The global installed base of tablets will become an "unexpected victim" next year as users replace the devices with a range of other kit, according to research.
ABI Research claims that the market will peak at the end of 2015, with the global installed base reaching 373 million units. Almost half (48 per cent) of those will be in North America and the split between Android and iOS will be 50 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively.
But from in 2016, ABI predicts the tablet installed base will fall for the first time. It claims that the decline will come as users begin to replace tablets. Although some will upgrade to newer versions of tablets, others will choose different form factors - such as phablets and two-in-one devices - meaning the tablet installed base will fall.
"[Phablets are a] converged solution that marries the best of the smartphone (mobility and cellular voice service) with the larger display of a tablet," said ABI. "Phablets are an increasing percentage of smartphone shipments and are a mobile alternative to replacing a tablet.
"[And] for small business owners looking to maintain the productivity of a PC with the mobility of a tablet, choices for two-in-one systems are increasing."
Some tablets will not even get replaced at all, the analyst said.
"Some get handed down or resold, while others stop working or go unused in favour of performing activities on some other device," ABI said.
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