According to a report this week from International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide tablet shipments recorded a year-over-year decline for the first time since the market's inception in 2010. Overall shipments for tablets and 2-in-1 devices reached 76.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 (4Q14) for -3.2% growth, according to preliminary data from the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.
Although the fourth quarter witnessed a decline in the global market, IDC reported that tablet shipments for 2014 increased 4.4%, totaling 229.6 million units.
"The tablet market is still very top heavy in the sense that it relies mostly on Apple and Samsung to carry the market forward each year," said Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. "Although Apple expanded its iPad lineup by keeping around older models and offering a lower entry price point of $249, it still wasn't enough to spur iPad sales given the excitement around the launch of the new iPhones. Meanwhile, Samsung's struggles continued as low-cost vendors are quickly proving that mid- to high-priced Android tablets simply aren't cut out for today's tablet market."
What does the new IDC report mean for CIOs and IT leaders? "Slowing tablet sales may point to continuing business confusion about going mobile-first," explains Jared Hansen, CEO and founder of secure mobile printing leader Breezy. Hansen points out that companies that have fully embraced mobile by going all-in with a chosen EMM provider, a cloud storage solution like Box, a productivity suite like Polaris Office for document editing and Breezy for secure mobile printing have seen the majority of the gains from the mobile revolution. Unfortunately, many businesses still have a ways to go when figuring out how to really incorporate these devices into their workflows.
"It's one of the reasons that Breezy is so popular with IT organizations: adding secure mobile printing capabilities to a tablet makes the device a more capable laptop replacement."
Despite the slowdown in tablet sales, the flood of employee-owned tablets, smart phones and other mobile devices into the workplace continues, and eWeek reports that more than half (51%) of all IT departments support multiple security policies for different types of devices and operating systems.
eWeek says that 2015 will be the year when IT is faced with two new security challenges: malware designed to attack Macs running the Apple OS X system, and attacks on mobile phones, both iOS and Android. IDC seems to support that idea, writing that Apple's lead over other vendors has yet to be truly challenged as it shipped 21.4 million tablets, accounting for over a quarter of the market with a 28.1% market share.
"Despite an apparent slow-down of the market, we maintain our forecast about tablet growth in 2015," said IDC Research Director Jean Philippe Bouchard. "Microsoft's new OS, a general shift towards larger screen form factor and productivity focused solutions, and technology innovations such as gesture interface that could be introduced in tablets will help the market maintain positive growth in 2015."
If IDC's projections are accurate, total 2015 smartphone shipments of nearly 1.4 billion units, or a 12.2 percent year-over-year growth rate. However, falling prices for more powerful devices could see even more users buying new devices.
What that means for IT is that they will continue to see an influx of new mobile devices, as more workers bring personally-owned devices to work or use them to access company data and email. "In addition to smartphones and tablets, IT is now starting to recognize that wearable devices like smart watches and personal fitness trackers need to be secured," Hansen adds.
Breezy's secure mobile printing technology is fully integrated with EMM providers like AirWatch, Citrix, Good Technology, IBM (Fiberlink's MaaS360), and MobileIron and many others, and can add an extra layer of protection to the mobile devices that connect to your network or store your data. For more information on mobile device security and secure mobile printing, watch this video from Breezy, download The Definitive Guide to Mobile Printing, a free ebook, or click here to schedule a Breezy demo now.
Customers report that Breezy installations are among the easiest they’ve ever seen for an enterprise product.