Juniper Research is out with a new forecast calling for tablet hybrid device shipments to reach or potentially even exceed 50 million units by the end of 2018, jumping from an estimated 9.5 million units in 2013.
Tablet Hybrids are designed to achieve additional or improved tablet functionality through the use of accessories, or can be in the form of an Ultrabook that can have the screen removed to perform as a slate.
Juniper analysts observe that the tablet market is becoming “increasingly diverse” as new form factors emerge.
This small scale evolution in the grey area between the Tablet and Ultrabook market is extremely appealing to a niche demographic, mostly business users and gamers. These demographics are also the most able and willing to spend on new devices.
“Meanwhile,” the report summary concludes, “in the mainstream tablet market, the significant drop in the price of tablets has meant that several governments and schools are now providing students with either free or subsidized tablets.”
Consequently, the tablet is now seen also as an educational tool in certain markets. It is also perhaps indicative that the future of education is more towards research and interactive programs.