Despite Microsoft's failings with Windows Mobile, one area of mobility the company is gaining ground in is the 2-in-1 tablet category. Windows convertible tablets accounted for over a quarter of all mobile tablet devices sold in Australia during the second half of 2016.
Tablets sales had been experiencing an extended slowdown but the market actually grew by 2% in the latter half of last year. The second half of 2016 saw 1.64 million mobile tablet units sold in Australia, according to analyst firm Telsyte's Australian Digital Consumer Study 2017.
While Apple's iPad family accounted for 44% of the sales, Windows took 27% of the sales market share. Android is still ahead of Windows at 29%, but the latter's performance is more impressive; local sales of Windows tablets grew around 60% year-on-year. Meanwhile, Android tablet and iPad sales declined 13%, and 9% respectively over the same period.
2-in1s are defined as "laptops that have a touch screen and detachable keyboards or foldable form factor to provide a pure tablet-like experience". This includes Microsoft Surface tablets, iPad Pro and Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S.
Android tablets would have had more of an edge if the Australian market hasn't lost its appetite for budget tablets, most of which run a variant of Google's mobile operating system. According to Telsyte: "[A]round 40% of Australians are willing to pay more for ‘top quality electronics’ as digital devices become central to the consumer lifestyle."
Microsoft's Move To Woo Creative Professionals Paying Off
"Tablets are no longer just about media consumption, touchscreen devices are revolutionising the creative experience," Telsyte Managing Director, Foad Fadaghi, said.
This is probably one of the reasons why Microsoft Surface tablets are gaining favour given the range was heavily marketed towards creative professionals.
In fact, Microsoft has really made a push into currying favour with the creative industry, which has traditionally been the realm of Apple. Last year it announced the Surface Studio, which bears a striking resemblance to Apple's iMac line, a popular desktop computer for creative professionals. The iMac line hasn't seen a major upgrade since 2015.
According to Telsyte:
Telsyte expects the introduction of larger format, desktop touch computers, such as Microsoft’s Surface Studio to boost an otherwise sluggish PC market which has struggled to give users a reason to upgrade. Telsyte estimates that the average replacement cycle for PCs in Australia has now grown to 4.7 years.
Telsyte believes Microsoft and its OEM partners will cater for different segments of this bourgeoning market developing both tabletop and desktop touch interfaces using Windows 10 in various form factors.