor rankings, behind Apple and Samsung.
At the low end, people aren’t looking to spend a ton on accessories, and since tablet keyboards are usually an expensive extra, it’s no surprise that they’re mainly popular with higher-end tablets. Additionally, there’s also Chromebooks and low-end Windows laptops around, giving even less incentive to buy an expensive keyboard for a cheap tablet.
On the higher end, apparently there’s a higher demand than I figured for a Surface-like iPad. Though I wonder how many were sold to graphic designers or similar individuals, given the attention (and backorders) the Apple Pencil received.
Do any of you own a tablet with a keyboard attachment? Or even the iPad Pro/Surface?