For years now, deciding the shape and form of tomorrow's computing devices is the main struggle that PC manufacturers have faced. Starting with desktops, moving to laptops and more recently shifting to a duel between tablets and "2-in-1s", what the computer of the future will be has not yet been decided.
In this battle between the "2-in-1" and the tablets, the latter has possessed a stronger hand for a long time now, however this is beginning to change. As revealed by IDC, for the second consecutive quarter this year, worldwide tablet shipments have fallen, putting the state of the market as a whole in doubt. Cannibalized at the larger end by ever smaller laptops and 'ultrabooks', and at the lower end by phones and 'phablets', it seems the tablet as a standalone device may yet be consigned to the history books.
Of course, with the likes of Apple and Samsung's tablet ranges declining so rapidly, Microsoft's vision of the Surface as a perfect hybrid device appear all the more prescient, along with the idea of Continuum and Windows Apps. Redmond has focused all of its attentions to this problem for some time now, and may yet appear at the head of the game.
Inside the market, only Lenovo continues to achieve significant success, with a wide range of tablets and devices across different OSs and price points, including various Windows tablets. Even though the tablet market continues to shrink, it's unlikely that it will ever disappear, but rather that the form factor will go the way of various other devices, performing multiple different roles in differing situations as part of a suite of devices and software, rather than as a standalone feature.
What do you think the future of the tablet market will be? Will this trend continue? Let us know what you think in the comments below.